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Just like journaling your physical activity, expenses, or the foods you eat – journaling your stressors and how you react is also a good idea. Research has shown that writing about what stresses us improves our mood and even boosts the immune system. When you journal or write down your stressors, no one will disagree or criticize you, which can be a good way to get swirling thoughts out of your mind. Talking with others and reaching out to professional help is important, but may not be easily available to all of us. Journaling

Try in the next few weeks to journal your stress for a 5 to 7 day period. Track what causes you stress and what you do. When you find out about a big project that is due, do you head to the vending machines or do you stop eating all together? Do you take a walk to clear your head? Or do you skip your Zumba class? Once you know your current reactions, you may be able to choose some new coping techniques to get through the next crisis.

Other techniques to help you handle your stress:

  • Laugh – a good belly laugh can help. Try comics, funny YouTube videos, comedy movies or TV shows.
  • Be Physically Active – all forms of exercise will ease depression and anxiety.
  • Establish Boundaries in Your Life – choose not to check work email at home or after a certain time, don’t answer the phone during family time or meals, or promise to only look at Facebook once a day.
  • Use Your Vacation or Personal Days – don’t let the company keep them. Use that time to recharge.
  • Find Your Relaxation Zone – Take time for at least one thing you really enjoy like music, reading, crafting, golf, fishing, playing cards, or gardening.
  • Avoid the Bad Habits – Avoid excessive snacking, caffeine, too much or too little sleep, smoking, and anger. They will only make things worse in the long run.

Try journaling your stressful situations and reactions, or just writing when things are really bothering you, then let us know what you think. Did it help?

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewers: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County and Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fayette County.

 

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On New Year’s Eve we realize more than at any other time in our lives that we can never go back in time.  We can look back and remember, but we cannot retrace a single moment of the year that has past.  Additionally, we may fear the future because of events in the past.  But we need not remain chained into our memories because we can move ahead.  The old familiar saying, “Out with the old, in with the new”, is appropriate as we embark upon the New Year . . . personally and professionally.  It’s a time to reflect upon our accomplishments for the past year and plan for the year ahead.  However, in order to begin anew, we must release the old.  According to Michael Angier of SuccessNet.org (2009), “a trapeze artist cannot swing from one bar to another without letting go, thus in order to prepare for the New Year, we must review the past year – release it – and learn from it.”

Our busy schedules and hectic pace of life can take a toll on our time and energy.  Daily we find we have places to go, people to see and a never-ending to-do list, with little time for daily rest, reflection and an the opportunity to re-focus our priorities.

According to Angier (2009), setting aside time for daily reflection is part of our personal development and time well spent.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “don’t just sit there, do something.”  I’m suggesting, “just sit there, allow yourself time to reflect.”  Connect with those you love.  Practice journaling, jot down your thoughts and feelings. Write a letter to yourself; it can be very insightful to write and interesting to read it in the future.

According to Angier, here are some suggestions to get you started in reflecting on the past year . . . or, a year in review.

What did you learn about yourself?

What did you accomplish? How did you feel?

What were the most significant events of the year?  List your top three.

What would you have done differently, if anything?

What was your greatest contribution to your family?

What do you feel especially good about?

What were the fun things you did?

Did you try anything new in 2011? (skill, hobby, sport, etc.)

How are you different this year than last?

Anything you can do to make the year ahead more powerful in terms of your own personal and professional growth will be time well spent.  I challenge you to establish a regular, daily reflective practice.  Grab and create every opportunity, relish every moment, both large and small; don’t miss opportunities to celebrate “life”.

Source:  Michael Angier, SuccessNet.Org

Written by: Cindy Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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