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Stress Free Part 4 (A)

Today I am starting with simple methods of stress reduction. Using these techniques can help defuse a situation and make it easier to get through that situation without a blow-up. They are meant to slow down the stress response or even stop the response from escalating.

The first is counting to 10 SLOWLY. This can be done out loud or quietly to yourself. This allows time to realign to whatever is going on and calm the stress response.

Deep Breathing – This allows you to rebalance your energy and alleviate stress symptoms. This can be done in a place where you can be alone. To do this stand with a wide stance, arms at your side, close your eyes. Begin by taking a deep breath through your nose (mouth closed). Hold it for a few seconds and SLOWLY breathe out through your mouth. Repeat several times until you feel balanced and at ease.

Brief Meditation – This can take as little as five minutes to help you rebalance and calm the stress response. Go into a room where you can be alone. Begin with the deep breathing exercise above. With eyes closed visualize your relaxation space. You do not have to necessarily visualize, as some just find the silence within. Allow yourself to relax in that space. When you feel calm and balanced, do a few deep breaths and gradually open your eyes.

Doodling – Doodling on a piece of paper will draw your attention away from the situation at hand. It causes you to refocus your thinking and responses to the situation. If you save them and look back after a few days you can see the changes that occur in the doodling as the stress subsides.

If all else fails – walk away. Leave the situation until you can calm and rebalance yourself. Go for a walk, sit in a quiet room, listen to calming music, whatever creates that calm within you.

These are simple techniques to prevent a full out stress response. If you can stop it before it escalates there will be a better outcome overall. This works in many situations and can be used with more extensive releases as well. We start with little steps and move to larger ones as the program progresses.

Let me know how they worked for you. What problems did you have? Where were you? The who, what, why and when of your release. What was your relaxation space like?

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Sunday Sunday

Another rainy Sunday and I don’t have anything I have to do. One whole day to recoup from the week. I do have to decide what to make for dinner but my hubby is home too so, maybe he has some ideas too. He may decide to go to Wally World and get something different.

Today is a good day to do some meditation and a nap. I wanted and need to crochet the rest of a doll for Christmas but am waiting because I needed to order more white yarn. Its got to be done for Christmas.

I’ve gradually been wrapping gifts and finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I only have one person to shop for. Still have a pile of gifts to wrap, but I will succeed!

Christmas is two-weeks away! Another holiday to get through. I’ll touch on some basic stress reduction techniques before the holiday on the Stress Free Program. There are several travel friendly techniques to help de-stress you through the holiday.

Hubby’s birthday is next week. So far this holiday season we have Thanksgiving and my birthday, our 42nd anniversary, his birthday, Christmas, New Years, followed by two more birthdays. Our holiday season seems to start with Halloween and run through March.

My son and his family in Boston, may not make it home this year due to Covid. I’ll have to mail their gifts. Hopefully before Christmas. I’ll let the kids know incase they have stuff to send too. I pray everyday that this virus is brought under control. I’m an at risk person and those masks make it hard to breathe. Besides that its not good to rebreathe your own carbon dioxide especially when wearing the masks for long periods.

I guess that’s it for my thoughts this morning. There’s more time later to add another post. Have a relaxing Sunday. Later. Comments are always welcome.

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Keeping My Cool

The next part of the Stress Free Program has been posted.

My computer is in slow-mode today and everything is taking a long time to load or not loading at all. I did a virus check and a computer check and it’s all ok. Sometimes computers can be a stressor too. There are days that are good and days that are bad that can really stress me. Not to mention everything else going on.

My son had surgery and it was more extensive than anticipated. The bone was broken in 3 places and the ligaments and tendons were caught in the dislocated ankle joint. I hate seeing my kids in pain but I know that the problem is fixed and healing has to occur. Sometimes my impatience gets the better of me.

Have you ever had to deal with Social Security and Medicare?? Both on the same day? Neither one knows what the other is doing and sometimes they don’t even know their own jobs. I called Social Security and they referred me to Medicare who then referred me back to Social Security. Today, I was on a three-way conference call and suddenly Social Security has access to the information needed! The end result was an email to the Processing Center to get Social Security to activate my retroactive Medicare. Mind you this has been going since May. Hopefully this will get resolved ASAP.

Then I was on the phone with a Self Publishing School. The guys made it sound fabulous but the whole time I was wondering “How much?” I let him go through the whole process and then had to tell him I could not afford to enroll. I would love to but money is tight right now. He had all kinds of options including a payment plan, credit card, and Paypal credit (that didn’t go through). I have started books and have had magazine and web articles published along with articles when I wrote as a journalist. I’m a published poet too. I think this was the least stressful part of my day and probably his most stressful day. I smiled when I got off the phone because he was so excited about getting my book published. Made me feel good to have such encouragement.

All in all, my day wasn’t too bad (I guess). I have a positive belief that my son will heal, I anticipate information from Social Security, and I enjoyed the phone call and my computer has sped up. Good way to compensate for any stressors in my day.

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Stress Free Part 3

Effects of Stress

Stress produces physical symptoms as a result of the body going into the fight-or-flight response. This is when the body goes into alert status and is ready for action. This response may lead to chronic stress and anxiety.

Symptoms range from minor discomfort to life threatening changes. Most commonly seen are peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, respiratory disorders, arthritis, strokes, cancer, migraine and tension headaches, skin disorders, intestinal disorders, change in sleep habits, poor circulation and heart attacks. Other immediate symptoms may include crying, shaking or tremors, heart racing, breathing difficulty, digestive issues, nausea, and vomiting, passing out/collapse.

Reactions to stress can be effective and adaptive or ineffective and maladaptive. Long-term stress and ineffective coping over long periods of time can result in physical and psychological damage. Ineffective responses include drugs or alcohol abuse and defensive behaviors. Burnout is common with ineffective coping skills.

Most of us use drugs in some form to help regain control. Drugs like aspirin for a headache or legal and illegal drugs are used to alleviate the symptoms of stress. They allow us to numb ourselves physically and psychologically. But, when the drugs wear off you still have to deal with reality.

Burnout results from constant stress. It is a state of emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual exhaustion. This depletes the body on all levels of functioning. People who burnout generally strive on unrealistic goals leading to a constant state of frustration and let down. This can happen to workers and students alike.

The long-term chronic stress has the most widespread effects and can lead to diseases developing like heart disease, chronic respiratory problems like asthma, fibromyalgia, cancer, arthritis and a miriad of other illnesses. Long-term stress and coping tax the body and mind causing inability to function in the normal manner.

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The day ahead

And so another day begins… I have to make a trip to Buffalo and it has started snowing. According to weather channel Buffalo has slushy roads. Hopefully they will clear up with the slight increase in temperature. Wish me luck traveling.

I am taking my friend to a medical appointment. Hoping she will be in a good mood that will last all afternoon. I know we will go for dinner somewhere as this will be a long day. That’s her usual request. Sometimes she refills my gas tank too.

I am thinking positive in hopes of today progressing without any major problems. She gets extremely stressed out with any change from routine.

Think positive. Accept positivity. Live positive.

Todays affirmation: I will remain positive as my day goes by. I will remain calm and in control.

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My Week

My week has been full of stressors to the point of exhaustion.

As you know, my son broke his leg and dislocated his ankle. He went to the specialist and learned that things were worse than just a break and needs to have surgery to fix it all.

Situation number two – I took a friend to a medical appointment. She was in a bad mood when she got in the car and an even madder mood when she came out of her appointment. Then to top it off she’s a whiner and complainer. So I listened to her all the way home. She didn’t settle down until after she ate a really late lunch.

Situation number three – the same friend went with me to my appointment and had the same attitude. On the way home I took us for a ride before heading home and she thought we were lost. She complained about the sun being in her eyes non-stop. She had the visor down and I don’t know what else she expected me to do.

Situation number three – I own a trailer in a park and the tenants have not been paying their rent so the court is after me to pay the rent or remove the trailer and the tenants. Then I had to make the decision to officially evict the tenants. Legally.

Tomorrow- I am hoping for a low key day. Somehow I don’t think that is going to happen. Tomorrow is the court date.

Here I have identified my stressors for the week. They induce the “fight-or-flight” response. My heart is racing. I’m a bundle of nerves and haven’t slept well all week. My mind is reeling from the personalities and experiences that occurred this week. I’m exhausted and hoping for the stretch to end. These are temporary stressors but while they are in the process they are annoying, agitating, and aggression inducing.

This is what I would like to see from my readers. Next week I move to the next topic.

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STRESS FREE

PART 1 : STRESSORS

Stressors are anything that causes the “fight or flight response” and are perceived as a threat.

There are two main categories: Physiological and Psychological stressors.

  • Physiological affects the physical body and puts strain on the body. This can include chronic pain, excesses of heat or cold, injuries, to name a few.
  • Psychological may be events like weather extremes, comments, and situations that are perceived as negative. They make us feel threatened and cause the release of stress hormones. Examples include: severe storms, volatile comments, an abusive situation, trauma, etc.

When we find ourselves in a situation where we feel threatened, the stress response system starts a cycle of events within the body. The release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol occurs. These hormones are released by glands and communicate with the brain. The brain tells the various cells in the body to react. This reaction results in symptoms of stress.

Some stress, acute stress, only lasts a period time and symptoms go away once the threat is resolved. Other stress that is chronic can keep the body in a state of stress. The latter has more dramatic effects on the body. Chronic long-term stress can eventually affect the functioning of the body as a result of long-term symptoms.

It is important that you identify the stressors in your life. Take a few minutes each day to inventory the stressors you encountered during the day. Were they acute? Are they chronic? Keep a pocket journal and record these stressors so you can review at the end of the week and see the amount of stress you deal with daily.

Send me a quick message on how you did and what you learned.

If you want more in-depth information I have included a website.

Center for Studies on Human Stress

https://humanstress.ca/stress/what-is-stress/stressors/

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A Little about Me

My name is Julie Spears. Blogging is a new thing for me. In addition to keeping a journal, a blog lets me share the knowledge I already possess. I hold several degrees including an Associate in Math/Science/English, Associate in Applied Sciences Nursing, Bachelor- Journalism, Creative Writing, and Cultural Studies, AND a Master Degree in Transpersonal Psychology. As you can see I have a lot of knowledge and skills that I would like to share with you, beginning with Stress Management.

Why do this? Stress Management has played a huge role in my life and being able to accomplish various goals. Your goals do not have to be big. Something small is good to begin with as you learn what stress is and techniques to help you manage stressors. This is a good starting place to find peace, relaxation and calmness.

My goals for this site include helping others heal and providing guidance to help you do so, no problem is too big. Eventually, I would like to teach other topics as the site becomes more active. (Check out the “About” page and you’ll understand). Questions and input are welcome. Tell me what you are interested in learning.

Sundays

Sundays are a do nothing days. It’s a time to recover from the week and to let your body relax.

I have been canning and freezing this year’s harvest and lifting the canner and all the jars has been exhausting. I think we are done. We just did peaches and peach jam.

Steve is on quarantine because he tested positive for COVID-19. Really no symptoms but he can’t go anywhere for two more days. He’s napping now so it’s quiet. Even the dogs are sleeping.

Maybe I should be too.

Time limitations…

have been horrible lately. Not only am I canning but, I have seemingly become a taxi service for certain people in my life. It’s not that bad unless they become demanding.

So far I have canned several varieties of pickles, beets, tomatoes, and hot peppers. There’s more tomatoes coming ripe and green beans for dilly beans. So no break anytime soon for me.

I have one friend who thinks I am at her beacon call and should drop everything and everyone to take her wherever she wants to go. She gets angry when I can’t take her when she wants. Then she gets a snotty attitude towards me. I don’t think she realizes that if she keeps it up I may have to resign the service. I have to travel a half hour to get her, then take her wherever, before I go back home. This usually takes alot of time usually for petty things.

Then there’s those who have made a single request and once in the car have a list of things to get done. This too, sometimes takes a long time. Thankfully, I have not had too many appointments to work around lately.

Bottom line: sometimes I need a break to. Lately, I’m having alot of pain and horrible sleep. Sometimes, I don’t want to answer my phone and other times it’s on the charger or in another room. They can always leave a message. Some call repeatedly.

I think it’s time to do my thing and worry about others when I am done. I can return a call and plan accordingly. Definitely will decrease the stress on me!

Harvest Time

The garden has reached the time when everything is getting ripe. Canning season has officially begun. I have been busy with making pickles, hot peppers, and tomatoes.

Today, my plan is to make alot of golubkis (pigs in a blanket) and then freeze them for another day.

When I take my time, it’s really relaxing. It could be very stressful if I was rushed. The stressful part will be finding the equipment to get the job done. Once organized, the rest is a breeze.

Tomorrow, I will have to get tomatoes done. That’s another all day task. Part of me isn’t ready for all this work but then the mind says get it done. My body says it needs a rest.

Anyways, it could be stressful but I made a conscious choice not to.

Children

Children can be major stressors unless they are exceptional children.

Children for the most part can be unruly. Behaviors can include yelling, screaming, running, jumping on furniture and throwing balls and toys in the house. Only to mention a few behaviors. Any parent will reach wits end in no time.

Children need guidance early on or parents lose control and the children become wild and fearless. They frazzle your mind, wreak havoc with the nerves, and create total exhaustion for parents.

Teens and tweens can be the same way but in more dangerous ways. They start cooking, using knives, riding and driving with friends, and who knows what else. They have temper tantrums and screaming arguments.

As parents, we’re expected to be patient with our children (all ages). Some parents get medications to help them cope with anxiety and nerve symptoms.

Meditation, deep breathing, relaxation techniques can all do the same as drugs ( legal and illegal). The techniques need to be applied before reaching a breaking point. In a few minutes stress can be relieved and exercises can be done as often as necessary. There’s no set schedule.

Yep, children can be major stressors and when added to job or illness stressors can have a dramatic effect. They will bring you to tears and to your knees if you let them. Early intervention is vital.

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Stress Relief

I attended a workshop today called STRESS LESS HEALING. I thought it might provide some new information about relieving the effects of stress on the body.

There are 6 dimensions of well-being. These are physical, emotional, spiritually, intellectual, occupational, and social.

Stressors can be external, environmental, social, internal, energy depletion, non- homeostasis, chakra balance.

Hans Sele coined the term ” stress” in 1936 – the beginning of stress research. He defined stress as a nonspecific response by the body to any demand for change.

Any events that threatens well-being leads to a three stage response. There’s the alarm stage, resistance, and exhaustion stages.

Stress defines stimuli and response to that stimuli. When we are not in harmony we call it dis-ease.. Striving for homeostasis reduces stress and invokes calmness and increases energy, resilience, and improves mental clarity and performance.

Skills required to alleviate stress include adaptability, resilience ( ability to cope), emotional vitality ( sense of positive energy to regulate self and emotions), and stress management ( ability to deal with a change).

Then we get to find solutions. The first is to leave or walk away silently. Others in include learning to say ” no.” You can find an activity and set an intention, protect yourself.

Avoid self- criticism, worst case scenarios and black and white thinking, and self defeating thoughts.

Practice positive coping skills – like breathing, mindfulness, relaxation, time management, setting boundaries, and assertiveness training.

I will break this down more later but I wanted you to get the jist of handling stress in your life. Questions are welcome. Good night for now.

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Night Time

I really enjoy night time. Everyone else is sleeping and the house is quiet. I have time to write and think and do things I was not able to do during the day. It’s the time of day for peace and relaxation, although, I don’t get much sleep.

I worked midnight shift for many years so being awake is a natural thing for me. It’s like my internal clock runs in reverse. That’s not to say that there are some nights that I cannot keep my eyes open. My body tells me when it is time to sleep. This can happen at any time of day or night. The CFS kicks in and says “It’s time to sleep” and no amount of effort will keep me awake.

This has happened at home, while driving, and working on something. It has such strength that the next thing I know I am snapped awake. Sometimes it scares me and leaves me disoriented. It is difficult to remember what I was planning to do.

Tonight, my back is pinching. When I do sleep, it will be restless. I have medication to keep me awake during the day. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t sometimes. I do my best to keep functioning though.

Tonight I feel rather tired. The weather has been hot and humid. This adds to the CFS making it even harder to keep awake. I believe it’s time for me to rest before the CFS shuts me down for the night.

So nite for now. More another time. Sleep well all and I will write again soon.

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It’s Raining…

… it’s pouring … But I’m in my own little space. Alone and with time to do what I need to and have to do. I really don’t mind the rain except that I hurt more but I can manage most of that.

My granddaughter is sleeping (not feeling well) and hubby is gone for the day. The dogs are the only other thing moving inside the house and most of the time they just sleep.

Getting a little anxious about the coming week. My son and his family are going to be here for the holiday. My hubby is going on a trip to Maine in about a week. I’m happy to be able to see my son and family as CoVid has kept us apart for way too long. The baby just turned 2! Time is really flying by.

My hubby’s trip to Maine is with a friend. He’s never really gone anywhere without me. So he says he will be a bit lost at first— at least until he gets to clamming and other activities. I’m anxious because I will have the house all to myself for a whole week. Never had that before. Was always kids or someone around.

I practiced guitar again this morning and have enough of a callus on finger tips that it doesn’t hurt so much. Was able to practice for about an hour. I’m proud of myself for that. Guess it shows I have dedication. It also helps me to relax.

Well, Pray that there are good travel days and safe travel for them all. The rain is finally letting up. We’ve had thunderstorms all morning. Time to check the mail.

To another day….

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Keeping Busy

Keeping busy keeps my mind off my physical pain and allows me to somewhat function and get tasks done. I know I will feel fatigued by the end of the day but, I have to get copies made and copies sent out in email and snail mail.

I also managed to practice guitar twice this morning. My finger tips have finally callused and don’t get as sore as they did initially. This is a new task for me and since I have wanted to learn for a long time, I decided there was no time like the present to begin. This too keeps my mind off the physical pain in my back.

Today, I want to paint (if I can find the time). I have some new books too. I have started keeping a pain journal and am very aware of what sets off my pain and keeps it at an intense level. These tasks allow a more meditative time and no heavy lifting!

All in all, I have plenty of “hobbies” to keep me busy between tasks of daily living. Now to finish making copies and get them ready for the mail.

I’ll remember to pace myself and take it easy when I am doing things that require physical strength. I hope you are able to do the same.

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Legal Stuff

When people become unreasonable it becomes time to get an attorney involved. I, currently, have an ongoing legal issue that will go back to court on Sept. 1, 2021.

The attorneys expect the client to come up with paperwork and other documents to make the case. They are the collection point and “legal” representative. If you go without the representative, you could very well lose.

The other party, always thinks they have the upper hand. Little do they know, they don’t know me. I always have copies and the other documents needed. I have pretty good computer skills too and can figure out most things with minimal difficulty.

Anyways, I contacted my attorney for advise today and have spent my morning getting and sending papers to her. I exhausted today already and it’s only noon. Mentally exhausted.

It’s these situations that require a calm personality. Deep Breathing exercises help me to rebalance and find strength and peace while dealing with all these people. Best way to keep stress in check.

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Depression Tips

( I thought this would be helpful. Read it to the end.)

Shower. Not a bath, a shower. Use water as hot or cold as you like. You don’t even need to wash. Just get in under the water and let it run over you for a while. Sit on the floor if you need to.

Moisturize everything. Use whatever lotion you like. Unscented? Dollar store lotion? Fancy 48 hour lotion that makes you smell like a field of wildflowers? Use whatever you want, and use it all over your entire dermis.

Put on clean, comfortable clothes.
Put on your favorite underwear. Cute black lacy panties? Those ridiculous boxers you bought last christmas with candy cane hearts on the butt? Put them on.

Drink cold water. Use ice. If you want, add some mint or lemon for an extra boost. I always use lemon.

Clean something. Doesn’t have to be anything big. Organize one drawer of a desk. Wash five dirty dishes. Do a load of laundry. Scrub the bathroom sink.

Blast music. Listen to something upbeat and dancey and loud, something that’s got lots of energy. Sing to it, dance to it, even if you suck at both.

Make food. Don’t just grab a granola bar to munch. Take the time and make food. Even if it’s ramen. Add something special to it, like a soft boiled egg or some veggies. Prepare food, it tastes way better, and you’ll feel like you accomplished something.

Make something. Write a short story or a poem, draw a picture, color a picture, fold origami, crochet or knit, sculpt something out of clay, anything artistic. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Create.

Go outside. Take a walk. Sit in the grass. Look at the clouds. Smell flowers. Put your hands in the dirt and feel the soil against your skin.

Call someone. Call a loved one, a friend, a family member, call a chat service if you have no one else to call. Talk to a stranger on the street. Have a conversation and listen to someone’s voice. If you can’t bring yourself to call, text or email or whatever, just have some social interaction with another person. Even if you don’t say much, listen to them. It helps.

Cuddle your pets if you have them/can cuddle them. Take pictures of them. Talk to them. Tell them how you feel, about your favorite movie, a new game coming out, anything.

May seem small or silly to some, but this list keeps people alive.

*** At your absolute best you won’t be good enough for the wrong people. But at your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right ones. Remember that. Keep holding on.

*** In case nobody has told you today you are loved and you are worth your weight (and then some) in gold…so be kind to yourself and most of all keep pushing on!!!

Find something to be grateful for!

May I please get two friends or family members to copy and re-post? I am trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening.

SuicideAwareness

1-800-273-8255
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