By Judi Bonilla
You can fend off stress!
Remember Wonder Woman deflecting off bad guys with her gold bracelets? Use these tips to deflect the stress-bad-guys and change how you think about stress.
Yes, change your mind about handling stress. Stress isn’t something you get rid of, it’s something you manage — A good day isn’t a day without stress; A good day is one where you manage stress as it comes your way.
The following are eight stress management tips for superhero caregivers
1. Focus on your breathing – When a stressful event occurs people have a tendency to switch to shallow breathing. Called belly breathing inhale through your nose while extending your belly and exhale slowly through your mouth pulling in your belly. Try three deep belly breaths.
2. Listen to music – Studies show listening to your favorite music has a relaxing and calming effect.
3. Try self-talk – Listen to what you are telling yourself. If you’re saying ‘I’m stressed. I’m so stressed’. Stop. Use positive self-talk. Try such phrases as: “The situation is stressful and I am calm.” “This too will pass.”
4. Stock up on stress buster snacks – Keep these non-perishable in a favorite or decorative container. Please your eye as you pull out individually packaged servings of: almonds, dark chocolate, pistachios, walnuts and whole wheat pretzels. Also, drink té manzanilla, green, or black. Consider these snacks your special treat. These snacks are nutritious, known to boost energy, and bolster your immune system.
5. Get laughing – Create a laughter list. Select books, DVDs, Netflix queue or playlists that get ‘you’ laughing.
6. Move – The best and quickest way to relieve stress is going for a walk. My favorite stress-rescue is five minutes in one direction and five minutes back to where you started. If you have more time make it longer. The point is to get your body moving.
7. Write it down – Keep a gratitude list. Write down daily three things you are grateful for. Find daily reminders of what the big picture is. It helps ground you when a stressful situation occurs.
8. Practice mindfulness – As a caregiver you know stress doesn’t develop overnight. Know and accept caregiving is often a loving and a stressful experience. Build a stress reserve through a daily prayer or meditation habit.
Bonus Tip – Keep a record as you try each of these tips. Rate their effectiveness. Did it help? Yes, No, Maybe. Tracking the effectiveness of each tip will help you identify what works bests for you.
Stress is a part of everyday life and none of us can escape from it. Wonder Woman had her gold bracelets and a Lasso Of Truth. Think of your stress management “tool kit” as your lasso. Draw on it when you need extra help just like Wonder Woman.
By the way: Wonder Woman was played by a Latina — Lynda Jean Córdova Carter.