Whether you are opting into to on-line school, in-person school, or homeschooling to start this school year you have likely had to make difficult and stressful decisions for your family. For most of us starting school, the change in our routine, and helping our kids adjust to a new schedule is already stressful enough, now we also have the layer of COVID. In times of high stress, we all need extra support.
Often times when we experience stress we shut down and zone out with our phone or another distraction or we speed up and try to do more in hopes that if we can get it all done we will feel less stressed. Neither option addresses what we are feeling inside and can often lead to a viscous cycle, continuing to need more zoning out or more “doing” to escape feeling the stress. There is a third option, leaning in.
Leaning into stress lets us know how stress impacts our body and thoughts. When we notice we feel stressed we can slow down, tune into our stress, and give ourselves extra support and care in those moments. I like to think of it as caring for ourselves as we would if we were sick. The idea is to begin to meet your stressed self with the same care and empathy you meet your sick self.
Tuning into your stressors via Journaling
- Write your current top three stressors and what makes them stressful
- Write your throughs about those stressors or what you think to yourself when you are in the height of each stressor
- Imagine that stressful scenario in your mind’s eye. What do you notice in your body as you imagine this stressor and how it plays out in your life, i.e. a tightness in your shoulders, sick feeling in your stomach, or anxious feeling in your chest?
- What if anything would make this slightly less stressful, i.e. leaving the house earlier, knowing you were going to take a walk at the end of the day, connecting with a friend, etc.
We often cannot remove the stress in our lives but we can change our relationship with stress and how we respond to it.
I hope you have found these tools helpful. Next week we will continue the conversation.
Looking forward to connecting with you next week,
Michelle Puster M.Ed., LPC
Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist
Certified Clinical Trauma Professional
Katy Couples & Wellness Counseling
Finding Me Again
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