Episode 159: What is the first step in handling stress?

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In this guide, I share personal insights and practical strategies for effectively managing stress. From incorporating physical movement and spiritual practices to prioritizing quality sleep and seeking support from our community, each component plays a crucial role in maintaining well-being. By embracing these practices and reflecting on key questions, we can navigate stressful situations with resilience and grace.

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Episode 159: What is the first step in handling stress?

How to Cope with High Levels of Stress

I've had quite an eventful last two weeks, primarily filled with stress.

Today, I want to discuss coping with high levels of stress. Stress can arise from various sources, whether it's self-induced due to ambitious projects or unexpected crises that suddenly emerge in our lives.

Recently, I experienced such a crisis when a family member ended up in the ICU for nearly a week and a half.

While thankfully, they are now on the path to recovery, navigating such stressful situations alongside everyday responsibilities can be overwhelming.

Recognizing the Impact of Stress on the Body

When stress hits, it can be incredibly challenging to cope, especially when it compounds with our daily tasks.

Our bodies often respond to stress through the fight, flight, or freeze response, further complicating our ability to manage it effectively.

Understanding how stress affects us physically and emotionally is crucial.

It allows us to recognize the signals our bodies are sending and respond appropriately.

Amy's Insight: During the peak of my family member's health crisis, I found myself constantly on edge, unable to relax or focus on anything else.
My body was in a constant state of tension, and I realized that I needed to find ways to alleviate that stress in order to support both my physical and mental well-being.

Importance of Physical Movement in Stress Management

One effective way to cope with stress is through physical movement.

Whether it's engaging in exercise, stretching, or simply doing household chores, moving our bodies helps release pent-up energy and clears our minds.

Personally, I find going for a walk to be incredibly beneficial. Not only does it energize me physically, but it also provides clarity of mind and nurtures my soul.

Amy's Story: I make it a point to incorporate movement into my daily routine during particularly stressful periods.
Whether I'm going for a jog in the park or practicing yoga in my living room, physical activity helps me release tension and regain a sense of control amidst the chaos.

Incorporating Spiritual Practices for Stress Relief

Nurturing our spiritual well-being is another essential aspect of stress management.

Practices such as journaling, meditation, or engaging in spiritual movements like dance or yoga can help us process emotions and find inner peace.

Even simple acts like playing an instrument or singing can serve as powerful spiritual practices.

Starting with just a few minutes of meditation each day can make a significant difference in managing stress.

Amy's Advice: During times of intense stress, I lean heavily on my spiritual practices to provide comfort and guidance.
Whether I spend quiet moments in meditation or express myself through music, these practices help me reconnect with myself and find solace amidst the chaos.

Mindful Eating Habits During Times of Stress

Our eating habits play a significant role in how we manage stress.

Being mindful of our eating patterns is essential whether we tend to overeat or undereat when stressed.

Ensuring a balanced diet and staying hydrated are crucial for maintaining both physical and emotional well-being.

Amy's Experience: When I'm under stress, I often find myself reaching for comfort foods or skipping meals altogether.

However, I've learned that nourishing my body with healthy, balanced meals is essential for managing stress effectively.

By paying attention to my eating habits and fueling my body with nutritious foods, I'm better equipped to cope with whatever challenges come my way.

Prioritizing Quality Sleep for Stress Reduction

Quality sleep is fundamental for stress management.

Establishing a bedtime routine, avoiding screens before bed, and creating a sleep-conducive environment is vital for getting restorative sleep.

Disrupted sleep patterns can exacerbate stress levels, making it essential to prioritize sleep hygiene.

Amy's Tip: During stressful times, getting enough sleep can be challenging.

However, I've found that prioritizing sleep is non-negotiable when it comes to managing stress effectively.

By creating a calming bedtime routine and ensuring a comfortable sleep environment, I set myself up for a restful night's sleep, allowing me to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.

Strategies for Calming the Mind Before Bedtime

Calming the mind before bedtime is essential for a restful sleep.

Practices such as deep breathing, listening to relaxation music, or repeating calming mantras can help quiet the mind and prepare the body for sleep.

Creating a tranquil environment signals to our bodies that it's time to unwind and relax.

Amy's Routine: As part of my bedtime routine, I like to spend a few minutes practicing deep breathing exercises and repeating calming affirmations.

By focusing on my breath and soothing my mind with positive thoughts, I create a sense of peace and relaxation that helps me drift off to sleep more easily.

Seeking Support and Community

During times of stress, reaching out to our support systems is crucial.

Whether it's friends, family, or professional support, having someone to listen and offer encouragement can make a world of difference.

We don't have to navigate stress alone; leaning on our community can provide valuable support.

Amy's Reflection: I've learned the importance of seeking support from others during challenging times.

Whether it's talking to a trusted friend or seeking guidance from a therapist, having someone to listen and offer perspective can provide much-needed comfort and reassurance.

Remember, you don't have to bear the weight of your stress alone.

Taking Steps Towards Stress Management

In conclusion, coping with high levels of stress requires a holistic approach that addresses the needs of our mind, body, and spirit.

By incorporating physical movement, nurturing our spiritual well-being, practicing mindful eating habits, prioritizing quality sleep, calming the mind before bedtime, seeking support from others, and making necessary adjustments in our lives, we can effectively manage stress and thrive in the face of adversity.

Questions to Ask Yourself for Stress Management:

  1. How am I processing the stress I am experiencing?
  2. Am I moving my body enough to release pent-up energy?
  3. Do I have my spiritual practices in place, and am I practicing them consistently?
  4. Am I mindful of my eating habits and getting a balanced diet?
  5. How much am I sleeping, and is my sleep hygiene in check?
  6. Am I allowing myself time off to rest and recharge when needed?
  7. Am I checking in with my physical body and honoring its needs?
  8. Do I have a support system in place, and am I reaching out for help when necessary?
  9. Do I need to make adjustments in my life to reduce stress and prioritize self-care?

Remember

You are capable of navigating life's storms with resilience and grace.

Take care of yourself, prioritize self-care, and reach out for support when needed. Together, we can overcome even the most challenging times.

Love and light,
Amy Robeson

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Full transcription of the episode:

Hey, Amy Robeson here. Thank you for joining me on this podcast, where we talk about spirituality, the awakening process, mental health, and so much more. Join me weekly to get your weekly dose of spirituality and medicine. I look forward to seeing you on the inside. Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's episode. I'm so excited you are here. I've had a really interesting last two weeks. When I mean interesting, I mean stressed out the last two weeks. So today, I'll do an episode on coping with high levels of stress. Sometimes, we create stress that's self-induced. You may want to start a business, and that is stressful, or you have a bunch of projects going on with your family, you're remodeling, or you want to organize your house. That can cause stress. But sometimes we have stress that just pops up out of the blue where you have to take care of those stressful things, plus your everyday normal things that are happening in your life. And for me, this just recently happened. I had a family emergency. I had a family member who ended up in the ICU for over close to a week and a half.

And thank goodness, this family member is on the mend and made it out of ICU and is back home, which I'm super grateful for. But When you have things like that pop-up, our body can go into fight or flight or freeze. And when it does, it's hard. It's super hard to cope with what is going on. And then you compound that with everyday things as well, and that can become really, really stressful. So, how do you cope with high levels of Stress? To answer this question, I always want you to keep in mind that you are your sum parts, meaning there are parts of you that have to be taken care of, and those parts are your mind, body, and soul. So everything I talk about in this episode today is going to play back into this feeding the mind, body, and soul. Hey, friend. I want to invite you to a very cool, epic event that you are not going to want to miss. It is our free DNA Ancient Wisdom Masterclass series that is happening May 21st, 22nd, and 23rd of 2024. We are going to be doing three very, very, very powerful healings that are going to prepare your DNA to be activated.

We're also going to be talking about why it's important to activate your DNA, what that looks like throughout your lifetime, and how your DNA holds gifts from your ancestors, from your soul that wants to be awakened and want to be utilized in this lifetime. And also, So much more. Join me in this free series by going to theamyrobeson.com/free. You will also find that link in the show notes or the description, depending on where you are watching or listening to this. I hope to see you there. And don't worry, if you can't join us live, you can catch the replay. All right, let's hop back into the episode. One way to take care of yourself when you are dealing with high levels of stress is to be mindful about how you are processing that stress. If you are not processing it in a way that allows you to get energy out, stuck energy, specifically your emotions, because if you're not processing the emotions that are going on, what ends up happening gets stuck in the body. Or if you have a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, a lot of worries, and you've acknowledged it, but you still feel that pumped-up energy, it's because you're not moving your body enough.

And so, one of the really great ways to manage stress is to make sure I'm moving. Moving can be in any way, shape, or form. It can be in the form of exercise. It can be in the form of a stretch. It can be a form of doing some housework. You're moving your body when you're cleaning your house. And so you want to be moving. And so, for me, I love going for a walk. That's going to be a great way to clear my mind. It's also going to feed my physical body energetically, where I can get some of that energy, that pent-out energy. It's going to feed my soul because when my mind's clear, my body is clear, and my soul can communicate with me in a different way. Another way that I love to cope with stress is by making sure that I have my spiritual practices in place and still practice those. They might look different. They are the same, depending on what you're dealing with. But you don't want to allow these to fall to the waist side because they're going to support you. So what can you do?

You can uncensored journal your thoughts, your emotions, and your feelings so that you can get those out on paper and not hold on to them in the body. You can meditate. You can do some spiritual movement practice like dance or yoga, where you're moving your body to move the energy out as well. You can chant, you can sing, you can play the piano. Let's say you play an instrument or any spiritual practice. Anything can be a spiritual practice if you allow it to be. And so whatever your spiritual practices are, you want to lean into those. If you don't have a solid foundation for spiritual practices, start with five minutes of meditation a day. You can listen to some meditations. We have 20-plus free healing meditations that are available to you. You can go to theamyrobeson.com/free, or you can go into the description or the show notes to click on that link to sign up for our free 20-plus Meditations healings that you can utilize as a meditation practice. Another thing that I'm super mindful of when I am super stressed out is food. Everyone copes with stress differently in terms of how they eat when they're under stress.

I tend not to want to eat. Well, some other people tend to want to eat because it's a way of dealing with the stress. So, if you are an emotional eater or a non-emotional eater, you want to be mindful of these habits. Then, you want to take inventory of your eating. So it doesn't matter if you're an emotional eater or a non-emotional eater; you want to make sure you're getting a balanced diet. And so, for me, this is going to look like having a very set schedule for eating or being mindful of having things that are very easily accessible for me to eat. Also want to be mindful of portions. And again, this goes either direction. If you stress eat or not stress eat, you want to be mindful of the following: Am I getting enough food? And what is the appropriate portion for my body? As for me, I will make sure that I am forcing myself to stay on some eating schedule to make sure I'm getting enough fuel for my body. If you are an emotional eater, you should stay on schedule or stick with portion controls, and you can set out or schedule what that portion looks like as well.

I am not a dietitian. I am not a doctor. And so if you are struggling with eating whatsoever, if you're struggling with diet whatsoever, reach out and talk to a doctor. Reach out and talk to someone who can support you with this because eating is a really important part of overcoming and handling stress as well. And so we want to have balanced eating practices. The other thing that I like to be mindful of is how much I am sleeping. Now, this is an interesting part of what put my body over the edge of stress. I'm a very good sleeper. Sleep hygiene and having a good night's sleep allows us to function better, process stress better, be in our bodies, and take care of the mind, body, and soul. And if we're not getting enough sleep, our whole system is off. And because I was so stressed out from the week before, my daughter didn't sleep well the following week. She woke up at 1:00 AM, which then woke me up, and then I couldn't fall back to sleep.

And the next day, I had an interview, a super late-night interview. And so I was worried about making sure I got up on time. And then I came to find out that I accidentally mixed up the day. And so it wasn't until the following day that I couldn't fall back to sleep. And so, the following day, I had to wake up at 1:00 AM. So he is waking up at 1:00 AM. And oh my Lord, let me tell you, my entire body was inflamed by the time Thursday night came. It was in spasm mode. I have autoimmune things that come up, and I haven't had a flare-up in so long. I forgot how miserable they are. And it was because I didn't get enough sleep. So sleep hygiene is really important. So I'm telling you this, and I'm also painting a picture of what really happened for me and what compounded two weeks of stress. And am I out of the stress? No, but I'm in a much better place with it. But I also made sure that on Thursday night, I went to bed at 8:00 PM. On Friday, I did the same thing, and on Saturday, I stayed up till 9:30.

So what I did was I made sure that I was getting enough sleep once I put my body in a state that was like, Oh, you better stop. You better slow down. And it wasn't that I purposely went out and did that, but it was just a compound of everything that I had to take into consideration from the week before and everything else. And so, with that being said, what is good sleep hygiene? Going to bed at a particular hour and having things that allow you to get a restful sleep, so turn off your screens at least an hour before you go to bed. Also, not looking at your screens before you go to bed can help you sleep. I personally love wearing an eye mask. It usually falls off in the middle of the night. But this is like a cue for my brain that says, It's time to go to bed. And I usually fall asleep within minutes of putting that on. I will also make sure that I'm hydrated and that I've eaten enough during the day because if you're not eating enough, you can wake up in the middle of the night because you're hungry.

And if you're dehydrated, you're also not going to get a good night's sleep as well. Having those things put in place is going to be really important. Another good form of sleep hygiene is having some spiritual practices before you go to bed. I personally love meditating as I'm falling asleep. It's very, very helpful. I will also listen to different types of relaxation music that can be very helpful in falling asleep as well. The other thing that I'm very mindful of is not working out an hour or two before I go to bed because if I work out an hour or two before I go to bed, I am going to be awake because exercising makes me awake. And so you can stretch your body. You can do some little movements that support you in going to sleep. Another thing that I find really helpful is doing some decompression. And I have this little bolster where I rest on my hips, and I'll put my head into a headrest and some shoulder blocks underneath my shoulders. And this particular decompression allows my whole body to get renal alignment. And I'll do that an hour or 30 minutes before I go to bed.

And it's really, really helpful. So, depending on what you have going on in your body, you'll want to do something that assists you in decompressing, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. These types of exercises or mindfulness practices before you go to bed will help you get a better night's sleep. Also, try avoiding overanalyzing or thinking about the entire day before you go to bed. I know this can be challenging and so difficult for some people, but if your mind is just racing and thinking about things, you are not going to get a good night's sleep. But how do you stop your mind from racing? I like going to a mantra or affirmation that allows me to get back into my body, back into my soul, and get back into a state of peace. The mantra, the affirmation, could be, My mind is calm. My body is calm. I'm slowly drifting off to sleep. My mind is calm. My body is calm. I'm slowly drifting off to sleep. I'm slowly drifting off to sleep. I'm slowly drifting off to sleep. You can say something that soothes the nervous system. Doing some deep breathing exercises before you go to bed or throughout the day is also going to be a great way to cope with stress.

When you are doing deep breathing exercises, you are regulating the nervous system. You're telling the nervous system, Hey, I'm going to give you some fresh oxygenated blood, and this fresh oxygen is going to allow everything to re-acclimate to a state of peace. You can also use a mantra and an affirmation while you're breathing to remind yourself you're safe and calm. Whatever brings you peace is a great thing to state. Also, it could be something where it's like, I'm letting go of control. I'm surrendering to this situation. Sometimes, you might be in a situation where you have no control over it. Life is going to happen, and it's a scary thing because most of us want to control everything that's happening. Unfortunately, it's in creation, creators, and God's hands, and we can't control everything and every outcome. Wish we could, but we can't. We can't because sometimes there are other people who are involved in it, and it's up to their free will. It's up to their soul on what they want to happen. It's okay if things are not going the way that you want them to go. You have to remind yourself you are safe and that everything's going to work out because it usually does.

Even if a loved one is transitioning, it's hard to say this because I know it's not what some people want to hear sometimes. But when someone transitions, it's because their soul is ready to move into the next phase, into the next experience. And it's hard to rationalize and understand that from our human perspective sometimes, but that's what the soul wants. Even if it's a tragic loss, the soul is okay to transition because our souls are eternal. Our soul never dies. And we will see that loved one again. And as hard as it is to say goodbye, and as hard as it is to make peace with it, your loved one would want you to make peace with that. Your loved one will want you to find peace and will want you to be okay with moving on in a way that honors them, honors you, and allows you to be in a state of peace. It's crucial. Peace is so crucial when it comes to coping with stress. And the more you give yourself permission to lean into that peace, the more you're going to find that you can handle stress in a different way.

Another thing that I personally love to do when I am stressed and how to cope with stress is to talk. We need to share and lean into support systems because we're not meant to be alone, and we're not meant to navigate life alone. And community is very, very important. When we have a community, we give them permission to hold us, support us, and hear us. They don't have to have the answers. Sometimes, it's just having someone to listen so that you don't feel alone, you don't feel scared, and you can process your emotions. The other day, I was so stressed because, again, it's a compound of many things. Things are just compounding. I'm starting to feel better, but I'm not 100%, and it's okay. I can admit that I'm not 100%. That's really important. It's really healthy. I went to the grocery store, and I came back, and I told my husband I just had a very stressful moment. The first thing he said to me was, Do you need a hug? Yeah, I do. I absolutely do. And if I didn't share that with him, he wouldn't know what state I was currently in so that he could offer support.

That is so important, and that's just being honest with yourself and your loved ones around you on what state you are in. Because when you're honest, they can support you in a different way. When you're honest, you actually can acknowledge, like, Hey, this is where I'm at. What can I do to make myself feel better? And that is community. That could be going for a walk. It could be going to get some hydration, eating some food, or taking a nap. I know for me because I didn't get enough sleep, and I'm not a napper, and I was like, I definitely require a nap. Another thing that I love to do when it comes to coping with stress is to check in with my physical body and how I'm feeling. How am I really feeling? And because Wednesday, I didn't get it, and I'm asleep. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Wednesday, by 3:00 PM, I was like, my physical body is so inflamed. It's aching. I want to nap, And my physical body wants a bath. And so, at 3:00 PM, I went and took a bath because my physical body was absolutely inflamed.

It felt so, so awful. And so I was like, I'm going to go take a bath. And I felt so much better after sitting in that tub. And I had to give myself permission to say no to other things. Yes, I have a ton of work projects. Yes, I have things I have to get done. However, taking care of my physical body at that particular moment was more important than anything else because if I didn't take care of my physical body, what's going to end up happening is I'm going to get super sick, and I'm not going to be able to work for a day, three days, a week, or however long my physical body is is going to need to repair. Taking time off is also really important. That time off might be taking a two or three-hour break, or it might be just taking a mental health day off from work. I remember I went through a really bad breakup a long, long, long time ago. And because I was going through this breakup, I could not go to work. I felt so awful, so bad. However, it was the first time I had to take a day off in my adult life.

And in my previous career, you didn't have days off. You didn't have a single day off, and it was frowned upon if you called in to work. You would get chastised for taking time off of work because you don't take time off of work. It's just how that industry is. And so I've never taken a personal mental day off because I felt awful. And I remember taking that day off, and it was the best thing I ever could have done in that situation because it gave me time to think. It gave me time to clear. It gave me time just to be. And it gave me time to process my emotions in a way that was much more healthy than avoiding them and just sucking them up and going to work. Sometimes we do have to suck it up, and we do have to go to work. However, it's not always the best case. You can have that sliding scale where you're trying to find balance, where it's like, where is balance, and what is appropriate to do at this moment in time? Unless you're a heart surgeon, no one's going to die if you take time off.

And there are other professions where there are emergencies, and I totally get that. You do want to be mindful of taking care of yourself. And you want to be mindful of what is going to be the best thing for you so you don't burn out, you don't have a mental breakdown, because that doesn't serve you, and that doesn't serve anybody else either. Dealing with stress in a healthy way and being mindful of how stressed out you are, what the stressors in your life are, and how you can reduce that stress is going to be crucial. So that leads me to my last suggestion, and that is to look at everything that's going on in your life, acknowledge where you're at, and make peace with where you're at, because sometimes it's just a chapter, or it's just a week or it's two weeks or whatever it is. It's just a moment in time, and you will get through this. You can look at everything that's going on. You can make peace with it. You can put into action the things that are going to help you cope with stress. Then you can also ask yourself, does this help me get out of stress, or does this cause more stress?

And is it absolutely necessary for me to do so at this moment? Because when you ask yourself that, you're going to get the honest truth. If you give yourself permission to have the honest truth, then you can start reorganizing. If it makes sense to do so. And so, for me, it was like I took some time off. I readjusted my schedule. I said no to things that were put on deadlines, but they didn't make sense for me to do at that moment in time because I didn't feel good. And it would take me 10 times longer if I tried to do it as opposed to just taking a break and waiting for a day when I was fresh to do those very things. And so life is going to be stressful. It's how you choose to react and navigate the stress, which is how you're going to end up moving through it in the end. So, take time to manage your stress. You are capable of processing this stress with the community as well. So, all right, my friends, please make sure you like and subscribe and share this with a friend who is going through some hard stuff right now that needs a little extra love and a little extra support. And I'll see you on the inside again very soon. Bye.

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