009: How to Practice Self-Care for Stress Management

When we don’t take intentional care of our body, mind, and spirit, it can become very challenging to handle what life throws at us. Our cup empties. Our fuse gets short. We have little energy and motivation. Issues feel bigger than they really are. We are overwhelmed, and the everyday stress we deal with seems almost impossible to get a handle on. But, fear not, as Biggi shares her favorite stress management techniques in this episode!

Resources mentioned:

Look for the lighter side – Watch this 1 minute video that will make you laugh out loud: https://youtu.be/FOVr9083QxM

Learn Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 Breathing Technique in just 3 minutes: https://youtu.be/gz4G31LGyog

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique – 6 minute guided practice, relax now: https://youtu.be/1nZEdqcGVzo

Free PDF Download – Happiness Affirmation & Reflection:

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Much love,

Biggi Fraley
The Arthritis Coach


[0:07] When we don’t take intentional care of our body, mind, and spirit, it can become very challenging to handle what life throws at us.

Our cup empties. Our fuse gets short. We have little energy and motivation.

[0:25] Issues feel bigger than they really are. We are overwhelmed and the everyday stress we deal with seems almost impossible to get a handle on.
I get it. I’ve been there.

[0:40] Music.

[0:49] Hi my name is Biggi Fraley I am The Arthritis Coach. Welcome to the show today.
I’ll be sharing my best tips for managing and reducing stress in your life so that you can end overwhelmed,
feel more in control, and give your body a chance to heal by reducing inflammation, and with that
your arthritis. So, tell me can you relate to this scenario?
You wake up and you realize you’ve overslept… again… You forgot to pick up dry cleaning, so you don’t have anything ready to wear.
Scrambling to get lunches packed and the kids on the bus. Where everyone’s shoes?
Sitting in traffic, late to work again. It’s not even 9 a.m., you still have the whole day ahead of you, and you’re already stressed out. Sound familiar?

[1:50] Stress affects every part of your health, physical and mental.
Excess stress can lead to poor sleep and insomnia, lowered immune health ,and frequent illnesses, poor digestive health,
anxiety and depression,
higher risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and obesity, as well as damaged relationships, poor work performance, and decrease in mental clarity.

[2:23] Stress can also lead to chronic inflammation and illness, so it’s vital to your health to learn how to manage stress in your life.
But first, let’s discuss what causes stress. You see, the causes of stress are different for everyone.
What initiates a stress response for you may not in someone else, while something you take in stride may completely overwhelming another.
Also, your physical and mental response to stress is completely individualized. While stress can lead to insomnia for some,
others find stress exhausting, and so forth.
Stress can come from many sources, illness, finances, relationships, simply having too much to do and even excess toxicity can cause or make stress worse.
Our society is so pressured and fast-paced,
that more of us are suffering from stress than ever before. And this stress is leading to more chronic health issues including chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety,
and autoimmune disease. So, how can we manage and reduce stress?

[3:48] Reducing your stress level is often easier said than done.
Often the causes of stress, such as a high-pressure job or busy schedule can be avoided. However,
a lack of self-love and self-care often leads to everyday pressures causing more severe stress reactions. By not taking the time to reconnect with your needs
or care for yourself both physically and mentally, you’re not able to operate as effectively.
When you take the time to be mindful of your needs and to lovingly take care of yourself,
you’re much better able to manage the stressors in your life.

[4:37] So here are some of my favorite stress management and self-care tools.

[4:43] Eat a well-balanced diet. How you nourish your body directly impacts how you can manage stress.
By eating nutrient-dense foods that balance your blood sugar,
fill you with energy, and boost your immune health, you will have higher levels of physical and mental energy to tackle the tasks.
Caffeine, sugar, and processed foods make you feel fatigued,
they lower your immune health, harm your adrenal function, which directly affects your stress response, and cause inflammation in the body, so it’s important to limit or avoid these foods.
Next, deep breathing exercises.
Practicing deep breathing exercises is an effective way to calm your central nervous system and can bring focus and bclarity to your mind.
I personally enjoy Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4 7-8 breathing technique, because not only is it simple,
it just works.
Dr. Weil explains how to do it in just three minutes in the video that I have linked to in the show notes for you. So, make sure to check it out!

[6:06] Next technique is called progressive muscle relaxation.

[6:13] It eases both, physical and mental tension. While it’s best done lying down, you can really do this anywhere.
Beginning at your feet contract each muscle group for 2 to 4 seconds and then relax again.

[6:32] Move on to the next muscle group.
And you just do this process all the way up your body until you have contracted, held, and released each muscle group.
Then, simply finish with a couple of long deep breath.
This is a great way to relax your mind and body to promote restful sleep.

[6:57] I’ve also shared a 6-minute video in the show notes, that will guide you through a progressive muscle relaxation practice.
It is a very beautiful and relaxing video and it will teach you this technique. Keep a gratitude journal.
This is something you can do at the beginning or end of each day to help foster positivity and ease negative emotions.
Simply take a few moments to write down three things that you are grateful for. And, don’t feel like you have to write anything deep. It just has to be authentic.
Consistently expressing gratitude for what you have at the moment has been shown to be a very powerful mindset tool, which can lead to decreasing stress over the long term.

[7:51] Now, to help you get started right away, I’ve created a happiness affirmation and reflection PDF, which you can download for free through the link provided in the show notes.
No opt-in is required, and I hope you enjoy it! Next tip, take a break from media.
Watching the news, reality shows, or even intense television dramas can increase stress levels, and so can social media.
Because we’re so constantly tuned in, media can become overwhelming.
So, unplug for a week and enjoy reading a book or magazine, spend some time outside, or try crafting or creative activities.

[8:44] You may be surprised by how good you feel and how much more productive you are.
This always reminds me of my childhood, actually, when as
punishment my parents sent me to the room and told me – to my room – and told me I wasn’t allowed to watch television for the next three days.
Psst, don’t tell my parents,
but those were the best times ever, oh my God, I finally had time to read all the books I wanted, to do my puzzles, play my games. I would have never voluntarily given up TV,
though I’m asking you today to do it, if you are an adult,
but, you know, it it worked as a form of punishment. But, don’t see it that way! I just,
you know, I know what it, what it’s like to just give yourself a break from the media. It’s, it’s, it’s really a joyful event. So, please do try it out. My next tip is to get connected.

[9:47] Reach out to friends and family for support. And, this is especially important if you are suffering from chronic health conditions, when it’s very common to feel isolated or alone.
Again, here I really know what I’m talking about, you know. If you are struggling with finding the support you need to make changes in your health,
look for either local community or an online community for support.
And, honestly, if you feel like getting in touch with me, you just want to reach out to somebody, feel free to do so. You can always reach me at biggi@thearthritiscoach.com.
Next look for the lighter side.
Now, laughter is an amazing cure for stress. When you laugh your body reduces cortisol, the stress hormone,
which then eases the feeling of stress, and your immune system gets a boost. Laughter releases endorphins and increases oxygen to the organs.
Isn’t that amazing?

[11:03] So, hang out with your friends, see a funny movie, or watch YouTube videos of your favorite comedian, or head to the library for a book that will make you laugh out loud.
Just ask your local librarian for a recommendation. And, speaking of funny videos, though, it actually took me awhile to find one, but I swear, if you check out this just one minute video in the show notes today,
it will make you laugh out loud. But, don’t leave just yet! I have a few more great tips to share with you.

[11:38] Connect with nature. I mean, this is becoming a
more and more vital recommendation, the more we get disconnected from nature, in our big cities that we live in. It’s really tragic, I think.
Getting outside will not only boost the production of vitamin D, right, the sunshine vitamin,
it will also be very calming to your nervous system.
While in nature try earthing, also called grounding, which is simply walking barefoot in the grass to connect your bare skin to the earth.
According to the Earthing Institute,
“Connection with the earth restores a lost electrical signal to the body that seems to stabilize the complicated circuitry of our essentially electrical body.
Our built-in, self regulating and self-healing mechanisms become more effective. There are head-to-toe improvements.
Better blood flow. Less pain and inflammation. More energy. Deeper sleep.”

[12:56] Get in touch with your creativity. Set aside time each week where you can be completely immersed in an activity, without worrying about time or interruption,
and let your creative side free.
Whether it’s dancing, drawing, coloring, crafting, cooking, woodwork, music, just find your creative flow that brings you joy and helps you relax.

[13:26] Help others.
Random acts of kindness, from volunteering with a charity or organization to picking up the person’s coffee behind you at the Starbucks drive-thru,
release good feelings and bring joy to others, And, speaking of kindness,
be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself like you talk to your best friend with kindness and love.
So, you burned dinner, or you were late to pick up your child from the dance class, these things happen.
Give yourself grace and know you don’t have to be perfect.

[14:08] Today I shared with you some simple strategies, tips, and tools to reduce and manage stress in your daily life.
As always, I encourage you to choose one or two items that resonated with you and give them a try today.
Later try others. See what works for you and your routine, and do what feels good.
You are worth this time and devotion! When you take intentional and loving care of yourself, you will be better able to serve and support others.
So dive in, and be sure to reach out to me if you need additional support.
I’m here to help you live a life that is filled with vitality and joy, and learning to care for yourself and manage stress is an essential step.

[15:02] And, as always, if you enjoyed the show,
please, do share it on your favorite social media outlets. I appreciate it, and I hope you’ll tune in next week for the latest episode of The Arthritis Coach podcast,
available every Wednesday morning at 4 a.m. Pacific on your favorite podcast channel.
Thank you so much for tuning in, and I will talk with you next week. Bye, bye.[/spp-transcript]


About the Author

Leveraging her 40+ years in health & fitness as well as the latest biohacking and longevity breakthroughs, Peak Performance Coach, Biggi Fraley, helps you remain healthy, fit, and active so that you can age gracefully, stay independent, and embark on exciting new chapters in life.