5 Simple Strategies to Survive Stress

tips for managing stress
Sometimes stress is unavoidable.  You can’t control everything in your world.  The economy, your relationships and health are all in part, out of your control.  As a result, you can find yourself in uncertain and stressful circumstances.

This stress may be the result of one event, but often it is multiple stressful events occurring at the same time that leave you feeling pressure.

DBT Distress Tolerance Skills are designed to help you survive crisis.  They are not meant as long term strategies to improve your life, but are essential skills to get your through that moment of crisis.  Strategies that can help you in times of intense stress include: Continue reading “5 Simple Strategies to Survive Stress” »

Stress Management or Avoidance?

When do coping techniques turn into avoidance?

Recently we had a minor crisis in our home.  It was actually one with a positive outcome, but regardless of the ultimate result it was unexpected and overwhelming.  Without even thinking, I began a new book.  I love to read.  I’ve devoured books since I was a child and still feel at loose ends if I don’t have a book going.  It’s a natural coping mechanism for me:  A blissful escape from problems and stress.

Soon I began reading at every possible moment.  The laundry began to pile up and the kids rejoiced at pizza and fast food dinners.  I read during dinner, in the evenings, while cooking or emptying the dishwasher.  When I wasn’t able to read, I was thinking about how I’d sneak in the next few pages.  I was avoiding the original crisis, the people around me and every tedious task I could. Continue reading “Stress Management or Avoidance?” »

Surviving a Crisis with Self-Soothing

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, be kind, gentle, and comforting to yourself. 

VISION:  Look at things that make you feel calm and soothed, like… stars, clouds, sunsets, sunrises, trees, artwork, posters, paintings, flowers, birds, watch the ocean, watch a fire in a fireplace, nice houses, dream catchers, glass animal figurines, stained glass, fish tanks, fireworks, art books, comic books,  waves, the beach, architecture, lakes, pictures of family, dolphins.

 SMELL:  Smell things that are comforting to you, like… cold air, cookouts, incense, scented candles, campfire, salt air at the beach, bubble bath, lotions, baby smell, clean blankets, sheets, and clothes, rain,  shampoo, favorite foods, soap, flowers, roses, deodorant, powder, wood burning, soda (root beer, grape, orange),  tea, potpourri, popcorn, a pillow.

 HEARING:  Listen to things that make you feel calm and gentle, like…  music, chimes, opera, soft rock (Rod Steward—Faith of Heart), Oldies, dolphins, classical music, 80’s music, birds in back yard, Celine Dion, Moody Blues, sounds of fans, being read to by others, tapping of typing, water falls, frogs.

 TASTE:  Taste things that are comforting, like… pudding, ice cream, herbal tea, chocolate, favorite meal, favorite soda, fried eggplant, seltzer,  strawberries, tic tacs, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, spaghetti, shimp, lobster, Popsicles, potato chips,  brownies, a snowflake, pizza, Peanut Butter and Jelly, toothpaste.

 TOUCH:  Touch things that are comforting and soothing, like…petting a cat or dog, running hands under warm water, bubble bath, running fingers through clean hair, pillow, sitting in a recliner, hot bath, laying on satin/ silk sheets, hot shower, cool water on face, comfortable clothes/ silk, walking on the beach (sand and waves), fuzzy blanket,  soaking feet.

Sometimes when we’re stressed and overwhelmed, we forget to take care of ourselves.  Giving yourself time to self-soothe will increase your ability to manage and function during times of stress.

Creating a Soothing Holiday Home

How do you make your home a more soothing, calming, environment this holiday season?  How can you provide opportunities for you and your family to Self soothe?  Ask yourself the following questions:

VISION:  what is pretty and calming to look at around your house?  Are there any decorations that you like to look at that make you feel particularly calm and secure? 

TASTE:  what are soothing tastes and flavors available in the house?  Are there any flavors or tastes that you associate with the holidays, like peppermint, hot chocolate or apple cider? 

TOUCH:  what soothing and calming things are available for to touch in the house?  Are there warm cozy blankets?  A warm fire? Soft clothes? 

HEARING:  what calming, soothing holiday sounds do you have around the house?  How did you provide a calming holiday environment with sound? Do you play holiday music? Focus on conversation? Have a crackling fire?

SMELL:  what smells like the holidays to you, around your house?