Providing relief for stress and anxiety was the focus of the webinar we attended a few weeks ago.
It was the last in the 3-part series of “How To Stay Healthy During The New Normal” with Dr. Shavon Jackson-Michel and Joycelyn Francis.
This last session covered topics like:
- Mental Health
Dr. Shavon focused her discussion around stress and anxiety and shared the testimony of her experience as a young graduate, mother, and wife.
Her stress, she confessed stretched over a ten-year period as she studied, dated, and started a family.
She spoke about having panic attacks and experiencing post-partum depression after having her kids.
General Adaptation Syndrome
Dr. Shavon explained that there are times when stress reaches a level that you cannot maintain or control.
To explain this concept, we share a visual below to bring the message home.
Practical Advice on Finding Relief for your Stress & Anxiety
If you’re wondering what saved her from reaching a breaking point? She took action.
She says her faith and permitting herself to just be, saved her.
Some things she did were steal time for herself, away from the distraction of her kids and husband. She would wake up early just to have ‘her time’, to exercise and meditate.
The endorphins made her feel better.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.
She advises that stealing time away for yourself.
This is something that can be applied immediately by those parents who are dealing with having the kids and family at home around the clock, as we deal with this pandemic.
Utilizing Fitness as a Form of Stress Relief
Francis concurred this advice by sharing her journey as a child victim of sexual abuse and how she steals time away to run.
She shared her biggest achievement to date, running a solo marathon during the pandemic.
She also advises that in order to maintain a movement routine you should find the thing you like and do that.
So for instance, if you enjoy running, then do that, or maybe you like biking, then make riding a daily routine.
Alternatively, if you enjoy going to the gym, but can’t right now, then join a virtual program offered by many fitness instructors.
Joy FitWorld offers one such program. Feel free to book a 15-Minute Consultation with her to discuss how she can help you get some movement in.
Coincidentally, both of these techniques by Dr. Shavon and Francis are listed in the coping strategies for stress and anxiety from the ADAA – Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Listed below.
Coping Strategies for Stress and Anxiety
Try these when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:
- Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
- Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
- Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
- Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
- Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
- Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
- Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.
- Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
- Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
- Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help
Dr. Shavon offers her advice for finding relief for your stress and anxiety.
She suggests you start getting back to your pre-COVID rhythm to deal with triggers ahead of getting back outside.
Some of the things she recommends are:
- Makings lists
- Meal Planning
- Stabilizing Blood sugar
In other words, distract yourself with creative endeavors that take your mind off your triggers. I know this is probably easier said than done at this time, but you have to try.
She warned against indulging in feel-good foods during times of high stress because they provide serotonin which sends wrong signals to the brain. This behavior is many times the go-to for women who want a quick-fix.
This makes the case for trying a plant-based diet.
There is no time than the present to deal with your mental health while eating healthier.
Cheers to getting back outside healthier and whole!