Everyone has it . . . let’s face it. In the busy world we live in today we are now starting to see how the effects of stress negatively impact even our kids! So how can we effectively deal with it?
- Slow down– Sounds easy right? But what if your pre-teen loves soccer and you can’t give up the three day a week of practice and Saturday games, but maybe you can start saying “no” to other responsibilities you’ve taken on. Your coworker asked you to go with them to the Annual Trivia Night and you’ve been dreading it ever since you wrote it in your calendar? If it’s been on the calendar for a month, you need to go since you already committed. But when someone asks you to do something in the future that you’re not excited about or not sure how you’ll be able to get it done, then reply with “I appreciate you thinking of me, but my schedule is busy right now and I don’t want to commit to something I can’t be at.” Done! You’re politely off the hook.
- Keep Calm – Prepping for that midterm speech or speaking at the next office conference? Do you know that sick, lightheaded, anxious feeling? Yup, you can thank you sympathetic nervous system for that. It’s the “fight or flight” response our body activates to keep us alert and ready when a ferocious bear may attack. But if you’re like me, you probably don’t live in the wilderness where bears are a common sighting. So we need to learn how to keep our sympathetic nervous system in check preventing our bodies from going into sympathetic overdrive, and causing all sorts of issues. Anxiety being only one of them! Fact: when we are excited or nervous our bodies exhibit the same physiological response… the sweating palms, dizziness, rapid heartbeat. So when you notice yourself being afraid of that big speech or job interview, tell yourself, “I feel this way because I’m excited to tell/ show others what I have to offer!”
- Be Positive – No one likes a Negative Nancy. They suck the fun and energy out of everything so just don’t do it! (Or at least start working on it.) Studies have shown that positivity relates to happiness and for every negative comment you tell yourself (or others) you need to combat that with eight positive ones for healthy mental wellbeing. I know this can be a HUGE challenge starting out and simply working towards positive thinking is the first step. Start a “tear journal” to help you along with the process. If you say something negative, write it down, tear it out, and then add how you’re trying to positively change that negative situation inside the journal.
- Take It Easy– Ever dream of a lazy Saturday but your calendar is booked every Saturday for the next three months? Prioritize an “easy day” for you even if it’s just for a few hours! That may include a massage, a trip to the nail salon, morning yoga and hot tea, TV in bed with your furry friend (or husband), or some gal pal time. You control your life; make it happen.
- Unplug – This one is HUGE right now! Ever heard of text neck? So have we… in fact 95% of our patients in the office have anterior head syndrome meaning their ears are no longer directly above their shoulders. Not only does this trash your posture but it also sets you up for all sorts of neurological issues stemming from damaging the spine’s nervous system. Ever notice numbness or tingling into your arms and hands, headaches, or rock solid muscles of the neck and shoulder area? If so, anterior head syndrome may be at work on you! The blue light emission from electronic devices such as phones, computers, and gaming systems can also wreck sleep cycles, leaving you anxious and exhausted. If you’re still worried, give us a call and schedule a complimentary consultation and see how our specific adjustments can reboot the nervous system!
- Enjoy Life – We only have this one life to live, so live it up! One big tip which may seems silly but works wonders is counting your blessings. Still don’t believe me? Then donate an afternoon and volunteer for a local philanthropy. This can quickly bring you back to reality and help you realize that even though you may not be Kim Kardashian, you’re still living a pretty good life. In my daily calendar, I try to write down three things that I’m thankful for in the morning and then three more in the evening. You will begin to realize just how fortunate you really are.
- Have Fun – You can either go through life with the attitude of unleashing possibilities or you can get stuck in a shallow mental rut day in and day out. The amount of work is the same, but the two paths lead to very different outcomes (and lives)! It is also true that “like attracts like,” meaning you will attract similar personalities. If you’re not pleased with the people you’ve been attracting, then regroup and be the person you want to be! (Caution: do not take this step if you do not want fun new friends!)
- Breathe – Yoga is notorious for helping with breath work which leads to numerous healthful benefits such as keeping you relaxed, burning fat (yes, you read that correctly go google Anuloma Viloma technique), boosting energy levels, and even aiding in digestion! But you don’t need a yoga mat to benefit from breath work. Before bed every night focus on diaphragmatic breathing, which means engaging the diaphragm or belly to breathe. Lay on your back with right hand over your belly and left over your chest. As you take a breath in, your right hand over the belly should rise and left hand over the chest should stay almost completely still. This also engages our parasympathetic aka “rest and digest” nervous system. Try it; it is actually trickier than most think! But with time, you’ll be able to train your muscles to engage the diaphragm normally again. This adds great benefit to the functioning of the nervous system!
- Relax – Americans are workhorses and commit about 40-50 hours per week to their jobs and commutes can make it even longer. The sad part is that not many people are satisfied or feel fulfilled with the work they do, so no wonder work can quickly add up to increased stress! With that being said, allowing for relaxation time is vital to our wellness. This is one reason why we have a “relaxation period” lasting fifteen minutes after our adjustments. Not only does this time allow for the body to adapt to the changes of the nervous system from the new adjustment, but this also gives our patients a few minutes to de-stress. Maybe relaxing for you is an episode of your favorite Netflix series, taking your dog for a hike at Castlewood State Park, Barre class, or an Epsom salt bath with lavender essential oil. But for our patients, relaxing includes our serine spa music and soft glow from our salt lamps in the relaxation room!
- Go Outside – Oh yes, the sunshine vitamin! Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that the body produces naturally when exposed to direct sunlight and certain foods. This sunshine vitamin boosts the immune system, mental health, normal metabolism, protects against certain diseases, and is connected to normal functioning of almost every system in the body. Did you know that indoor air is more harmful than outside air? According to the EPA, indoor air toxicants are often two to five times higher than outdoor air, and in some cases can exceed 100 times that of outdoor pollutants! After learning this, I’m more thankful for my home air purifier. Also, spending time in nature can have a wide range of health benefits such as reducing risks of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Maybe you should find your Grandfather’s “Gone Fishing” sign and put it to good use!
- Smile– Others will perceive you as more attractive with a smile! It’s free and uses less energy than frowning. Like yawns, they are also contagious; get out there and start that smile pandemic! You can also think of it as your “doing something good” for the day since it’ll also benefit those around you!
- Meditate – Yes, this is the recent buzz, but do you do it yourself? Ok, I guess the relaxation period at the end of yoga class counts for something but do you dedicate some time daily to meditate? Studies are showing that adding this daily ritual to your wellness routine can reap big benefits! Even if you only have three minutes a day before bedtime to commit, it’s worth the consistent efforts. According to an article on Health line, “Habitual meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.” Also, meditation can aid in decreasing the severity of depression and pain and improve sleep quality! Still not sure where to start? I encourage you to try a sleep talk down on YouTube before bed to send you into a restful slumber or breathing exercises during your mid-day work slump. Try them for yourself for a two week period and journal your thoughts and changes. YouTube has many amazing videos to offer on this topic.
These tips are all free and can easily fit into any busy schedule! (I know because I’ve tested and approved them myself!) Keep track of your progress in a notebook. Be sure to let us know how these tips have impacted your health journey.
Looking forward to hearing challenges and progress!
Best in Health,
Dr. Alyssa Wedemeyer