10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

Are you struggling to manage your stress levels? There are ways to help you manage it properly. Here are 10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress.

10 healthy ways to cope with stress

Pressure has a way of finding us. It doesn’t matter if you are working or not – in fact, being out of work can actually be quite stressful. Throughout life, we will be forced to endure stressful times and situations. But there is a way to way to manage it on your own. Here are 10 healthy ways to help cope with stress.

Set Boundaries

In my twenties, I was working 60-hour work weeks at an already stressful job. It really began to take a toll on me. I ended up having a nervous breakdown and when I discussed it with my therapist he asked me who was to blame. “Well, my company of course. They force me to work all these hours.” But as he pointed out the fault was mine for not having set boundaries. In a sense, I never said “no.” I just kept taking whatever crap they threw at me. We decide when enough is enough.

Boundaries clearly set how much of something (or someone) you will tolerate. Boundaries are essential to staying healthy. They keep you honest about your limits and they stop toxic people from having intimate access to your life and your emotions.

It’s a shame, but sometimes you need to set boundaries on people too. I don’t think people always mean to be toxic, but there are people out there who are overly critical, jealous, and petty. People who are constantly overstepping their welcome in your life. For these bullies, you need to set some serious concrete boundaries. You’re in control of who you let in your life. It may mean cutting someone out of your life or at least an area of your life. You don’t need to apologize for it. Choose peace. Learn to say “no.”

Arts & Crafts

Arts and crafts is probably my way of relieving stress but it is for many others as well. Art can be used as a form of free expression where emotions might be displayed. But it is also simply a way to relax. Art often has repetitiveness like brush strokes (painting), scribbling, making loops (crocheting/knitting). Repetitiveness can be relaxing.

Don’t worry. I hear some of you. Some of you might not think you’re creative and that doing art actually causes stress when it doesn’t look the way you want. Even if you aren’t artistic, something soothing like adult color books may be helpful.

Exercise

In my youth, I loved using exercise as an outlet for stress. I know lots of people who prefer running for getting out stress or anxiety. For me, I loved kickboxing style aerobics. There was nothing more therapeutic to me that pretend to beat the crap out of something! Yoga was always a great way to feel centered and balanced again. I found it particularly relaxing to hear my own breath.

I remember there were times that doing it by myself was very relaxing, but I also recall that sometimes, doing it with a group was also a stress-buster. We sit afterwards and talk and that was always a nice way to finish that time. When you’re stressed go beat up a punching bag or pound some pavement. That can sometimes help.

Go Outside

As I write this, it is Texas summertime with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. And while I think braving the excessive heat can be depressing, I still think that being outside can reduce stress. I love to wake up before my kids and sit on my porch with a cup of coffee. I sit there and watch the sun come up and pray over my family. It’s refreshing to be outdoors.

There is something therapeutic about being outdoors. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a few minutes can be refreshing. You may not realize it, but being cooped up indoors can add to stress. Enjoy some tea on a porch, take a walk, go to a beach, take a camping trip, but spend sometime getting reacquainted with the sunlight and air. The change of scenery will do you some good.

Journal

I think journaling will always be one of my main ways of coping with stress. We are emotional creatures. Part of growing up is learning self-control over emotions, but as adults we either have adult sized tantrums or we pendulum swing over to bottling them up entirely. Really we need to process those emotions and get them out, just in a healthy way.

That’s why I recommend journaling. It’s non-destructive and yet it still allows you to say what you’re really feeling. More often than not, journaling has also helped me explore and figure out what I’m feeling. I’m always a little surprised when unknown feelings, fears, and thoughts begin to surface. I’ve learned a lot about myself!

I know there are a lot of people out there who hate to write. I understand, but I still encourage you to give it a try. Although, keeping a paper journal is custom, these days, there are so many electronic alternatives. I personally love the Day One app. It’s available on the App Store for both devices and computers.

If you need some inspiration to get started, take a look at some of my journaling prompts.

Letter Write

This might be a new concept, especially if you aren’t a journal junkie, like me, but I chose to include it separately from journaling because I think it holds a lot of merit. Something that has always helped me, is letter writing. This is similar to journaling in that you will be writing out your thoughts – just in a different way,

Instead of writing to yourself, write to whatever or whomever is upsetting you. Haven’t you ever wanted to tell someone off? There’s always the same problem with doing that – consequences. You always risk permanently severing the relationship or situation if you do. So in this instance you’ll be writing it for your own benefit. Sometimes what causes stress is simply the bottling up of emotions.

Use paper or type it out. Tell off whatever or whomever is upsetting you. Don’t hold back. Tell them how you really feel. Rip them a new one! Get it all out. Then you can do one of two things: destroy the letter or mail it to “God” via the post office.

Talk to Someone

Talking something out can be incredibly helpful and therapeutic. It can give us an opportunity to hear some of our thoughts out loud. I’m an avid advocate for professional therapy (duh, my degree is in Psychology), but it’s because I think it is incredibly helpful to talk things out. You hear yourself express feelings you might not have realized were there and you get constructive feedback.

I would caution you. Confidants should be chosen wisely. Some close people in your life, may not be the best ones from which to seek advice. I have two criteria for choosing a listening friend: they have to be able to listen to me (hearing me out and constructive feedback) and they have to have their own shit together. Yes, I cursed. I did that on purpose. That’s because everybody has shit in their life – the muddy, icky crap that is hard to clean up and deal with. But some people are doing a great job at handling it. Don’t go to someone whose own life is a screw up. You don’t want their advice.

Good places to start? A trusted elder, a pastor, a professional counselor, a parent, a sibling, a close friend. Nobody has it all together, but go to someone who has some semblance of it, someone who will impart wisdom.

Hug It Out

As human beings we were designed to be loved through touch. When moms and babies hold one another, pheromones are actually released. The same is true for adults. Ocytocin is released thereby reducing blood pressure.

Sometimes, when I am an stressed I have to recalibrate my human touch experience. Stop and ask yourself. “How long has it been since I cuddled with someone?” Or maybe even more specifically, “how long has it been since someone cuddled with me.?” That may sound sappy and saccharine, but what you’re looking for is meaningful touch.

The human touch can be powerful. If you don’t have someone to hug it out with, I strongly recommend getting a massage. Massage isn’t just about applying pressure, it’s about receiving human touch which in turn, relieves tension in muscles.

Positive Self Talk

Can we be honest for a second? We stress ourselves out a lot of the time. Meaning we have a habit of predicting catastrophe in our lives even though it may be without any merit.

We may find ourselves fantasizing and worrying over things which may never happen. We might be overly critical with our performance or hold ourselves to overly rigorous standards or ideals. Perhaps, we may be pursing perfectionism and give ourselves little grace. In short, we may be adding to our own stress. This is where we need to recalibrate our own actions.

Here is what I mean when I say positive self-talk

  • Imagining / role playing the positive outcome
  • Telling yourself to remain calm
  • Telling yourself things will work out
  • Focusing on gratitude
  • Nix harsh self-criticism and self-doubt
  • Spend time in prayer or calming meditation

Pray or Meditate

Prayer or meditation can be a great way of relieving stress. Prayer can be a way of practicing both meditation and talking it out. I recommend also spending some moments in silence and breathing in and out deeply. Give yourself permission to set your troubles aside for a moment and relax.

I know some people are weary of meditation because of racing thoughts. When I first started to practice meditation, I found myself struggling to focus. My mind would get distracted and go off on mental tangents. That is where guided meditation can help. These days there are apps and websites that can help you focus by listening to someone else’s voice instead of your own.

Storms Don’t Last

I think it’s very important to remember that storms don’t last. Stressful times don’t last either. Eventually something will change the status quo and ease the tension. If you find you’re struggling to manage it on your own, there is no shame in seeking out professional help.

Thanks for reading, 10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress. Before you go, share or pin this post and please subscribe to my blog.

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Journal Prompts for Self-Confidence

If you’re struggling from with your self-esteem I’d love for you to try journaling to work out some of those tough feelings. Join me for journal prompts for self-confidence.

journal prompts for self confidence

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Building Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is all about trusting yourself. Trusting your abilities, your talents, and your capabilities are what makes for a self-confident person.

Maybe you had someone in your life that has torn down your self-confidence. I find this is always done with criticism and judgement. Maybe you had an overly critical parent or boss. Perhaps a disapproving mother-in-law made you question your parenting skills. Maybe an envious friend or sibling made you feel bad for…well…just being you! We all have people in our life, who either intentionally or unintentionally pull on the fragile thread of our self-confidence. Tug hard enough and it can unravel us.

That said, just because someone else says it doesn’t mean there is any truth to it. In fact, I’ve found most criticism comes from a place of jealousy and the other person’s insecurity. A big part of building self-confidence is simply not giving a %&#@ about other people’s opinions. If you were to gather 15 or twenty friends, family and acquaintances you would likely also find the same number of different reputations with each of them. People will form opinions and impressions of you and most of the time, their opinions matter little.

Focus on Your Strengths

A lack of self-confidence or self-esteem happens when the perception of ourself becomes unbalanced. We begin to focus or believe judgement, criticism and negative perceptions about ourself – and we become what we believe.

Now honestly, I am the worst at shaking off criticism. Like, really bad at it! In fact, it’s one reason why I held back from starting this blog for years. Not everyone is going to like what I write and I wasn’t sure I couldn’t handle that.

But a year ago, someone really tore into me. Like told me off in a way that really destroyed my self-confidence. It made me ashamed of my gifts and talents. Quite frankly, it made me hate myself. But we need to learn where that kind of criticism comes from. Most importantly, we can’t allow that to be our focus. Even if there is some truth to what is said, we have to focus on our strengths and keep our head up. That’s why I picked up this blog again after so many years of neglecting it. Someone called me a know-it-all and that’s fine. I’m going to turn that around and use it for good. Focus on your strengths, not where you lack.

Be Kind To Yourself

I remember when I went to psychotherapy early in my twenties. My therapist pointed out a perpetual bad habit of mine – being unkind to myself. In my case, it was lots of negative self-talk. I’m going to be very candid now because I want you to know, that I’m a living, breathing, incredibly flawed person. I don’t have it all together! To show you what I mean, here are a few things I have said to myself:

  • “See? This is why no one likes you.”
  • “You’re just going to fail. You should just give up.”
  • ”If you don’t hope for anything, you can’t be disappointed.”
  • ”No one loves you.”
  • ”You’re a terrible mother.”
  • ”Nothing good happens to you.”
  • “You’re fat and unattractive.”
  • “Nobody cares about your blog or what you have to say.”
  • “People think you’re lazy and sloppy because you’re overweight.”

Terrible, right? I’ve said things to myself I would never say to another person. Many of us do. It becomes a habit we desperately need to break. It starts by affirming yourself every day. Be kind to yourself. It’s okay if you don’t believe it at first. Just start by saying kind things to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a good friend.

Self-confidence

Today, I’ll be sharing journal prompts for self-confidence. I truly hope they help you work out some tough feelings and foster a kinder relationship with yourself.

Journal Prompts for Self-Confidence

  • What’s the last compliment someone paid you?
  • For what do you want to be remembered?
  • List three physical features you love about ourself.
  • How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?
  • How do you want to inspire others?
  • List three of life’s passions.
  • What flaw will you work on this year?
  • Write 12 positive affirmations to yourself.
  • List 10 things you love about your life right now.
  • Why do you think your best friend is friends with you?
  • What scares you most about failure?
  • What would happen if you were to fail?
  • Who builds you up the most and what do they say to you?
  • Describe an event where your strength surprised you.
  • What did you do best in school?
  • What were / are you great at in a professional setting?
  • Describe something you do better than most people.
  • How have you shown courage recently?
  • Why do you get down on yourself?
  • What do you need to leave in the past?
  • If someone in your past wrecked your self-confidence, what would you say to them now?
  • How will you stop negative self-talk?
  • What failures keep you from living life to the fullest and how can you move past it?
  • How do you typically respond to setbacks and what can you do better?
  • What would happen if you stopped caring about what people thought?
  • How you unkind to yourself?
  • What beliefs about yourself limit your potential?
  • Write a pep talk to yourself.
  • Name five unwavering life principles.
  • What negative thing do you repeatedly say to yourself and why do you think you say it?
  • About what are you most insecure?
  • Where do you struggle ask for help? Why?
  • What criticism hurts you the most?
  • Make a list of things you’ve accomplished in your life.
  • What is you dream in life? (Be honest. There is no one here.)

Don’t Forget to Subscribe

Thank you for reading Journal Prompts for Self-Confidence. In addition, if you’re interested in more journal prompts, see my other posts Gratitude Journal Prompts and 50 Journal Prompts.

Don’t forget to PIN this post for later or share it with a friend who needs it. Also, before you go, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for SUBSCRIBER ONLY tips, giveaways and FREE printables.

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Scripture Reading Jealousy and Comparison

No one wants to admit they are jealous, but if you’re battling to happy in the successes of others, this is for you. Join me for scripture reading Jealousy and Comparison.

scripture reading jealousy and comparison

Hello friend. This month’s scripture reading is going to be centered around jealousy and comparison. I think this is a neglected topic, specifically in modern Christianity, so let’s talk about it.

What is Jealousy and Envy

Envy, jealousy and comparison are feelings rooted in insecurity, greed, and pride. Jealousy is the feeling of being replaced or outshined by a rival. Envy is the coveting or discontentment by another’s possessions, circumstances, or qualities. Both of them keep us from realizing our own potential.

Social media, for example, is a great catalyst for feelings of envy. It provides us an intimate glimpse into someone’s private life. We see their vacations, fun events, new houses, new jobs, and even romantic relationships. It’s easy to start comparing your life against someone else’s. Perhaps a friend’s life seems more exciting than yours. Maybe someone seems to be surrounded by countless friends or maybe a neighbor or coworker always seems to have financial blessings.

By the way, if you feel that social media causes these feelings to arise, I suggest quick amputation either temporarily or permanently. For help on quitting social media see my two posts Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook and Social Media Detox.

I’m Not That Jealous

Many of us don’t think of ourselves as overly jealous, but here are some basic questions you might ask if you feel there is a problem. (Excerpt from the book Mind Over Emotions by Les Carter)

  • Do you work hard to come out looking good in situations?
  • Do you tend to be status conscious?
  • Do you need a lot of recognition for achievements?
  • Do you find it hard to pay compliments to others?
  • Do you base your self image on your performance?
  • Do you have hidden feelings of inferiority?
  • Do you complain about unfair treatment?
  • Are you willing to pass on negative rumors about a successful person?

Overcoming Jealousy

Remember Your Identity in Christ

Earlier this year, I shared a scripture reading post, Identity in Christ. Knowing who you are in Christ really does solve a lot of life’s problems. Jealousy and often spark feelings of insecurity and inferiority. The way we fight that is to remember what scripture says about us. I encourage you to read my post if you are wrangling with self-worth issues. Root yourself in the God’s loving view of you.

Stay Grateful

The deeper my relationship with Christ, the more I understand the need for gratitude. It really is the remedy for lots of our problems. We limit the power comparison has over us when we focus on our own blessings. Yes, they are blessed, but so are you! If you are keeping score and trying to balance blessings on a scale, you will be eternally frustrated. Furthermore, I’ve learned to realize that many times the blessings of others pour into my life as well.

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.

Harold Coffin

Perhaps you have a friend who is talented at party planning. Maybe you’ve even asked her to teach you, but you can’t seem to do it with the same ease and creativity as she does. You can be envious of her gift or you can be grateful that you have access to her talents and imagination when you need party planning help. A perspective of gratitude is a great cure for envy.

Develop an Attitude of Abundance

Envy ensues when you feel an imbalance of success, gifts, or talents. This perceived disproportion causes feelings of insecurity and fear – as if there are only so many blessings to go around. For instance, sibling rivalry is the feeling of being overshadowed by a sibling. It can create feelings of scarcity when it comes to the love of a parent (e.g. if my mom loves my sister there will be less love for me).

Therefore, we must retrain our minds to have an attitude of abundance. There is such a thing as “healthy competition.” My dad used to say, “there is always room for one more hamburger stand.” “Competition” isn’t something to fear. There is always more where that came from! That’s because God owns it all. He is the one who bestows gifts, blessings, and talents and he never runs empty. There is never a need to be jealous once you realize that God has a future full of blessings for you (Jeremiah 29:11). I promise you this…he will never run out of favor.

Also, in 2 Corinthians (v. 9-8) Paul reminds us the reason behind abundant blessings – not for our glory, but for HIS. So that we “will abound in every good work.” Finally, we’re also told in Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) and Deuteronomy (28:12) that we go through seasons of blessings and droughts.

abundance

Ask God To Remove It

The first thing I recommend doing when these feelings spring up is to confess it. Tell God how you feel and why you are struggling with it. Confession is powerful because secrets control us. They become a stronghold. The enemy would love nothing more that to see you fester in resentment. Reject it and ask God to help you work through those feelings. Also, ask him to help you recognize the blessings he’s already given you and to give you an attitude of gratitude.

If you should desire to be like anyone, let it be Christ and not other sinners and imperfect people (Proverbs 23:17).

Scripture Reading Jealousy and Comparison

Thank you for joining me for Scripture Reading Jealousy and Comparison. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later. Also, take a look at my earlier Scripture Reading Topics:

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How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner

Take control of your emotional, mental, and physical health. Today, I’m going to show you how to use the Wellness Happy Planner.

how to use the wellness happy planner

Hey there, friend! Do you struggle to look after yourself? I know I did. As a mama of two, I was always on the back burner. But then I found the Wellness Happy Planner! I was already an avid Happy Planner, but finding this helped me schedule and prioritize, much needed “me time.” Today I’m going to show you how to use a Wellness Happy Planner ® to practice self-care.

To learn more about wellness and how to care for yourself, I encourage you to read my prior post 30 Day Wellness Challenge. In that post, I provide a FREE printable to help you get ideas for emotional, mental and physical wellness.

Also, in lieu of reading this post, you can watch a video on How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner.

What is a Wellness Planner

The question I get asked a lot is, “what is the difference between a fitness and a wellness Happy Planner?” The fitness Happy Planner is designed to track diet and exercise. The wellness planner can certainly track diet and fitness if desired, but it really offers a deeper health check of body, mind, and soul.

Available Sizes

The Wellness Happy Planner is available as an 18-month planner.

Layout

Right now the Wellness Happy Planner is a vertical format. Like the typical vertical layout, it has three boxes. However, the last box has a journal prompt with a a square grid space. You certainly don’t have to use this space for journaling. It is very easy to cover up with stickers.

how to use a wellness happy planner

The planner has monthly tabs as well as monthly spreads. The weekly side bar includes a exercise habit tracker, a small prompt and a “currently.” section. See my video below for a flip through of the new 2019-2020 Big Wellness Happy Planner.

How To Use the Wellness Happy Planner

There are endless ways to use the wellness Planner. Personally, I use it as part journal, part planner and part memory planner. I use it to express thoughts and work through emotions like a journal. I also use it to actually plan and make time for self-care. Lastly, I use it retroactively to record good things that happen to me as well as gratitude. I think of it as my own authored book of inspiration. If you are struggling with what to record or plan in your planner, here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Body

  • More water
  • Exercise routine
  • Taking walks
  • Food journaling
  • Accountability / Accountability partner
  • Sleep goals
  • Weight loss journey
  • Rest / relaxation goals
  • Spa time / Long baths
  • Skin care routines
  • Vitamins / medicine

Mind

  • Reading
  • Puzzles
  • Unplugging from electronics
  • Being mindful
  • Play an instrument
  • Writing
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Taking a class
  • Decluttering
  • Play an instrument
  • Hobbies / crafts

Soul

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