We all experience stress sometimes. At some points it is self inflicted and other times it seems to just appear out of the sky (or a phone call/email etc.). I find that finding ways to deal with the stress, is absolutely crucial for me and keeping my health as a top priority. Here are some of the tools that I personally use when I get stressed, overwhelmed or just plain irritated:
Meditation is something that I use at least once a day. Recently I have been using it to help quiet my mind so I can go to sleep at night. I also find that it helps my kids to go to sleep. I also like to use one of the meditation apps I have (I use Sattva the most recently) to do a quick session throughout the day when I need it. Usually it is a quick break from the kids or the computer that I need and their six minute meditations are perfect for that. I also enjoy using prayer and writing prayer treatments to help me find what I need to deal with a given situation.
I enjoy writing as a way to deal with whatever it is that is on my mind. For things I don’t want to share I tend to use 750words.com and just get it all out. Sometimes I end up writing a toned down or more level headed version of what I’m dealing with and that might be posted here or another one of my sites if I think it might be useful/interesting to someone else. Writing in journals has always been something that I enjoyed even since I was a child just learning to write.
I have always loved a good book that helps me to enjoy life a little bit more. Recently I have read lots of books like The Four Agreements, This Thing Called You, Radical Acceptance, 29 Gifts, Soul Recovery and The Last Best Cure are all good ones that help me to process what it is that I’m having a hard time with. I’d love to hear about books that have helped you in this way too if you have any recommendations please mention them in the comments!
I absolutely find Yoga to be a very calming activity, one that I like to maintain as a regular part of my life as often as possible. Sometimes though, when I’m really angry though I just feel like I need to RUN. When I feel like that, I do it! I am not a “runner” really and so it doesn’t usually last that long but it is definitely something that helps me a lot (hello endorphin’s!) when I really need to cool down mentally. I also enjoy walking, usually with someone as it is a great way to have a conversation with someone and also get some exercise. After writing this I can see why some people love having a dog (aka dedicated walking companion) so much!
Gardening is something that I really enjoy. Something about cultivating the life of a plant that starts as a little seed and then is consumed by my family is very very satisfying. I am constantly working with and in my garden and indoor plants. I was born on Earth Day and that has helped me to embrace this part of myself. I am also obsessed with doing it as frugally as possible because my gardening life actually started out of frustration at the expense of organic food and wanting to grow it myself. I love saving seeds and feeding my kids things I make out of what I grow (or just letting them eat it out of the garden of course!) recently this has included salsa made of my tomatoes and jalapenos, jalapeno chicken (I bought the chicken, it wasn’t one of ours!), and earlier in the summer lots of berries (blue/black/and rasp-berries) and peas.
Painting and also drawing are things that I absolutely love to do. Admittedly I haven’t done either for a very long time. I would say that if I were measuring my “health” in each of these areas and how often I utilize them this would be at the bottom of the list, and I suppose that makes sense since I’ve actually written it this way! I sometimes joke that Art School for me was really just an intensive four years of Art Therapy, probably about as expensive too. I find it easier to express myself in this way, and it’s been hard to do since becoming a mom and particularly the last few years of moving so much. It is a goal to have a space dedicated to making artwork in my garage by the end of the year…I hope that will be a big announcement that will prepare me for next year!