Stress – we all want to deal with less of it. So, at this time of year, it’s an ideal time to rethink how we approach stress management. I want to challenge you to think of stress management as energy management. Change the way you think to change the way you approach stress.
Why focus on energy? Basically, the body and mind require energy. We expend it both physically and mentally all day long and we need to restore it on a regular, daily basis. If we spend, spend, spend and do not sufficiently replace our energy, we will be in debt to ourselves and this can lead to imbalances in our emotions, thought processes and physical stamina. That creates stress!
Stress is costly to personal health, and it has a ripple effect out to family, co-workers, and the larger community. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 75 percent of people have physical and emotional symptoms related to demands for 24/7 availability while also trying to balance work and life.
Given these statistics it seems that stress management requires energy management. The human being is much like a battery and requires regular daily recharging. This is done through the intake of regular balanced nutritional fuel, movement/exercise, and recuperation, which includes periods of rest, sleep and recreation or fun. These simple lifestyle behaviors or routines have a positive effect on our physical and psychological energy.
Here are four ways to recharge today:
- Relax at your own personal spa. Turn your bathroom into a spa. Take a long, hot bath, try a facial mask or new body scrub – maybe a pedicure. Close the door, dim the lights, light some candles, turn on relaxing music and recharge.
- Get lost at home. Read a book, watch a movie, play games, or cuddle with loved ones…there are many ways we can escape to a relaxing space within our own homes. Make time for it.
- Nourish yourself. Cook up a nice, healthy meal, or try a new recipe. Try new flavors and include fruits to enhance the flavor profiles of foods. Citrus is a nice addition this time of year.
- Reflect. Integrate mindfulness into your day…
Mindfulness is one of the best methods of managing stress. It combines the breath of the body to induce centering and relaxation of the mind, which brings greater ease and helps develop resilience. Mindfulness helps us accomplish this by helping us to be non-judgmental and compassionate in our viewpoints. It activates emotional intelligence and builds capacity or a storehouse of energy, which aids the bottom line of balancing work and home stressors. Click here to learn how to integrate mindfulness into your daily practice.
Give some thought to the idea of being your own “energy manager” and take greater responsibility in self-care to feel more fully engaged both at work and at home. It takes much less energy to make it your mission to seek and create ease for yourself and others. If you take good care of your energy needs, you will have enough to share with your family and workplace. Treat yourself well every day. Recharge!
Evy Smith, MA LCMHC, CTTS-M, is an EFAP Counselor & Tobacco Treatment Specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.