Regardless of the source of stress in your life, having strong coping skills are the solution.
It’s not just about KNOWING what coping skills are, but actively USING them. Make them as routine as brushing your teeth or charging your phone.
In this 2-part series we’ll highlight family stress and burnout and specific examples of coping skills.
1.Take good care of your body – This means avoiding fast food or junk food, getting adequate sleep and drinking healthy fluids. If you suffer from “emotional eating” this is crucial. If a family member is criticizing you or stressing you out, it may be natural to run to the cupboard or convenience store for chips or cookies. Don’t feed into the negativity (literally).
If you notice that you eat more at night because of loneliness, family stress or crappy eating patterns all day, then change up your routine. Stay away from the kitchen, keep busy during these trigger times and keep healthier options close by (low sodium popcorn, nuts, apples). If you need more information on eating disorders here is the National Eating Disorders website.
If you suffer from burnout you may think that “rewarding” yourself with cupcakes or wine every night is your “coping method” for surviving another day. WRONG! Wine in moderation is ok, if you don’t have a history of addiction. (If alcohol consumption becomes too much of a routine, please call 211 to seek help in your area and/or refer to the SAMHSA website.)
What helps me keep cravings at bay is refusing to keep unhealthy treats at home. If I want a snack at night its either popcorn or nuts. I don’t buy Cheetos, Oreos, pastries or my other faves. A personal trainer once told me that exercise isn’t the only key to staying in shape. Everything we put in our mouth determines our energy for the next day. I once struggled through a tough workout and we pinned the root of that struggle to Doritos. Ouch. He made me pay for that one!
2.Set a boundary – If you’re unsure about the benefit of setting boundaries please refer to my previous post on this topic.
Regardless of whether your stress is due to family issues or burnout, sit down and decide what you’re going to STOP doing. Have you signed on to do too much? Although it may be too late to completely jump out of a project/task, think of how you can either delegate it or make the task easier. For future reference, if you’re upset that you’re the only one who signed on for this project, consider how many times you say YES. Be upset with yourself, not anyone else.
In short, if you’re resentful about what you signed on to do, you are not going to perform at 100%. If you’re muttering under your breath about it, either buck up and accept it or delegate it so you don’t become overwhelmed.
This coping skill is ESSENTIAL with the holidays around the corner. Instead of showing up to make OTHER people happy, show up for yourself. Click To Tweet
Boundaries give you breathing room.
Do you need breathing room? Then you need boundaries NOW!
3.Get Organized – This coping skill may help you feel more in control. There’s nothing more powerful than an accountability list -even if that list only has 1 thing on it.
Burned out? Write down one activity you can do for yourself this week that will take your mind off your stresses, even if for one hour. Seems silly? Wrong. You just made yourself a priority.
What’s an activity that can take your mind off everything? Sitting outside, watching one of your favorite movies without browsing through your phone, using Do Not Disturb on your phone while you bathe, nap, shower or cooking a favorite home cooked meal w/ your favorite music in the background. This may sound like a self-care list (there I go name dropping again) but being in control of your life helps minimize burnout.
If you have a to-do list that’s out of control rename this list your action list or your intention list. Personally, I enjoy making lists but even I got turned off by the word “to-do.” I call mine an action list and I always include feel good tasks in there.
What’s a coping skill you can commit to this week?
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