As a working mom of two (three, if you count my husband!), I can always benefit from stress management advice. Let’s face it; we could probably all benefit from stress management advice. Whether you’re the CEO of a company, a full-time college student, or a single parent, we all face some sort of stress on a daily basis.
As mentioned in some of our recent blogs, being a parent of a child with food allergies or related conditions can add even more stress. Not only that, if you're an adult with food allergies of your own, you're probably well aware of stress! In today’s blog post, I'm sharing some of my favorite stress management tips that I have personally found helpful in avoiding that moment where I just want to run away to a deserted island!
1) Get moving!
I know what you may be asking yourself…”How am I going to have time to exercise when I’m already stressed out because I have too much on my plate?” This does NOT have to be an hour-long workout in the gym. Whether it’s a 10-minute walk or a quick yoga session, research has proven time after time that physical activity can improve alertness, decrease fatigue, and produce endorphins (just to name a few benefits).
Consider signing up for some local exercise classes at a time that works for you. If that doesn't fit your schedule, look for 10 minutes three times a day for a brisk walk.
2) Eat right.
I am living proof that I perform at my best when I eat right (and I’m not just saying this because I’m a dietitian). Trust me; I have the same temptations as everyone out there (truth – ice cream is my all-time favorite food). I can certainly feel the energy difference I have when I eat a balanced diet vs filling up on those empty calories.
Most of us have an idea of what a "balanced, healthy diet" looks like. However, knowing how to eat well and actually doing so are two different things. If you need help in this area, you can always reach out to a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). RDNs are experts at eating right and helping others to do the same.
3) Get organized.
If I schedule an appointment for myself or one of my daughters, I immediately enter all the details into my calendar on my smart phone (along with an alarm reminder so I don’t forget that I entered this information later on!). If I need a reminder to bring something into work the next day, I set an alarm to remind myself to pack it the evening before. When the weekend comes and I have seven errands to run, I make sure to create an old fashioned pencil and paper list to make sure that all of those errands get done (plus crossing things off your to-do list is an awesome feeling!).
Whichever organizational technique works best for you, go with it. Know that staying organized will help reduce the stress that comes with the feeling of being unprepared. Feel like you could use some help in this area? Consider making an appointment with a personal organizer or life coach. It's not always easy to ask for help, but imagine how great you'll feel once you have some order and control!
4) Talk, talk talk.
Sometimes just talking things out can make you feel so much better. Even if you’re talking to someone who can’t relate, just having that set of ears can be helpful. Develop your own support group so you know who you can go to if you need to vent. Reach out to a loved one, a good friend, or a member of a relious group. Want to talk to someone who's familiar with dealing with food allergies and related conditions? Find a local support group, attend a meeting or event, and make a new friend!
5) Take care of yourself.
Have you ever listened to the flight attendants while they are discussing what to do in the event of an emergency? If so, you’ve most likely heard them say, “Parents, put your oxygen mask on before assisting your child with theirs.” This can be applied to so many things in life, yet is so easily forgotten. In order to take care of your children to the best of your abilities, you also need to take care of yourself. Whether it’s finding a quiet space for an hour to catch up on your book that’s been sitting there or taking a day trip with your best friend…find time for yourself! I promise, this will be a life changer.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers some other great tips for dealing with stress that you may find useful.
Even with all this said, I still face stress on a daily basis, and it’s likely that you will as well…it’s inevitable. It’s how you deal with that stress that makes the biggest impact. Next time you find yourself in a stressful situation - go out for a 10 minute walk, call your best friend, grab some apple slices with sunflower butter and remind yourself that “every little thing is gonna be alright.”
What are some ways you’ve dealt with stress that you’ve found helpful?
- Kendra Valle, RDN
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