Some of you may know (I did not until this year) that April is National Stress Awareness Month, and has been since 1992! The purpose is still spread public awareness of both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. Yes, epidemic. After a little research while stress had hit an all time peak for me, I found some pretty interesting findings from Stress Management Society. “According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.” Yes, I know we aren’t in the UK, but imagine how similar these studies are to US adults. Stress is probably one of the greatest public health challenges of our time and is not only a significant factor linked to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (duh) but is also linked to physical health issues like heart disease and insomnia.
So I turned to one of my favorite blogs/podcasts (The Confused Millennial by Rachel Ritlop) for some help. Lo and behold, I found exactly what I was looking for with a blog titled “10 Quick & Easy Ways To Cut Stress From Your Life ASAP” yes please! But instead of listing all 10 (I will leave the link to the full blog here,) here are the 5 things I decided to turn to to get out of my own little depressed funk I found myself in that was most definitely brought on by stress.
1. Run Your Fingers Through Your Hair
“The scalp has so many nerve endings and I’m going to assume most of us forget about on a daily basis. While it can be comfortable to throw your hair up in a messy bun or pony tail and forgetting about your scalp all day, try mixing things up this month! Take a minute or two each hour to get in there and really massage. If you can, close your eyes, breath deeply, and notice how you feel afterwards. It’s a great way to bring fresh energy into the cranium and is often an area we neglect!”
2. Ask For Help
“Sometimes we can’t do all the things by ourselves – as much as we’d like to. The truth is, people need people. We need community and support in order to reach our fullest potentials and reduce stress...Asking for help is a healthy habit and a sign of strength.”
Oxytocin! You never realize how important human touch is until you need it, like actually need it. “Oxytocin is a feel-good chemical in the brain that’s been known to strengthen positive traits like trust and generosity and reduce things like anxiety and depression.”
4. Incorporate Nature as Much as Possible
I know for me, being outside even just for a little bit tends to reset my mind. Get out there and take a walk, get on a boat, go for a bike ride. “If you can’t get outside every day consider ditching the fluorescent lights in your office and opt for natural light and crack a window! Another way of bringing nature is to spring for some house plants to re-oxygenate your space.”
5. Dance It Out
Dancing is the go to in my house when me or my one of my friends are feeling down or are overwhelmed by something out of our control. Pump some loud music and just get moving, you have no choice but to feel happy once you get into it. Kick the sitting habit!
I hope these tips help you like they did me. And maybe I encouraged you to take a look at The Confused Millennial blog!
Until next time -Brittany
Here is a blog I was reading this morning that I thought was worth sharing. When my best friend dropped me, I felt devastated. This was written by: Harriet Lerner Ph.D. The Dance of Connection
A greeting card depicts a young woman telling her female friend, "I'll always be there for you." Inside the card is the postscript, "unless, of course, I have a date."
The message takes me back to my college days when my friends and I put more real energy into our discussions about men than into all other subjects combined. But even back then, the stereotype didn't hold water. Schmoozing with my friends is what sustained and nourished me, as it does now.
Friendship rarely becomes a nest of extreme pathology. I've yet to receive a letter that says: "Dear Harriet: A close friend insults and degrades me, and sometimes hits me. I love her and I don't know what to do." If a friend behaves terribly or evokes awful feelings, we don't just dream of escape—we get out.
But friendship is not without it's wrenching moments. Probably everyone has felt hurt or deeply disappointed or betrayed by a friend at some time, or dismayed to recognize mean-spirited feelings of one's own.
When I was sixteen my best friend dropped me for another girl because I wasn't "deep" enough for her. I felt devastated, my confidence crushed.
A boy might reject me because I wasn't cool enough, or pretty enough, or "his type." But this girl was my soul mate. When she dropped me for another best friend (whom I imagined to be far more complex and interesting than I was) the injury and loss were immense.
What a relief to be grown up, to longer take rejection so personally and to have best friends instead of one best friend. I treasure my friends, I count on them, I call them terms of endearment like "sweetums" and "honey-bunny." Sometimes I get judgmental. But when my own self-esteem is intact, I am simply amazed by who they are, their limitations and vulnerabilities only adding to my appreciation of their uniqueness.
I resonate with the words of Anais Nin, "Each friend represents a world in us."
Here's my advice about friendship:
1 Move toward having a number of "best friends" as well as friends who are more peripheral than others but who still count.
Each friend contributes something unique in the way of wisdom, support, and just plain good times. Having a community of friends will help you to not overreact to the limitations of any one friend. When we depend on one person to meet all of our needs, that person can't help but disappoint us.
2. Understand that friendship will evoke (and can survive) feelings of anger, envy, competition, and the entire range of emotions that make us human.
Indeed, our friendships suffer not from these "unacceptable feelings," but from the denial of them. For example, if you're not in touch with the fact that your friend is suddenly getting lots of money and recognition for her work, you risk acting out by ignoring or devaluing her work. (This doesn't mean you can't keep your feelings to yourself, when appropriate).
Despite the difficult challenges of friendship, Novelist Alice Adams puts it most succinctly: "I think women know how to be friends. That's what saves our lives."
HELLO Jacksonville, NC
Hi 👋 My name is Laurie and I am a Social Media Marketing Manager based in New Bern, NC. I am married to the man of my dreams, a mom and in love with my adorable grandson, Noah. I love checking out new local restaurants, festivals and events while searching for great places to host monthly Girls Night Out. You can usually find me checking out all things live music, the best hospitality in town, and helping small businesses grow! 🙌