With spring upon us and summer approaching, changes to routines and schedules can be expected. While change can be a wonderful and exciting thing, this can also be a trigger for stress and anxiety in some individuals.
Before surgery, many may have gone to foods for comfort or as a way to cope with day to day stressors. If you’re reading this article, whether you have had surgery or not, it is important to begin to find new ways to help you through challenging times.
One thing to consider is that if you don’t have a plan, it's easy to go back to what you used to cope with stress in the past.
Reducing Summertime Stress
If you’ve never been an overly organized person, how is the time to try something new! Having consistency, even when schedules become a little less predictable is very important for emotional and mental health. Especially when anxiety is a factor.
Calendars and Planners
Try to utilize calendars or planners, either with notebooks or wall calendars or through phone apps, to help you keep track of the day to day activities. While making plans, have black out days or times during the day for meals. This will help you say “no” to certain activities and “yes” to others. It can also help you select between different activities that may be available to you.
Maintain a consistent schedule when children are out of school. Even though your children may be home from school, maintaining a consistent schedule at home helps keep things predictable at home. Which does help reduce stress and anxiety. You can definitely be more flexible, but having a consistent wake-up and bedtime routine is a great start. Just because they don’t have to go to school doesn’t mean an 11:00 am wake-up time is okay. That can lead to very late nights and then a challenging and stressful day to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.
Managing Health Eating
Practicing mindfulness is also really important when schedules and activities are a bit more unpredictable during the week.
For example, traveling or going on more vacations and family outings will lead to eating out more frequently. Before going on trips, think about meal times and what restaurants will be available to you.
This way, you can choose where you will be eating and have the opportunity to go somewhere that has a variety of healthy options for the whole family.
Practice Mindfulness Around Snacking
For others, having children home means more snacking during the day or picking at those snacks while they’re being made. Before making any snacks, check in with yourself and evaluate how hungry you are. You may actually just be thirsty!
What Do I Do When Stress Hits?
Having alternative ways of coping with stress is an important tool to help avoid the infamous stress eating. If you don’t have a plan in place, it’s SO easy to fall back into old habits. Try a few of these suggestions!
- Listening to calming music
- Download a meditation app to help create calmness,
- Practice self care with exercise, taking a long shower, painting your nails, or any other activity that brings you joy
- Use adult coloring books
- Try some arts and crafts
- Learn a new skill like knitting
- Pick up gardening
- Go on a short walk around the block to get a little fresh air
- Take 5 minutes to have a little quiet time
Stress and anxiety, especially associated with changes in schedules while trying to focus on your health, is a challenge for many. All anyone can do is their best, so try to be extra kind to yourself this year!