5 steps to manage stress and strain

Many health issues would resolve or be easier to manage if life stressors would just go away. Three fourths of the patients treated by primary care physicians have problems aggravated by emotional, social, or behavioral issues.

As a college graduation gift, I gave a friend’s son a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble Bookseller. He earned a  mechanical engineering degree  and will work as a rocket structural engineer.

He sent me a nice handwritten thank you note (which few people do these days) and said he plans to use it to buy a book that other structural engineers recommend. The book is Roark’s Formulas for Stress and Strain.

Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain- a book

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a formula for handling the stress and strain of life?

Many health issues would resolve or be easier to manage if life stressors would just go away.  Three fourths of the patients treated by primary care physicians have problems aggravated by  emotional, social, or behavioral issues.

Life’s  interruptions and disruptions won’t disappear, but you can make them less of a strain on your time, energy, and resources. There’s usually no quick fix but 5 steps can lessen their impact.

I learned the value of these steps when I dealt with the stress of a foot fracture that required surgery to correct it, and a longer convalescence than I expected. For someone who is used to being active, the prolonged inactivity stressed me both physically and emotionally. These 5 steps were already a part of my life, but consciously choosing them helped me cope with what would otherwise cause frustration and sadness.

5 steps to manage life’s stress and strain

 

1. Create and maintain a routine and schedule.

Having a plan for your time helps you feel more in control of your life.  Resist the tendency to become socially isolated or avoid activities you usually enjoy. 

a smartphone lying on a calendar page with a planner and cup of coffee
from Lightstock.com (affiliate) stock photo site

Times of crisis, loss, or illness may leave you feeling disconnected and adrift, but having a schedule provides structure and connection. When you are busy, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. 

 

 

 

2. Recognizing and reaching out to social supports

Your family and friends are your first line of  support during times of stress and duress. It’s nice if we don’t have to ask for their support, but their lives are busy too, so don’t be hesitant to ask for help if you need it. If they don’t call you, call them.

2 women talking over coffee with open bibles
Conversation over coffee can be therapeutic. graphic from the Lightstock collection( affiliate link)

Other sources for help include your healthcare professionals;  don’t be embarrassed to share that you need social and emotional support. Your doctor can help you identify and get connected with community resources.

Look for help from your or your spouse’s job, your religious community, organizations you belong to, your school, and online resources for support- educational sites, forums, support groups.  Although not as personal as face to face support, these are helpful  if  you are  geographically isolated or mobility is difficult.

 

 

3. Reframe by refocusing on the positive rather than the negative.

Recognizing and emphasizing the positive in life makes the problems less overwhelming and distressing. Look for something to be grateful for, or that brings a little joy into your day. It may be as simple as flowers blooming in your yard, your favorite tea and sweet,  a funny story in a magazine.  

balloons-get well IMG_2269.jpg
Balloons are nice, too.

Remembering and observing happy events, occasions, and celebrations can also be sources of renewed joy.

Norma, a woman facing terminal illness, reframed her crisis by finding joy in small things, like jigsaw puzzles, new foods, and a “good perm”. Read more about her at

Driving Miss Norma- a book review
Driving Miss Norma - a book cover

 

 

 

4. Stay active mentally and physically

Physical activity doesn’t have to be a chore, boring, or expensive. Many things can be done at home or in your neighborhood-walking, bicycling, cardio, yoga. If exercise isn’t your thing, try dancing, gardening, swimming. 

If your  physical mobility is limited,  try something stimulating mentally-sewing, crafts, games, puzzles, writing, cooking are just a few possibilities.

checkerboard

 

Consider a fitness app on your phone like Aaptiv, at this affiliate link (commission to blog if you use)

 

 

5. Nurture your inner self

woman with hands bowed in prayer

Sometimes we need to withdraw from outward activities and stimulation for times of quiet rest and reflection.

You may  find help from mindfulness, meditation, prayer, devotional reading, music, journaling,  or a combination of these approaches.

Breathing exercises can lessen anxiousness and tension.

I use the breathing exercises on the Aaptiv Fitness app to relax and unwind after a long day.


These affiliate links may help you deal with stress and strain. (At no extra cost to you, purchases through this link help me fund this blog.)

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RoboForm Password Manager.

You’re likely reading this post on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone, so you visit sites that require a password. How do you remember them all? You don’t have to if you use RoboForm Password Manager.

My husband introduced me to RoboForm years ago and I am glad he did. I have used it continually to remember my passwords so I don’t have to. It syncs to both my computer and my phone so my passwords are always available. It will even generate passwords for me.

Go to this link to try RoboForm Free; if you like it you can upgrade to RoboForm Everywhere version with all the features I mentioned above. With Roboform, you will have one less thing to feel stressed about.

Help with tech stress

If computer problems cause you stress, you may find help at my husband’s tech blog. He’s a computer guy with years of professional experience that he’s now sharing at

techsavvy.life

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

                              Dr. Aletha 

Life lessons from Team USA

Winners have positive attitudes in all elements of their lives. The more you think about, talk about, and write about a thing happening, the greater the certainty of that thing happening.

Did you know Team USA is not  a government organization or agency? According to the United States Olympic Committee  (USOC) website, Team USA is

“a federally chartered nonprofit corporation and does not receive federal financial support (other than for select Paralympic military programs). Unlike most other nations, the United States does not have a sports ministry.”

“The USOC has two primary responsibilities in its oversight of Olympic and Paralympic sport in the United States.

  1. to generate resources in support of its mission, which is to help American athletes achieve sustained competitive excellence.
  2. to ensure organizational resources are wisely and effectively used to that end.”

A visit to Team USA in Colorado Springs

I toured the United States Olympic Training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both Olympic and Paralympic athletes train and live here.The facilities are state of the art, modern and open to the public for visits and tours.

In this post I’m sharing my tour with you.

The Ancient Olympic GAmes sign
brief history of the Olympic Games

As much as I admire the elite athletes who comprise the Olympic team, the Paralympic athletes captivate my imagination.

These athletes  compete with, not  despite, significant physical impairments. Many of them play and compete in physically demanding sports without full use of their arms and legs; some don’t even have all of their arms and legs.

Lessons for sports and life

As we walked around the complex on a guided tour, I was reminded of the importance of physical activity for our physical and mental health.  Although there is a lot of conflicting advice on preventive health, all experts agree that physical activity is vital to achieving and maintaining optimal health and well being.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans call for

moderate-intensive physical activity for 150 minutes or more per week,

vigorous-intensity activity for at least 75 minutes per week, or

an equivalent combination of the 2, and

engaging in muscle strengthening activity at least twice per week.

  • Medical studies show that exercise can prevent or improve many chronic health conditions and lack of exercise contributes to many diseases.
  • Physical activity may reduce the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, prostate and pancreas.
  • Regular exercise may help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
  • Exercise relieves joint and back pain due to arthritis.
  • Depression is improved with physical activity .

As we walked through the  USA Shooting area I picked up a flyer titled “Winning Attitudes”, which I’m using as captions for  my photos. I hope they will encourage you to develop a “winning attitude” in all areas of your life.

Enjoy this brief tour through the Olympic Complex and if you go to Colorado Springs, be sure and visit; the cost is reasonable and worth the price.

lesson 1

Become excited, confident, and enthusiastic about your goals.

statue of four athletes jumping

lesson 2

True confidence is based on the thoroughness of preparation. 

Olympic work out room

lesson 3

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream.

lesson 4

Winners focus on solutions, not problems.

wheelchairs
wheelchairs adapted for playing

lesson 5

Winners have positive attitudes in all elements of their lives. The more you think about, talk about, and write about a thing happening, the greater the certainty of that thing happening.

vehicle
on display in the Hall of Fame

lesson 6

Goals should identify minimum performance levels. They should never limit your performance.

swimming pool
a real “olympic sized” swimming pool

lesson 7

Real winners are champions in life, not just in sports.

two champion athletes
Runner Tyson Gay and gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the Hall of Fame

lesson 8

Missing a goal means setting another goal to strive for.

gym
multi use gymnasium

lesson 9

A champion constantly learns and improves.

practice
words to train by and live by

lesson 10

Champions are willing to risk a little in the short run to gain an advantage in the long run.

lesson 11

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream. 

lesson 12

Excellence is achieved only through constant pursuit. 

DSCN1135
passing the torch

lesson 13

A champion constantly learns and improves .

housing.
The athletes live, eat, and sleep here.

lesson 14

Real winners are champions in life, not just sports. 

statue of four athletes raising arms

lesson 15

Don’t just achieve your goals; strive to exceed your goals. 

bronze statue, ice skater

 Are YOU a CHAMPION? 

Which of these “winning attitudes” do you live by? Which do you need to adopt?

sharing the HEART of a champion

Thanks for visiting this blog and exploring with me. I hope you’ll explore my blog further before you leave.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

Here are some affiliate links you may find helpful. Thanks for considering and using, which helps me fund this blog’s mission-to share the HEART of health.

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                              Dr. Aletha