Tips for self care and building resilience during times of stress

Tips for self care and building resilience during times of stress

During times of stress it is crucial to be aware of the importance of self-regulation and conscious management of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

This is a particularly challenging time for everyone given the current global health crisis impacting us all. For the clients of Lapointe Family Law there is the added stress and pressure of separation or divorce. Learning to navigate the complex issues inherent within the process of leaving a marriage can be highly stressful, therefore acquiring tools to help you to manage mental and emotional stress is essential so that you are better able to cope with the grief, anger, trauma, and fear that are all natural emotions at such a difficult time in life.

If not dealt with and managed appropriately, stress can potentially lead to various health issues. When children are involved, managing personal stress is of utmost importance so that you are better able to be more present and available to support and comfort them, as well as being able to make clearer decisions and be a more effective, rational, and calm parent.

The bottom line is that stress underlies almost every illness we develop. Long-term activation of the stress response system and chronic overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones such as adrenaline can disrupt the body’s processes and cause systemic inflammation.

Some other common health implications of chronic stress are:

*sleep problems

*memory and concentration impairment

*anxiety

*depression

*digestive problems

*headaches

Some simple yet highly effective strategies to self-regulate and manage stress and increase resilience are:

  1. Breathe deeply and often! Bringing attention to the breath helps to activate a relaxation response by positively affecting the nervous system. Regularly exhaling slowly and letting all the breath out (perhaps counting to five as you do so) will assist you to be present in the moment and to stay calm.
  2. Be mindful and vigilant with your thoughts and intentionally re-direct any stressful, unhelpful thoughts that are creating distress. What we think about we energise. Re-focus on anything or anyone that brings some joy and light to your heart. This takes some practice and can be quite tricky when your mind wants to keep ‘catastrophising’ and rehashing problems, however disrupting the loop of negative thoughts and replacing those thoughts with heart-centred thoughts and feelings is an extremely effective neuroscience technique when practiced regularly.
  3. Get out into nature regularly and literally pause, breathe and smell the roses! Sunshine on your face and a walk on the beach or even sitting under a tree in a park during your lunch break can make an enormous difference to how you feel. Why not treat yourself to a relaxing massage? Brisk walking can clear the head and other forms of healthy, enjoyable exercise including yoga, pilates, surfing, cycling, boxing or time at the gym will increase resilience and decrease stress.
  4. Be kind to yourself and try to stay out of the ‘blame game’. Separation is already tough so it is important to monitor your self-talk and try to think of anything (or anyone) that you are grateful for in your life. Gratitude also has a profound impact on our physiology and how we feel.
  5. Try to get as much quality sleep as possible. Scientific research and countless studies reveal that meditation has a profoundly positive, calming effect on the brain and every system within the body. There are many excellent meditation apps that focus directly on sleep, others help with anxiety, some offer white noise…the variety and range of options available is extensive. Many apps are free.

Supplemental magnesium is also very helpful and is essential to optimal brain function.  

  • It can be immensely helpful to talk with a trusted friend or a trained professional. At Lapointe Family Law we offer subsidised sessions with your choice of any of our highly skilled wellness professionals who provide much needed additional support and expert holistic care.