Here we are, entering the month of September, which brings with it a change of seasons and the start of a new school year for many. For some, if not most of us, this has been a year unique in many ways, and we have seen and experienced changes rapidly and regularly since about March. Due to this, another upcoming transition may feel like it is too quickly approaching and with it may come feelings of overwhelm, stress, and possibly anxiety. These feelings come naturally when we face big changes, novel experiences, and transitions in life. It is often something we cannot simply remove from our lives, but there are strategies to manage these feelings that may be helpful.
We at CHERIISH Counseling, like many of you, have tried our best to remain flexible, shift in many ways, and continually find support in each other to manage our feelings that have accompanied challenges endured this year. It has been helpful for us to remind ourselves and our clients of healthy coping skills and ways to care for oneself through such a time. With that said, I would like to introduce our new blog series that will focus on resources, tips, and exercises to help you to cope with feelings of stress, overwhelm, and anxiety.
At CHERIISH, we believe each individual is a holistic being with various aspects and parts of themselves. This blog series will be focusing on your physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual selves. For part one of this blog we will be highlighting your physical self.
Your physical self can play a big role in your mental health and overall wellbeing. Sleep, eating, and movement are some of the biggies!
We all have the head knowledge that sleep is necessary and good for us and so on and so forth. That can be more difficult to implement in our lives, however. Sleep hygiene is the concept of influencing our sleep environment and behaviors in order to improve sleep overall. A couple tips for sleep improvement are:
- Attempt to go to bed and wake up about the same time each day.
- Avoid screen time or things that increase your mental or physical energy right before bed.
- Create a nighttime ritual to help you relax whether that is taking a warm bath, reading a book, writing in a journal, or other activities that help you slow down your brain and body to help prepare you for sleep.
- Listen to a guided meditation before bed. I personally enjoy InsightTimer’s app that is filled with sleep meditations, music, stories, etc.
Sometimes when we feel stressed and overwhelmed our eating habits can change. What we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat can change based on our mental state. I have enjoyed learning about the concept of Intuitive Eating. Intuitive Eating blends the concept of mindfulness with the basic need of eating, and it approaches this concept in a positive and non-shaming way. Check out Alissa Rumsey’s website on Intuitive Eating for resources such as books, podcasts, blogs, and more.
Exercise & Movement
I like to move it, move it! Well, honestly sometimes I do not, but movement can do the body good. For those of us that have been less active due to the pandemic or maybe in general, we may sometimes find ourselves feeling a little stir crazy or tight and tense. Often when we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, we may not engage in free movement of our bodies. However, body movement and exercise may play a helpful part in reducing these uncomfortable feelings. I have begun finding enjoyment in semi-regular neighborhood walks, personal household dance parties, hiking or nature walks, online yoga and Zumba videos (personally I like Yoga with Adriene on Youtube and even MeetUp has various online exercise groups right now that are accessible).
These are just a few ideas to get you started with caring for your physical health. We would love to hear from you about what YOU do to take care of your physical health. Comment and tell us your favorite ways to reduce your stress, restore your energy, and cope!
If you are looking for additional support, reach out to us today to set up a free phone consultation to see how beginning your therapy journey can assist you in managing life transitions, anxiety, and stress among other areas of focus.