It’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed when you have a lot on your plate – the same may be true for your kids. Everyone has times in their life when it feels as though the world is speeding up and keeping up seems impossible.
I find it easier to keep things in perspective when I take time for me. Making time for ‘You Moments’ is crucial to feeling inner peace. When you take the time to do things to create inner peace your life appears less chaotic. This is also important to model to your kids.
Here are a few things that I do to help me regroup when I feel stressed and overwhelmed:
Pen to Paper – writing out your feelings, nagging thoughts and worries helps clear the clutter that can sometimes take over your mind. I find it very healing to slowly rip up the paper after writing it – a great way to let go of stress and feel a sense of calm
Gratitude Break – feeling and expressing gratitude not only boosts emotional and mental well-being, but also boosts your immune system and your happiness. Focusing on what you enjoy and are grateful for, helps to shift your mood and mind to a happier state.
Breathe – I know this seems obvious but the quality of breaths you take makes a BIG difference in helping you feel calm and relaxed. I notice when I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I tend to take shallow breaths and sometimes even hold my breath. Be conscious of taking big, deep breaths in, hold for 5 seconds, then breathe out. Try five in a row.
Music – listening to your favourite music or singing along to a song can provide a temporary escape from a stressful day. Choosing specific lyrics can help you look at your day differently.
Talk with Friends and Family – carve out time to give them a call. It can be helpful to share your concerns and to hear what is happening in other people’s lives. It reminds you that you are not the only one to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Drink Water – stress can be caused because our bodies are thirsty. Sip water continuously throughout the day. Being dehydrated can make even the simplest task overwhelming and frustrating.
Revamp your To-Do List – create two columns – a MUST DO and a would be NICE to DO.
In the MUST DO column, put everything that is time sensitive and needs to get done that day. In the NICE to DO column, put the things that you would like to accomplish but if you don’t, ‘oh well.’
As you complete a task, cross it off! Crossing tasks off your list feels so good – ‘YAY! I got that done!’
Until next time…
7 Dec 2022
Emotions – No Thank You!
Avoiding emotions and telling yourself not to feel them, impacts your well-being. It affects your ability to communicate with others, your relationships, your performance, and your choices.
Suppressing emotions, pretending not to feel them and saying ‘I’m fine’ can lead to stress, burnout and more importantly emotional fatigue – yes that’s a real thing!
You can’t communicate effectively when you are emotionally charged. Training yourself to be aware of your feelings is essential to being able to communicate calmly and respectfully.
Did your heart skip a beat at the thought of talking about your emotions?
Learning to articulate how you truly feel creates emotional awareness. Most people’s emotional vocabulary consists of angry, sad, happy or anxious. There are many more emotions between those:
angry –> frustrated –> annoyed –> irritated
sad –> disappointed –> regretful –> depressed
happy –> excited –> confident –> content
anxious –> nervous –> worried –> confused
Expressing emotions can be tough. It can feel overwhelming and vulnerable. This is especially true if you learned as a child that sharing your emotions made you seem weak or feel shameful.
Expressing your emotions helps you:
Calm down quicker
Make character-based choices
Bounce back more easily
Improve communication skills
Bring harmony and well-being to your mental and physical state
Instead of reacting and avoiding emotions, take a pause and check-in with how you are feeling.
Here’s what I know: Being mindful of the emotions you are experiencing is essential to making choices in the moment that you can be proud of for the moments to come.
Until next time…
26 Oct 2022
Thriving through Emotional Chaos
At times it can be difficult to remain calm and thrive through the emotional chaos you might be experiencing. Your emotions seem to be all over the place. You promise yourself you won’t let your emotions get the best of you but then they do…you make a reactive choice from your emotions.
Later regret floods your brain. You wish you had taken a breath and been more self-aware of the emotions you were feeling and handled them differently.
Since emotions fluctuate and change according to the circumstance and mood you are experiencing, emotions are not a reliable place to make all choices from.
What helps me thrive through the emotional chaos so I can remain calm in order to make choices I am proud of, is keeping my character (who I believe I am), at the forefront of my mind. I repeat, ‘I choose to be respectful and patient.’ I even have it written on post-it notes as a visual reminder 😊
I remind myself that I am allowed to feel frustrated, disappointed, angry, upset (so are you). When I take a deep breath and say, ‘Sara, it’s OK to feel that way but your character is Respect & Patience’, it actually shifts my approach. It shifts my choices.
Training yourself to be conscious of the emotions you are experiencing so that you can breathe through them to make character-based choices, is essential to making choices in the moment that you can be proud of for the moments to come.
Until next time…
26 Oct 2021
Are you feeling discouraged and want to give up?
When times are tough and emotions run high, it can be easy to feel discouraged and want to give up.
In those times try this:
1. Be aware of the emotions you are feeling (name them). Honour them by reminding yourself it’s OK to feel them.
2. Take some deep breaths and reflect back on how far you have actually come. The challenges you have overcome to get you to where you are today, use this as strength to keep moving forward.
3. Remind yourself that the journey isn’t supposed to be perfect and that you have the tools to dig deep and keep going.
This is What I Know: Challenges are chapters of your life not your whole story! You Are Enough! You Matter! You’ve got this!
P.S. These strategies also work for your children/students.
Until next time…
29 Sep 2021
Do you know what makes you happy?
Do you put your happiness on hold?
Do you wait for a special occasion or a goal to be achieved?
This is what I know… Looking for ways to bring happiness into your life is very important to your emotional and mental well-being.
Think of everything you could do to create happiness. It might be talking to a friend/family member, going for nature walks, writing in a journal or watching/playing sports. It could be as simple as starting your day with your favourite breakfast food, song or cup of coffee/tea.
Write your happiness list on a big piece of paper and put it where you can see it.
You have now created your guide to HAPPINESS – a guide that will remind you how to tap into your happy place when you are feeling stressed, anxious or ‘blue’.
I forgot to add…your happiness list should not include ‘I’m only happy when_____ is happy.’ Never let your happiness depend on someone else’s happiness.
You deserve to be HAPPY! Make it a conscious choice!
P.S. Have your children/students create their own list.
Until next time…
13 May 2021
Let Go of the Guilt
You know it’s important to take care of yourself. You know it will help with your emotional, mental & physical well-being. You know it will boost your happiness and you know by nurturing yourself, it will put you in a better place to help those you love.
Knowing isn’t enough. You actually have to put your knowledge into action.
And beyond that… you have to make self-care a necessity – a MUST do!
Have you made it your top priority?
If not, do you by chance feel guilty when you do something for yourself?
With the current announcement of students not going back to in-person learning after the April Break and with everything else going on in our world, there are many emotions being felt.
Allow yourself to feel.
Keep reaching out – sharing – talking with respect for self & others.
Let’s keep supporting one another.
Resilience isn’t a solo event – it takes a community.
Your feelings may be BIG but our Strength together is BIGGER and Stronger!
Until next time…
18 Feb 2021
How to Maintain Healthy Relationships
Relationships can be challenging, creating emotions that we are sometimes afraid to share or admit. We are all emotional beings, experiencing a wide range of emotions – yet, it is one of our commonalities that we feel uncomfortable talking about.
During my presentations, regardless of the age of my audience, I ask, ‘why are emotions hard to share?’ The number one answer is ‘fear of judgment’. It can be too easy to meet emotions with judgment and denial which then creates a disconnect in relationships. Our brain will want to know WHY someone is feeling a certain way so that it can judge if the feeling is warranted. What if we could validate an emotion even if we don’t understand where it is coming from?
Think about how you would like someone to approach your emotions.
Here’s a scenario:
A) You share that you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and sad. Your partner, colleague, friend or family member says, ‘stop it – you are overreacting.’ Does that reaction tell you that it’s not ok to feel your emotions? Do you feel there is no space to share your true emotions? Do you feel guilt or shame for sharing?
How about this…
B) You share that you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and sad. Your partner, colleague, friend or family member says to you ‘It’s ok to feel. There is a lot going on. I have also felt those emotions.’ Now how do you feel? Do you feel seen? Connected? Supported?
We all want to be heard, be seen and be loved – this is universal. One of the best ways to validate and to connect with others (including your children/students) is to support their emotions by remembering that ‘It’s OK to feel and that It’s OK not to feel OK.’ This is what strengthens relationships.
Until next time…
28 Jan 2021
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay!
What’s the one part of the human experience we don’t want to talk about…EMOTIONS…which is a HUGE part of our mental health.
We all have emotions!
We may not have experienced the same circumstances – but we have all felt angry, sad, anxious, annoyed, frustrated and disappointed. Yet so many people are saying, ‘I’m fine’ when asked ‘how are you doing?’
It can feel overwhelming and vulnerable to share. You can even feel guilt or shame for feeling the way you do.
Keep reminding yourself…IT’S OK to FEEL. IT’S OK to NOT BE OK. Write it out. Place those words where you can read them every day.
Be proactive with your mental health by taking care of your emotional health:
☑ Practice emotional awareness. Put a name to your emotions. If you need help with this, email me and I’ll send you a chart to help you identify your emotions.
☑ Be observant. When experiencing an emotion – what physical impact does it have on you? For example: When I feel anxious it impacts my stomach – it feels like butterflies – it’s uncomfortable.
☑ Make a list of your healthy ways to move with and through your emotions. Have everyone in your family create their own list. Creating a list is powerful as you can forget what helps you calm when you are experiencing a big emotion. For me, deep breathing, writing, baking, music, working out and talking to someone are all helpful.
It takes courage to talk about your feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when you need it. When you choose to be brave and share you find connection – only with others but also with yourself.
Your Emotions Matter. Your Mental Health Matters. You Matter.
Until next time…
30 Nov 2020
Guess What We All have in Common?
‘What emotion are you feeling?’
When you think about truly sharing your emotions, would you prefer to leave the conversation or conveniently find something else to talk about? Maybe it’s because you don’t know how you are feeling or maybe you want to shout ‘none of your business!’ Or is it because you think sharing emotions makes you look weak?
EXPRESSING EMOTIONS CAN BE TOUGH.
As human beings we enjoy feeling comfortable – ever heard a mattress commercial? All the marketing company has to do is focus on how comfortable the mattress is – SOLD! We LOVE comfortable. Emotions are not always comfortable. They are messy, awkward and can feel down-right painful both mentally and physically.
You may be able to fool yourself into believing that by ignoring or suppressing emotions you won’t have to face them. Wrong. Not acknowledging your emotions causes burnout, health challenges, anxiety, and strained relationships
EMOTIONS AREN’T YOUR ENEMY.
Emotions are a natural and normal part of the human experience. Emotions are the one thing we all have in common. We may not have experienced the same circumstances – but we have all felt angry, sad, anxious, frustrated, disappointed and overwhelmed. Isn’t it comforting to know you’re not alone?
SURPRISE! EXPRESSING YOUR EMOTIONS HELPS:
reduce stress & anxiety
establish stronger relationships
bring harmony and well-being to your mental and physical state
Instead of suppressing your emotions, use these 3 ways to help you move with and through your emotions:
1. NAME YOUR EMOTIONS
There is a release that happens just in saying your emotion out loud, ‘I’m feeling sad.’ It makes it feel less intense. Acknowledge your emotions, instead of making yourself feel bad, wrong or weak for feeling. Next time someone asks, ‘how are you feeling?’ tell them. You are allowed to feel. You are supposed to feel. You will also be giving permission to others to speak up about their emotions.
2. RELEASE EMOTIONS IN A HEALTHY WAY
Create a list of healthy ways to move through your emotions. This will help you get clear about strategies that are helpful. Post it somewhere that will serve as a reminder. When you are experiencing an uncomfortable emotion you can easily forget what helps you move through.
3. FIND YOUR CALM
Being able to calm yourself in the moment from tough emotions and overwhelming circumstances is often easier said than done. Knowing ways to help you relax and decrease stress will calm your mind and body quickly. If one way doesn’t work for you, try another one. Some of my favourites are paying attention to my breath, relaxing with a cup of tea or coffee, humming or singing and watering my plants.
You would never take dead batteries, place them in a flashlight and expect it to shine – yet there are times you will drain yourself emotionally and stick yourself into work, relationships and conversations and expect to shine.
Reach out, ask for help and accept support. You Matter!