Managing Stress and Taking Care of Your Body: Living Well Series Part 1
I am so thrilled to welcome my friend, who is changing the world through her work as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Elisa Torell. She is amazing and so incredible at sharing practical steps to truly living well. When we were early on in our journey with Audra’s EoE illness, our family’s rhythms were completely turned around, and we were left scrambling to figure out how to navigate that season with any semblance of balance. This is a resource that would have been invaluable to me at that time. Here, Elisa shares a 3-part series that she has written on self-care and stress management to address how to care for your body, how to care for your mind, and how to care for your heart. Enjoy!!
When tough things happen in our lives, you may often hear friends or family say something like “make sure you take care of yourself.” Yet when things are stressful and overwhelming it can be challenging to even know what that means! Between researching, doctors appointments, and trying to adjust life to whatever new challenges your child is facing, self-care can slip out the window. Yet in order for you as a parent to be effective and manage the stress of what your family is dealing with, it is vital to create space for restoration and processing what you are going through. There are even things you can do as a family to teach your children how to care for themselves too! Below is the first of 3 ways you can care for you and your family.
How to Manage Stress by Caring for Your Body
Sometimes when the mind is racing with “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” and emotions of fear and anxiety increase with each thought, learning to calm your body can be the first course of action in attacking and reducing the impact of this toxic cycle. Here are 2 ideas for caring for your body:
Focus on your breathing
Did you know that breathing in and out deeply for just 3-5 minutes at a time can lower your heart rate and calm the body? Deep breathing exercises have been found to reduce anxiety in a huge way.
How does it work? Listening to the breath go in and out, breathing out a little longer than you breath in, and breathing with your diaphragm all activate the part of your nervous system that tells the body to slow down and be calm.
How can I do this with my children? One way to do this with your children is blowing bubbles! Get outside to blow bubbles, or grab a glass of water and a straw (or milk, if allergies don’t limit you) and have some fun blowing bubbles. This can double as both a fun activity and a way to help your child to breathe and calm their bodies.
Go for a walk or a bike ride. Swing on the playground. Have a family dance party. This may sound obvious, but sometimes anxiety and fear are like strong energy that your body holds. These feelings can be released through movement to calm your body down.
Elisa is a state licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Fountain Gate Counseling Center in Kennesaw, GA. She works with individuals, couples, and families dealing with a variety of issues including anxiety and depression in the midst of life transitions. More information about Fountain Gate and her practice can be found here.