With the vast amount of scheduling and lifestyle changes we've all experienced over the last few months, staying positive during times of stress can be challenging. Probably the biggest understatement ever, right? We may be looking for ways to create a peaceful home environment during a very uncertain time. Some of us may be struggling with how to simultaneously take care of ourselves and our families while maintaining a sense of normalcy. There are ways to stay positive during times of stress and while we may not be able to solve any of the world's problems, we can somewhat control our reaction to the stress and set the tone for a peaceful and calm home.
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Ways to stay positive during times of stress
1. Look for easy ways to boost health and wellness
Looking for ways to stay positive during times of stress includes looking for ways to stay healthy in all ways. Schedules and routines were turned upside down by social distancing and some of us haven't really regained that normalcy. Even though we're venturing out more (my gym opened back up a couple of months ago, with restrictions) people's comfort levels are different and I think a lot of us are making backup plans for if things start shutting down again. There are lots of virtual options for fitness classes and things like The Mirror and Peloton have changed home workouts forever.
It doesn't take an app or a fancy class to incorporate movement into your day, however. If the weather permits, head outdoors and incorporate a fun and challenging HIIT cardio drill workout. Bring the kids along, too!
Try this HIIT cardio workout at home
- jog or a quick walk around the house or up and down the driveway (2 minutes)
- lateral shuffle left side (30 seconds)
- lateral shuffle right side (30 seconds)
- sprint (30 seconds)
- optional – 10 burpees. I know a lot of ladies who do HIIT love their burpees but I hate them and don't do them.
- repeat three times
If you can't get outside, head over to YouTube and find a workout. Fitness Blender, Yoga with Adrienne and Cosmic Kids Yoga are all great choices that will keep you moving and boost your mood. And, Cosmic Kids Yoga is not joke. I've done it with my kids for PE and it can get fairly intense.
There's also nothing like a few rounds of Just Dance – even if you're not good at it, it gets your body moving. We play on the Nintendo Switch and my dance moves entertain my kids. Five or six songs are about the same level of intensity as an exercise class. Don't forget to grab the wristbands.
2. Eat well and hydrate
Kind of goes with “live long and prosper” if you want a Star Trek reference just for fun. But seriously, one of the things I forget to do when things get stressful is to keep up my water intake. And reaching for the junk food? We won't talk about that, other than to say yeah, it's happening and no, it isn't good. But, every day is a new day and we can make better choices.
Staying hydrated hydrated is key for optimal health. Drink your water regularly and encourage your family to do the same. Along the same lines, by combining the proper foods in your meals, you can ensure that you stay full and get the nutrition you need. Often when we eat too many of the wrong things we find ourselves snacking more than we would like. By making sure to include healthy fats, proteins, and carbs in each meal, we can curb the cravings and nourish our bodies properly.
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While we all have specific nutritional needs and there is no one-size-fits-all, general food combining usually works for most diets. Of course, adjust as you see fit and always follow doctors' orders as they relate to your individual needs and preferences. Try to get some good fats in your diet midday and in the late afternoon. Items like avocado, nuts, and eggs are good choices.
3. Find solace in simplicity
The world is a noisy place and we're constantly bombarded with advertisements, promotions and news stories trying to turn our attention this way and that. Sensory overload can have our thoughts spinning and spiraling out of control. By making an effort to resist the pull of everything vying for our attention, we can learn to reconnect with ourselves and the ones we love. This is the perfect opportunity to put our focus inward and enjoy the simple things we all know matter the most.
Mundane tasks like slicing carrots and potatoes for a comforting vegetable stew can be therapeutic. Involving the family in the process can be doubly beneficial. When we work together in the kitchen to create a delicious meal, we're not only nourishing our bodies, but also our relationships with the ones we love most.
Bread baking is another activity we can do with even the youngest of children. Measuring ingredients, getting messy with flour, kneading and punching the dough are all hands-on activities that appeal to a child's senses. They'll love watching the dough rise and take shape as well as enjoying the warm, delicious fruits of their labor. These are simple ways to bond, take your mind off of everything and focus on the simple task at hand.
If you feel drawn to it, create something that appeals to you. Whether that means bringing out the watercolors, writing some poetry, nature journaling, cooking or knitting, getting creative allows you to get out of your own head and focus on putting your own brand of beauty out into the world.
4. Stay informed but not inundated
Naturally, during times of uncertainty, we turn to our local news channels and Facebook pages. We scour trending Twitter topics and spend a lot of time typing phrases into Google that we know we shouldn't be researching. That isn't just me, right?
It is human nature to want to know everything and stay informed. While this is important, it is equally important to focus on the positive things going on in the world, especially when we're dealing with stress.
I have approached social media much differently lately. I used to mindlessly scroll while watching TV or while having my coffee in the morning. My newsfeed has been so cluttered with stuff I don't want to read that I've decided to consciously limit my time on social media and I've opted to unfollow a chunk of people and leave some groups that aren't having a positive impact on my well-being right now. Once I made these small changes, I noticed my stress level drop.
Make a conscious effort to balance out your online time by staying informed about current events but also seeking out the good in the world. There are several sites that report happy news stories. Bookmark these sites so that when you find yourself beginning to spiral toward uncertainty and fear, you have something positive to fall back on.
It's also important to keep in mind that not everything you see on social media is credible. I'm not going down the “fake news” rabbit hole and you have to decide for yourself what you're going to count as news. I've adopted a “less is more” approach to scrolling and social media and it has helped a lot.
5. Start Your Day with Positive News Stories
If you're looking for positive news to help you release stress, start your day with a visit to The Happy Newspaper for uplifting and inspiring stories from around the world. Similarly, Positive News, according to their website, offers ‘good journalism about the good things that are happening.'
The waves of emotion that many of us are experiencing can be draining on our body, mind, and soul. By balancing out the nature and ebb and flow of information we allow into our space, we're better able to think clearly and be proactive when we need to be.
Staying positive during times of stress can be challenging. So much of the weight falls upon our shoulders as mothers and caregivers. We need to be sure to give ourselves grace when we need it. Taking time for ourselves, even if it's just 5 minutes of meditation before falling exhausted into bed at night, won't fix the world but it could adjust our mindset and allow us the strength and resilience we so desperately need and deserve.
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