How I Manage Stress

I haven't talked much on here about my history with Mental Health.
Addiction, depression and anxiety have been and are a huge part of my life.
It's not something I choose to talk about a lot, because it is heavy, but it is important to know that mental health is just as important as physical health.
It's also important to know that you are NOT ALONE.
Whether it is you, or someone you know who suffers from any form of mental health issue, it is so important to open up about it.

I shared a little bit about my experience with anxiety in this post here, but really that's just breaking the surface.

Today, I want to share 5 things I do to improve my mental health. 
I don't always practice these, but when I do implement these self-care strategies, I notice it helps me better manage any stress or difficult situations that may arise.

Whether I hit the gym or follow a long to a yoga session on youtube, exercise has been amazing for my mental health. 
I went to the Dr with a ton of physical symptoms of stress a couple years back and she recommended that I work out, or even go for a walk, at least 3 times a week to reduce stress.
At the time, I thought it was just one more thing to add to my plate.
It wasn't until a year after that, that I actually started implementing exercise to my weekly routine.
Now, if I go a week without some sort of exercise, I can feel it mentally.

Healthy Eating
I used to eat out at least once a day.
It was the easiest, and sometimes, most cost effective choice for a busy mom.
But, I was always feeling sluggish.
When I found out that my son had a bunch of food intolerances, I changed my diet too.
I cut out french fries for leafy greens and I've never felt better, physically or mentally.
I've been having far less headaches and I have more energy than ever, which leaves me feeling far less irritable. 

This is probably where I fall off track the most, but sleep is SO important.
I know that it's hard to come by in today's busy society.
Most of us have a long commute to work and busy social calendars, but we need to make sleep a priority. 
I feel best when I get 8 hours of sleep.
I try to get to bed by 10pm and wake up around 6.
I find that I am far less productive, and not in a great mental state when I go to bed any later than 10pm.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the power Social Media has over our mental health.
I think Social Media can be so wonderful. 
I have met so many wonderful people in my life from platforms like Instagram, but I can also see where it can be dangerous.
I've caught myself scrolling through Instagram and having feelings of self doubt.
When this happens, I know it's time to take a step back and disconnect for a few days.

Say No
Time is limited, so it is so important to be intentional with our time.
It's okay to not be busy all of the time.
In fact, I'm actually my happiest when my calendar isn't jammed packed.
I have a busy mind, it is constantly going, which means I need to be especially careful not to stretch myself too thin. 
This past year, I've said NO, to a lot of things to ensure I wasn't feeling overwhelmed.
I had FOMO for a while, but eventually, I noticed I was a lot less anxious when I gave myself days with nothing at all planned. 

Do Something You Love
For me, that's having a nice hot bubble bath while listening to music.
If I've had a long day that has left me feeling defeated, this is how I end my day.
It helps me to unwind, soothe achy muscles, and get lost in the music.
It's proven that listening to music has a positive effect on the brain and body.
It can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol, a hormone that is linked to stress.

I hope these help.
I'd love to know some ways you manage stress, let me know in the comments below. 



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