First, thank you to all the attendees of my free webinar, Shift Your Outlook! How to Use Inspiration Cards to Develop Stronger Emotional Resiliency in the Face of Challenges. I also want to say a special thank you to Lisa, my volunteer, for sharing her challenge story.
If you were on the webinar, you will recall the card Lisa drew was, ‘Everything is Okay’. The central message of the card: Step forward in confidence. Release doubt and know you are safe on the journey. Click here to learn more about my Inspiration Cards.
There is an interesting follow up to this story. I saw Lisa later the same day at the dance studio my husband and I operate. She ran up to tell me how the card helped her again that day. She had received a call from her son regarding an unexpected college expense. She said the message on the card flashed into her mind, and she was able to manage the situation with little to no stress! Well done Lisa, and this is a perfect lead into this month’s focus on stress and school!
August is back to school month, and stress levels start to rise as both parents and students anticipate the upcoming school year.
However, there is one thought I believe you need to introduce into your mind and keep repeating throughout the school year:
Stop trying to do it All and do what is Important.
In other words, quit trying to Keep up with the Kardashians. Today, we are constantly bombarded with information telling us where we need to travel, how to be successful, what to read, eat and wear, what to look like, how to get into the best schools, etc., etc., etc. It is too much!
To keep stress levels low as the school year resumes, get back to the five basics. If you have these five things in alignment, you will be calmer, more peaceful, and happier overall! You know them…there is nothing special or glamorous about them, but they are what is truly Important.
1. Sleep: Sleep is critical to a healthy mental, emotional and physical function. For younger children, having a normal bedtime sets kids up for success in school. The more consistent the schedule, the better they will function. I recall my parents making me go to bed…I didn’t always like it, but I had to be in the bed even if I was reading a book. This created a good habit early on for me.
For college students, the sleep schedule is usually far from ideal. From late study nights to late party nights, sleep patterns can get disrupted. Do your best to keep a regular sleep schedule, and keep in mind a quick nap or going to bed early one night might be all you need to recharge your brain and refocus.
Parents, the same goes for you. Often parents stay up late working, watching TV, or just playing games on the phone. Recognize how important sleep is in your ability to focus and think clearly during your day. Keep in mind your sleep schedule is modeling to your children where you place sleep on the priority scale.
2. Diet- Research today is showing there is a correlation between anxiety, depression and other mental health issues and an imbalance in the stomach and intestinal track. It appears we may have underestimated the impact of food on our mood!
In fact, according to Dr. Hyman’s research, refined Omega 6 fats from processed oils, not naturally found in nuts and seeds and food, have been linked to depression, homicide, suicide, violence, and even poverty in studies conducted by the NIH (National Institute for Health).
If you want more information on this, I wrote a whole blog series on brain health using the latest research from Dr. Mark Hyman. Check it out here to get more details.
3. Exercise – No time, you say? I know I have said it myself, but I made a commitment last year to stay on track and I can’t tell you how much better I have felt. In my mind, exercise is a 30-minute deal. If I have more time to dedicate to it some days…I do, but most of the time it is short and sweet. It also does not have to be a high-intensity workout. A good walk can do wonders for your brain and body!
4. Space - Taking time to sit quietly without distractions like your phone or TV, improves mental sharpness and emotional strength. In my childhood, there were more opportunities to sit and stare out the window of the car and let your brain relax and imagine, rather than being constantly stimulated. Today, we have to remember to put down the electronic devices and let our brains decompress. I’m a big believer in mediation as I have used it much in my life and know the value. But, if meditation is not your thing, take time to sit outside and just stare. Allow your brain time to rest, and you will be amazed at how helpful it will be back to you!
5. Fun – Fun is essential to our mental, emotional, and physical health. Practice expanding your definition of fun. Fun does not always have to be associated with a big vacation, special event, or always drinking as our media likes to suggest. Fun can include playing a game with the family, going for a walk in the evening, reading a book, or having a nice conversation with a friend. Explore different ways for you and your children to have fun.
I am offering a free webinar on August 16th, How to Distress Less in a Stressed-Out World. I will provide some simple and effective insights that can teach you how to recognize when you are stressing out and how to interrupt the stress cycle. If you, or anyone you know, could benefit from attending the webinar please sign up and share this link!