Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Stressed? Top 10 Self-Care Tips

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

My daughter and I have been studying high school health this year as part of our homeschooling. (The link to the Apologia health book we are using is at the bottom of this post, in case you’re interested. The self-care tips that my daughter humorously dramatized in this post come straight out of her book.) We have learned a lot of interesting things about physical, mental, and emotional health. We have also been reminded of some basics of how to take care of our bodies. As a result, we’ve been exercising a lot more and drinking fruit smoothies.

In order to not be emotionally stressed out, here are some self-care tips to keep in mind:

Self-Care Tip #1: Eat regular, healthful meals.

Don’t eat mindlessly. Plan your meals and choose healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole grains. If you have a test or need to think, eat some protein, raw vegetables, or orange juice. These have helped me personally to have a surge of energy to think more clearly.

Self-Care Tip #2: Avoid junk food.

If you have a healthy meal, you can have a small amount of dessert without having your body feel yucky, because the nutrients of the meal counteract the empty calories that would make your energy crash if you ate them on their own. Pay attention to how sluggish you feel after eating potato chips on an empty stomach, and compare that to how you feel after eating raw broccoli on an empty stomach. Your body feels WAY better with the raw vegetable.

Self-Care Tip #3: Be sure your diet includes enough protein with all the essential amino acids.

If you are deficient in protein, you may feel depressed, moody, or anxious. Your brain needs amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Like I said earlier, eat some protein before a test to think more clearly. One of my sons is taking the SAT this year, so he will be eating eggs and ham for breakfast before he takes the test.

Self-Care Tip #4: Get enough sleep.

If you get no sleep for many days in a row, you go insane. Literally, when you are sleepy and drive a car, you act similar to a drunk driver. Even with a small amount of sleep, you are more likely to get sick, make mistakes in judgment, and not be able to enjoy your life. Most people need 8 hours of sleep. I’ve done a lot of research to find out how to get better sleep, which you can read about here: Getting Better Sleep (Part 1) & Getting Better Sleep (Part 2)

Self-Care Tip #5: Drink enough water.

Most people don’t drink nearly enough water. Your body doesn’t function properly when it is dehydrated, leading to headaches, dry skin, etc. Optimally you need about one gallon of water (or other liquids) a day.

Self-Care Tip #6: Get appropriate exercise, not too much or too little.

Exercise helps to improve mood, boost energy, and improve sleep, among other things. Twenty minutes of aerobic exercise 3-5 days a week is good. If you overdo exercise, lactic acid build-up can cause muscle pain. You are more likely to sustain injuries as well.

Self-Care Tip #7: Limit grief and rumination. If you find yourself trapped in them, decide to find something better to do with your time and energy.

There is a chapter on emotional stability in this health book (see link at the bottom of this post). Apparently we have four main negative emotions: sadness, fear, guilt, and anger. It is important not to dwell on any of these negative emotions, but to rest and be refreshed and take your mind off your problems. Dwelling on the negative will not help you rise above your circumstances and have peace and joy in your life.

Self-Care Tip #8: Create a regular schedule for yourself.

You can accomplish so much more in your day with much less effort if you have a consistent schedule. If your mind is used to focusing on a specific task at a certain time of day, your body adjusts to that rhythm. You get on a roll: by accomplishing tasks, you are empowered and get adrenaline to accomplish more tasks. Don’t forget to schedule down-time into your day as well.

Self-Care Tip #9: Focus on one task at a time.

When your mind is scattered on different tasks at the same time, you don’t do as well as if you give your full attention to the task at hand. For a more full explanation with examples from my life, read Multitasking Burns Your Dinner.

Self-Care Tip #10: You cannot avoid all stress, but do not add unnecessary stress to your life. Limit your commitments to what is manageable.

Don’t add anything to your schedule without praying about it. Many times we crowd our schedules with so much that we have stress and can’t enjoy life.

Parrooom…Ch… (That’s a drum roll, if you didn’t hear it.) Those are the top 10 self-care tips that we chose to include in this post. There are 21 self-care tips altogether in the health book (affiliate link) Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Apologia. We hope you enjoyed my daughter’s crazy antics in the goofy video depicting how to overcome stress and live a more healthy life.

Getting Better Sleep (Part 1)

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

getting-better-sleep-1

Take away someone’s sleep for long enough, and they will begin to show signs of insanity. Certain sections of the brain stop functioning. Getting better sleep is vital not only for sanity, but for general health. A reduction in sleep can cause you to catch diseases more easily, because your immune system is not as strong as it should be. I know that in my own life, when I get less sleep, it’s harder to be cheerful with my children. It’s harder to do everything.

Interrupted sleep is sometimes related to stress. If your job is stressful, your brain might continue to work on the problems you’re trying to resolve at work. (This is also true when you study for a test right before going to sleep. Your mind continues to think about it while you are asleep, and you score higher on a test.) But if you are in a constant state of emergency at work, this will wear you down. It will wear out your body, and I’m not sure if a high-stress job is worth the toll it takes on your body.

If you have relationship problems, obsessing about them can cause you to not get restful sleep. Instead, you can hand the situation over to God, trusting that He will give you the right words to say at the right time. The more you stress out and fret, the worse the problem will become in your mind, and you will always overreact, causing more stress in your relationship. Stop thinking about it. As an emotional woman, I’ve discovered the shocking truth that I don’t have to think whatever thoughts come into my head. I do not have to bow down and worship my emotions. My emotions should not rule; God should rule. Hand the problem over to God and calmly recite a Scripture or think about something else that is calming, like some beautiful ocean waves.

Another cause of stress is spiritual. Sometimes I’m struggling with a sin issue, and I’m trying to overcome it. I cry out to God, and the weight of the issue is heavy on me, but it’s right before a huge spiritual transformation. For example, I asked God to grant me the ability to submit to my husband. I wanted it so badly that God caused a painful event to occur to bring things to a head. Grieving is not sin, and it might cause you to lose sleep. Continue to commit yourself to God, and He will draw near to you. Spiritual growth spurts are temporary, so at some point you will get through it to the other side, and start sleeping peacefully again.

At any point, you can read Scripture from the Psalms before going to sleep. Sometimes right in the middle of turmoil, I will have the most restful, peaceful sleep. This is miraculous, and it’s called “the peace that passes understanding.” God can grant that to you at any time, so if you are in pain or sadness, you don’t have to wait until the issue is resolved before getting good sleep. God rules and can grant you sleep at any time.

I thought it was interesting that my husband (who had work-related stress) had no problem sleeping when we were on vacation. That’s because all of his responsibilities were gone. These included being a good father to his children and keeping the house from falling apart through constant minor home improvements. I believe that getting away with your spouse can be refreshing for your marriage and for your life in general. If your spouse is having a sleep disorder because of stress, I strongly recommend that you take a break together. Looking at nature can also be relaxing and rejuvenating and can help you to sleep.

 



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