It is not uncommon to become so busy doing that we forget to simply be. If you find yourself in this place, you are not alone. In fact, approximately 104 million Americans (1/3 of the population) report living with extreme levels of stress. It doesn’t have to stay this way. There are steps you can take to enter into a place of balanced living and wellness. You might consider choosing one or two of the following as a starting point:
- Be sure to get adequate sleep. Health professionals at The Mayo Clinic  suggest 7-9 hours each night for adults.
- Increase your support system. This may involve finding someone to counsel/mentor you , especially when you are involved in supporting others – physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
- Make time to get outside. The sun’s rays (especially in summertime) provide a much needed dose of vitamin D. Research4 has shown this “sunshine vitamin” to protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon – as well as decreasing vulnerability to depression, insomnia, and an overactive immune system.
- Find time to be alone [or be with mutual friends]. Depending on the way you are wired, you are probably energized by either spending time alone or with other people. Take time to engage in whichever option appeals to you the most.
- Say “no” more. Just because an opportunity sounds like a good idea does not (in and of itself) make it the best choice for you. And, just because there is a need, does not mean that you are the one who has to fulfill it. In fact, when we learn to say “no”, we are giving others the opportunity to step up and into their full potential (which would have been blocked had we jumped right in with the all-comfortable “yes!”).
- Take a day to rest. We, as human beings, are designed to function best when we take time to rest. If an entire day “off” sounds absurd to you at this point, begin by taking an afternoon, or maybe even an hour, to slow down.
- Feed your brain. If you aren’t already familiar with the work of Dr. Amen5 head to his website and take a look. It is brimming with ways for you to “change your brain” and “change your life”.
- Go for a walk [or something…] Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk like you’re late. 5 Take a bike ride. Pop in one of those workout DVDs. Dance. Run. Sweat – you’ll thank yourself later. *…and of course check with your physician before starting any exercise program]
- Be thankful. There are times when we become so wrapped up in each day’s details that we forget to remember the bright side(s) of life. Make a list. Journal. Whatever works for you to be intentional about being thankful. And – it never hurts to communicate your gratitude to the people in your life who make it on this list.
By Kjersten Halvorsen, MA | 719.232.4132
Return to: http://KjerstenHalvorsen.com
1 American Psychological Association, 2007.
2 Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/
3 For more information on meeting with a counselor for support, see: http://LifeJourneyInternational.com
4 US News, Health. http://health.usnews.com/
5 Dr. Daniel Amen. Amen Clinics. www.amenclinics.com