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Posts Tagged ‘stress reduction’

I’m already late for work and now I’m in the middle of a traffic jam?  How am I going to get the kids to gymnastics, soccer and tee ball practices at the same time?  Everyone’s coming home at a different time tonight and we’re supposed to have supper together?  Make sure and schedule quality time for myself?  Really?  You’ve got to be kidding me!

Stress Management:  Rules for the Weary    stress taming

  • Stress is part of life.
  • Not all stress is bad.
  • Only you can prevent stress disorders.
  • Stress management is a lifestyle, not a technique.
  • As in life, success requires certain skills.
  • With practice and guidance, skills can be learned.

Coping with Minor Stressors

Research at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Ohio State’s internationally recognized center for the study of body-mind interaction, has resulted in key findings related to how stressors in marriage and care-giving impact health; how stress can lessen vaccine effectiveness; how stress can aggravate allergies and asthma; and the development of interventions that can lessen the effects of stress and promote health.

Try some of the following to help cope with stress:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Use meditation, relaxation exercises or breathing techniques.
  • Look at situations from a variety of perceptions.
  • Talk and share with friends.
  • Journal and clarify why things bother you.

Name it, Tame it and Bust that Stress!

  • List Priorities: Write down what is most important for you to do and then number from 1 to? With 1 being the most important for you to accomplish.
  • Plan Rest Periods: Schedule for “taking a break” in your daily activities.
  • Perfection: There is no perfect “anything”. Do the best you can and congratulate and reward yourself for it.
  • Exercise: (I think we talked about this earlier!) Try to exercise in your usual manner.  Or, start to exercise.
  • Childlike: Have FUN! Engage in playful activities.  Watch children play to remind yourself about “how to play”.
  • Spending: Be mindful of your spending.
  • Emotional Health: Talk with supportive people. Listen with empathy.  Use non-judgmental approaches.  Say “No” to avoid overdoing.
  • Gratitude: Be grateful for what you have and don’t dwell on what you don’t have.

One final thought about Taming Stress

In the words of Somerset Maugham, “It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”

Remember to always choose the “Best” for yourself!

stress taming 2

 

Written by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Sources:

Lisa M. Borelli LISW-S, Counselor, Ohio State Employee Assistance Program, The Ohio State University Health Plan, Columbus, Ohio.  Stress Taming.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Improving Your Health Through Stress Reduction.  http://wexnermedical.osu.edu/patient-care/healthcare-services/improving-your-health-through-stress-reduction

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Mindfulness Practices – Mindfulness practices can reduce anxiety, chronic pain, depression, insomnia and stress.  http://go.osu.edu/wexnermindful

onCampus.  February 11, 2016, 16th Annual Health and Wellness Guide, Wellness is a journey, Pages 7-18.  http://go.osu.edu/HealthWellnessGuide

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As the holiday season approaches, requests are made to participate in “Secret Santa” at work, office parties, “Ugly Sweater” contests, and for the kids, “Elf on the Shelf”. Add to that list decorating, cooking, shopping and gift wrapping, inventory, and end of year reports at work. That’s a lot to juggle from now thru the end of the year. To help you stay sane, try a strategic approach to reduce stress, while still balancing work-life responsibilities during the holidays:

  1.  Set Priorities– Go through the task of ranking your priorities. Is your top priority family time? Volunteer work? After you establish your priorities, you will be able to say no to events that don’t make the list (or at least put time limits on your participation).
  2. Do a Time Study – For one week, keep a log of how your time is spent. Log general groups of tasks that include activities such as errands, housework, shopping, cooking, and so forth; then total your column times. Did the way you spent your time align with your priorities? If not, adjust your schedule to bring your life back into balance.
  3. Set Limits on Work Hours – This is easier said than done, but if work-life balance is important to you, then set limits on the hours that you are willing to work and enforce them. Maybe that means leaving the office no later than 5 pm, and/or no working on the weekends. As the holidays approach, it’s important to carve out extra hours for all of those seasonal tasks, as well as keeping time for you to exercise and relax. If you’re someone that usually works late hours, communicate the temporary change to co-workers.
  4. Get Help – Is cleaning the house, running errands or baking taking up a large amount of time? Consider sourcing out some of those chores. It may be a better use of your time to pay someone to do a few of those tasks – such as purchasing cookies from a neighbor that likes to bake. If you are not able to hire out, scale back your menu, have a potluck or rethink hosting every party.
  5.  Unplug – Turn off the social media and emails. Don’t check your work emails until you are back at work. If you can’t forgo checking emails, set limits for when you will check work email.
  6.  Get Moving – If exercise didn’t originally make your priority list, be good to yourself and schedule it back in. This will boost your energy level and improve your mood!

Work-life balance is an ongoing process. Keep your priorities on task and just do your best. Priorities will change as your life changes – especially during the holidays. Periodically reassess your priorities and take inventory of your work-life balance.
Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD. Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Donna Green, MA, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu
Sources: http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/25-ways-find-joy-balance-during-holidays

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Labor Day is a perfect reminder that in order to celebrate the work and achievement we have had in the past year, we need a break to reflect. Technology and the strive to always do more (and better than anyone else); can develop a bad habit of never disconnecting from our work. Working all the time may lead us to burnout and even less creativity. As Whitney Johnson says “Only after a break can you have a breakthrough”.

After looking at over 50 studies, journal articles, or books on workaholism, researchers classified workaholics as those who: Woman Relaxing in Rocking Chair

  • Work beyond what is reasonably expected.
  • Give up family, social, and recreational activities persistently for work.
  • Think about work all the time.

Numerous workaholics will become over stressed, anxious, and even have health problems; although not all do. Some workaholics seem to find a way to balance their lives. We should all strive to be productive in our work, but not move over to the dark-side of the workaholic. Whether it is Labor Day itself, a weekend, or vacation day we all need to recharge our batteries. Our brain needs to shut down, we need adequate sleep, and we need a little quiet time. If you have been focusing on a big project at work or home, you may need a break to clear your mind and get ready for the next project. Here are some “Un-Labor Day” ideas to help you recharge your batteries:

  • Actually use your holidays, vacation days, sick days, and weekends as recreation or relaxation.
  • Turn off the TV, computer, or tablet and listen to your favorite music.
  • Journal (by actually writing down, not on your phone) things you have to be thankful for.
  • Meditate or do yoga.
  • Just relax in a hammock, on the beach, or on a blanket under the stars.
  • Take a drive on a back road with a view – may it be the waterfront, mountains, or farm fields.
  • Turn technology off for the day. If your work email goes to your phone, cut back on the times you look at it after work or on the weekend. Keep count of the times you normally check email per day and see if you can’t go to once or twice a day (maybe eventually not at all on the weekend). To break this habit you may need to turn your alerts off.
  • Fix a favorite recipe and share it with your friends, family, or neighbors.
  • Sign up for a new class, not one related to work, but a hobby you want to learn or fitness. Actually put the schedule on your calendar and phone and say “I have class then, I can’t attend that meeting tomorrow night” rather than adding on to your already busy day.

What can you do to “Un-Labor” your day? If you ask my family and friends, they will tell you I work too much and need to heed the advice and take a break to recharge my batteries too.

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

Reviewers: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County and Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County.

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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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Feeling stressed? What are you eating? Most of us reach for comfort foods when we are stressed, stressed woman such as cookies, cake, candy and other high sugar, low fiber foods. These foods are not good choices to prevent chronic inflammation from developing and affecting our body. High levels of chronic inflammation are believed to cause rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. Even low amounts of inflammation can increase your risk of obesity and the effects of aging. Prolonged chronic inflammation increases our risk of cancer, heart disease and other diseases. One study on postmenopausal women found that those eating a healthier diet reduced their risk of death from any cause by 60% and had an 88% reduced risk of death from breast cancer.

What should we eat to avoid inflammation building up in our body? Three eating patterns provide reliable assistance along with allowing individual choices of food. Those three eating patterns are the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet. my plate Each of these has some differences but all three emphasize certain patterns.

All three eating patterns encourage us to eat:
• Plenty of vegetables and fruit.
• whole grains
• Low-fat or Fat-free Dairy
• Seafood and plant proteins

They also encourage us to reduce eating:
• Empty calories including foods with added sugar, or drinking excess alcohol
• Refined grains
• Saturated fat foods
• High sodium food

What would a daily eating plan include?
• Vegetables – 2 to 4 cups
• Fruits – at least 2 cups a day
• Whole grains – 3 to 4 ounces a day
• Fish/Seafood – 8-16 ounces a week for Omega-3
• Nuts and soy – 4-6 ounces a week
• Olive oil – 1 -2 Tablespoons a day.
• Dairy (1% or skim) – 1-3 cups a day
• Alcohol – 0-1 drink a day

Limit the amount of red and processed meats you eat to less than 12 ounces a week and keep added sugars to less than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men a day.

Make it a goal to eat lots of fiber by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts. fruits-veggies This will increase the anti-inflammatory properties from these foods. Add some garlic, onion, pepper and other herbs for additional anti-inflammatory properties.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed
OSU Extension

References:
Orchard, T. [2015]. Eating healthy under stress: improving diet quality to lower chronic inflammation. webinar for Your Plan for Health, Ohio State University

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If you haven’t already registered for our Spring Email Wellness Challenge – now is the time!

Who can participate? Any adult wanting to live healthy life with support from Ohio State University Extension.

What is it? A “Spring Clean Your Wellness Routine” email challenge, which provides you with two emails a week on a variety of health topics.

Where? In the convenience of your own home, office, or pocket.

When? March 30 through May 10, 2015

How do I participate? Click on http://go.osu.edu/sp15ross to register.

Why?  We work better together.  Supporting one another in living a healthy lifestyle is a smart and fun thing to do.

Participants will learn about these topics or wellness behaviors:

Vegetables and Fruits—Find ways to eat vegetables and fruits on half your plate.

 Fitness Focus—Ideas to move more.

Roasted Vegetables—Try new recipes for veggies and fruits.

Local Foods—Visit a Farmer’s Market or the local foods section of your store.

Gardening with Herbs—Plant an herb, vegetable or fruit in a container or plot garden.

Seasoning with Herbs—Use herbs instead of salt to season foods.

Stress Relief—Manage stress and maintaining a positive attitude.

Contact: Lisa Barlage, barlage.7@osu.edu for additional information.

The program is funded by Ohio State University Extension and County Commissioners Cooperating.

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Did you know that people who are happier live 7 to 10 years longer? And happy employees miss up to 15 less days of work each year and recover from their illnesses earlier? The power of being positive is growing in both research findings and popular press. Numerous research studies have concluded that positive thinking can improve your health by:

  • Lowering rates of depression and levels of distressMP900386362
  • Reducing risks of heart disease
  • Providing resistance to the common cold

Thinking positive thoughts doesn’t mean you ignore unpleasant things that happen in your life; instead you look at those things as an opportunity to improve and presume that the best outcome is going to happen. So are you a glass half-full or half-empty (positive or negative) person? I admit this is an area I have been trying to watch in my own life. I know people who are negative much of the time and they aren’t fun to be around. What can we all do to be more positive?

  • Stop using negative thoughts and words. When you catch yourself being negative – take a break.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Seek out friends and co-workers who are positive and reduce the time you spend with those who are negative. Now, if your mother is the negative one, that doesn’t mean you never have to see her again, but try to change or direct conversations with her to reflect a more positive slant.
  • Read inspiring books or blogs, and follow people who use positive thinking on Twitter or Facebook. Buy a thought-of-the-day book with a positive theme or get out your old Chicken Soup books and read them again.
  • Watch TV shows, movies, or even YouTube video’s that make you happy and laugh.
  • Be physically active – it is amazing what a few 10 minute fitness breaks can do to improve your attitude (and your health).
  • Institute a “no complaining rule” at your office or with your family. When someone doesn’t like a new policy, encourage them to think of it as a way to learn something new. Or rather than complaining about something, think of possible alternatives. You may need to try some “no complaining” days first, rather than going cold-turkey.
  • Model positive actions and words with others. Set an example for your co-workers, family, and friends. Remember, children and teens will follow the example you set.

As one of my favorite positive speakers/authors Jon Gordon says “Be positively contagious”, rather than letting your negative energy infect others. If you are having a really negative day, everyone might be better served if you take a sick day for an “attitude adjustment.” In the same way that you would not want to infect co-workers with a cold or flu, you don’t want your pessimism contaminating others, either.

Sources:

U.S. National Library of Medicine

Mayo Clinic

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

Reviewer:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County.

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Branson Treber Jr. Life is short, sometimes shorter than we think. Forty one years ago this New Year’s Eve, my father died at age 52 of a heart attack. This was especially traumatic for me; I was a 17-year-old senior in high school. As you can imagine, it was a difficult time for my mom, sisters and grandmother.

Every New Year’s Eve, I remember my father’s passing and take time to reflect on the past year. It is a good time to let old grudges go and reflect on the positives in your life. This tough life lesson helped me realize that life is short, and we should do our best to be optimistic and positive even during tough times.

As we begin 2015, perhaps you will decide to “forgive” an experience that is holding you captive. According to WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/forgive-forget you may receive health benefits by forgiving the person such as lowered blood pressure, a stronger immune system and reduction in stress hormones.

Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Hope College states that “Forgiveness does not involve a literal forgetting. Forgiveness involves remembering graciously. The forgiver remembers the true though painful parts, but without the embellishment of angry adjectives and adverbs that stir up contempt.”

Here are some tips to help you let go of past hurts. These tips are from Frederic Luskin, PhD, of the Stanford Forgiveness Project.
• Start a “gratitude journal” or write down one thing each day that you are grateful for. It is fine to start with small things that you are grateful for – you may find this practice helps you focus on all the positives in your life.
• Practice stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, relaxation, yoga, or meditation. These practices may help you reduce your stress levels and develop a calmer attitude.
• Can you “rewrite” the story so that it is framed in a more positive light? This practice sometimes helps us move forward on our forgiveness journey.

Other things that may help you in the New Year include reconnecting with old friends or family members. Write that letter or thank you note to someone you have been meaning to contact. Write in a journal the positives from the past year. Reflect on the highlights and milestones. Each year, write down these milestones for your child, parent, family or friend. Your family will appreciate that you took the time to write about these precious memories.

Want more ideas for 2015? Check out this website for timely tips and suggestions: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/

Sources:
Valeo, T., Reviewer Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/forgive-forget
Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, University of California at Berkeley http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Patricia Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

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After 21 years, I no longer resolve to be a morning exerciser. I have tried and failed numerous times. If others can do it, why can’t I? Simply because I AM NOT, nor ever will be a morning person.  Keeping New Year’s Resolutions realistic can be difficult for many people. We set goals to lose weight, start exercising, train for a marathon, stop smoking, have a cleaner house, pay off debt, spend more time with friends and family, sleep more, eat healthier….the list could go on and on, yet we achieve very few. New Year’s Day is a time to reflect back on our behaviors in the previous year and to take a look at small changes we would like to make. Promising yourself to overhaul your life will just result in frustration, disappointment and hopelessness by the end of January or February during the cold, grey winter months.

How can you prevent “failure” and achieve your goals? Consider these tips:

  • Start small. Aim for progress, not perfection. If you want to increase your exercise, start out with 3 times per week, not every day. Don’t punish yourself by taking goals to the extreme, this is not about deprivation. Saying you will never eat a cookie again is just not realistic!
  • Change one behavior at a time. This is not the time to seek out a total life transformation or overhaul. Choose one behavior to work on. Want to spend more quality time with your family? Agree to spend an hour 3 times a week in a tech-free zone.
  • Talk about it. Open up and share what your goal is. You might find others who want to achieve the same goal. Having others to share your struggles and success with makes achieving that goal easier.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Minor missteps are part of the journey. The most important aspect is to get back on track. We all make mistakes!
  • Have specific, measurable, attainable goals. Set a deadline for yourself. Track your progress so you have a visual indicator of your achievements. review your goals periodically and adjust if necessary.

fireworks-235813_1280

It’s ok if you choose not to have any resolutions surrounding January 1. It’s important to always be working on small goals at all times of the year, which will alleviate some of the stress and pressure.  Incorporating small changes in everyday life is much more manageable. Here’s to 2015-Happy New Year!

 

Writer: Melissa Welker, M.Ed., B.S., Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA , welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewer: Donna Green, MA, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:               www.apa.org

www.webmd.com

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It goes without saying; the holiday season can be stressful.  During the holidays it’s even more important to take care of yourself every day!  Use these practical tips to minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays.

  •  Be physically active. How do you get daily exercise?  Remember you need a total of 30 minutes a day (walking, housework, and exercise machines – all count).  Get moving!
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all.  Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.  Practice strategies to get adequate sleep and eat healthy; maintain a healthy life style.
  • Nurture yourself, take a breather.  Make some time for yourself.  Spending just 15 minutes alone without distractions may refresh you enough to handle the challenges of the day. Try a massage, a hot bath, mini-relaxations, or a quick walk to ease tension.  Be sure you’re eating right, sleeping well and laughing often.
  • Share your feelings and thoughts.  Take a break from holiday shopping and preparation to call a friend or meet them over a cup of tea.  Letting out your feelings to a supportive friend can be an invaluable and important way to relieve holiday stress or any kind of stress and anxiety.tinsle tangle
  • Laugh!  Try to find humor in everyday situations.  Laughter is a great stress reliever! Don’t let anyone dull your “sparkle”!

The key to less stressful holidays may lie in the way you perceive them.  Adjusting your attitude and your expectations can help turn an otherwise stressful holiday into an enjoyable and relaxing one.

Sources:

Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress, by Charlotte Libov – WebMD retrieved 11/17/14 from http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/tips-for-reducing-holiday-stress

Relax During the Holidays, by Dr. Mercola, December 2013.  Retrieved 11/17/14 from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/23/holiday-stress-relief.aspx

Writer:  Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, shuster.24@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Kristen Corry, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Noble and Monroe Counties, corry.10@osu.edu

Image search for tinsle / Compfight / A Flickr Search Tool// // //

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