Three Actions You Could Be Taking to Manage Your Stress

June 15, 2019 | by Tricia Parido | Master Coach at Turning Leaves Recovery Life and Wellness Coaching

Everyone experiences stress in different ways. On that same note, everyone has their idea about how they think it is best to manage it. Often what I see is that they have been utilizing the same technique for years and now they are perplexed as to why it is no longer effective.

As people, we grow and change. The same goes for what prompts stress to emerge. What was stressful when we were teens or young adults will not affect us in the same way. We will see things differently as we settle into our professions, get married, become parents or grandparents, and even as we experience traumatic events.

Another thing I see that is so often overlooked is that stress impacts people on several levels. Most often they don’t associate the symptoms being experienced with stressors, they instead associate the symptoms as the cause of their troubles. With life changes, stress can manifest in the physical body which may be telling you that you are stressed in new ways as you move through life stages. It can show up as increased fatigue, more frequent infections, or even skin irritations. Your behavior may feel different. For many individuals, this looks like a greater propensity toward accidents, a new feeling of restlessness, and an inability to quiet the mind adequately to fall asleep. Cognitive complaints that are most frequently shared with me are feeling mentally foggy or trouble remembering, making hasty, impulsive decisions or the lack of being able to decide, and increased negativity. And finally, emotionally, people come to me with high levels of apprehension, in depressive states, depleted confidence, and irrational irritability.

So, if stress triggers morph as we go through life, why wouldn’t our stress management techniques need to change and grow with us? Think about it, you change your workout routine when you want to lose a few pounds, you change your dietary practices as your metabolism slows down, you change your social and recreational activities to match your home and work life responsibilities, and you change your home life structure with new relationships and parenthood.

In an article I wrote some time back I presented the following 3 summarized techniques:

  • Time Management: “find balance by first taking the time to prioritize their duties, projects, or responsibilities in order of importance or categorize them through the method of important-versus-urgent. Second, creating an effective schedule, such as breaking the day down into 30-minute segments and placing each action or activity in order of importance to keep on task, a technique referred to as “time mapping”. The third is the execution stage where the prioritized schedule is implemented, and tasks are completed. Of course, there are additional tips for effective and rewarding execution such as breaking larger projects down into smaller, more manageable components, assigning deadlines, completing one task at a time, and my favorite, always celebrating accomplishments with small but motivating rewards. Finally, when it comes to reducing stress through time management it is important to plan for or expect schedule interruptions, include personal time (in writing), delegate where possible, and maintain healthy boundaries.”
  • Creative problem solving: “it is important that one first understand what the problem is, which requires looking at it objectively from all directions, even from the perspective of others. Then the challenge to generate ideas comes to play. It is here where an individual can pull from the available resources of personal experience, the theories of others, books, articles and so on to explore all conceivable or viable solutions. From there comes idea selection and refinement. Choosing more than one option to manipulate until the idea that fits the problem best is found, one that the outcome can be visualized, weaknesses pinpointed, and adjustments can be made to avoid major pitfalls until there is a solid game plan or strategy which allows for idea implementation, or trying the idea out in the effort of finding resolution. Of course, with every implementation comes the need to evaluate and analyze the outcome. Sometimes the initial solution ends a bit rough and requires more refinement but when one remains curious and open-minded creativity will keep stress at bay.”
  • Cognitive restructuring: “Stressors will need to be identified, an investigation into why the stressor causes distress, recognizing what emotional attitude is tied to each, and the defensive or negative feelings or perceptions will require acknowledgment. From here the person must be willing to reappraise the situation from alternate viewpoints with an open frame of mind with the intent of locating a more neutral and positive stance to handle the issue without rationalizing or suppressing emotions, one with acceptance for what is out of their control.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge for the individual working on cognitive restructuring, or attitudinal change, is in the act of implementing the desired and new outlook they have created. Breaking habits and being comfortable with the unknown can be frightening, which is usually when defense mechanisms will kick in and the familiar responses will come out. Adopting or substituting old, less favorable attitudes and behaviors with more appealing responses takes practice, but the more they are repeated and the more the positive results are experienced they will become as natural as their predecessors. It is crucial, however, with every change, to take the time to evaluate its outcome. The goal is to benefit from the hard work, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and continue to make adjustments.”

In my Certified Life Coaching programs your Life Coach, Recovery Coach, or Wellness Coach will work with you through the Turning Leaves unique curriculum Building Milestones to develop all three of these stress management strategies along with a great deal of other capabilities that promote a calm mind, decrease negative perceptions, let go of toxic feelings, and promote realistic perspectives and thoughtful perceptions.

To learn more, click here, complete the inquiry. Or to get started today! Complete the Begin my quality of life form here. Either one will send me confidential notification and I will contact you directly.

With Life There Is Challenge | How I Manage the Emotional Swings that a Parent Experiences

June 3, 2019 | by Tricia Parido | Master Coach at Turning Leaves Recovery Life and Wellness Coaching

 

So, 2019 has, so far, turned out to be a year filled with reward! For our family, this is very welcomed as none of us are strangers to facing challenges, big and small. With this there seems to always be a gamut of emotions; fear, uncertainty, frustration, overwhelm, anticipation, anxiety, relief, joy, satisfaction, and down right over the moon happiness.

In the last 6 months, we have had college graduations, career advancements, press recognition, recovery milestones, the first opportunity to produce a film, a miracle birth, and a newly appointed Attorney at Law. None of which came without struggle, sacrifice, hard work, perseverance, sadness, or anxiety.

Every one of us has had to overcome over the years. We have embraced what it means to be a blended family. We have looked grave diseases in the eye and tackled them head-on. We have faced financial hardships and pooled funds. We have taken devastating side effects and educated ourselves about how to lessen the severity. And we have embraced the need to be prepared for the unknown. Luckily for us, we have each other.

What I think is crucial to talk about, I mean really bring a full illustration to, is what it can look like when a family unit is faced with cancer, rare auto-immune disease, chronic illness and the aftermath they leave in their wake. As parents, we are just not prepared for the emotional distress of not being able to “fix” or “cure” our children. Or how derailing the “I don’t know what to do” can be psychologically. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but this comes from the perspective of one that endures on a personal level daily as well as a parent watching their children endure as well.

Watching a child battle cancer, win, embrace the lifelong side effects, such as survivors’ guilt, poor immune functions, and infertility for 14 years (half her life), for me was not only emotionally trying, it was strength building and awe-inspiring. Because you see, our daughter did all of this with faith and grace. Her early teens spent in hospitals and clinics. Chemo, a bone marrow transplant and a lot of immune therapy put her AML into remission. As a family unit, we all were humbled by just how fragile life can be. A large family with 5 children operated as if we were pros. Nobody shied away from pitching in to keep the home safe for her. She went on in determination to be successful in all she wanted to achieve. So, this year, when she miraculously became pregnant without any extraordinary measures and gave birth to a healthy baby, I was reminded again of just how incredible life is when you embrace each day as if it were the only one you have.

Walking beside a child who has diligently worked their whole life to become an attorney only to feel it all slipping away as the control over her own body functions, sight, speech, swallowing, and more, became severely impaired during the most important time of her journey, the Bar exam, was heart-wrenching. I felt disempowered, unable to do anything more than guide her toward paying attention to what was happening at any given moment. Meaning, watching what she was doing at all times to see what, if anything, contributed to an increase of symptoms. I could do nothing but listen to one doctor after the other come up with no real or logical answer. I could only be empathetic to her fears and frustrations. That is until her symptoms became life-threatening. She could not swallow. The next stop, the ER and admittance to the hospital until they figured it out! The diagnosis, a rare auto-immune disease, Myasthenia Gravis. The treatment protocol; symptom control medication, high levels of steroids, and major surgery to remove her thymus. What did she do? Embraced the reality, worked hard to manage the anxiety, kept her expectations realistic, did a great deal of research, studied differently, and persevered! Now an attorney and with her prognosis in from pathology she knows she will have a normal life with everything she wanted. She just must listen to her body more intently than before.

As an individual that has faced one ongoing / incurable auto-immune disease after another since the age of 18 and having experienced a few life-threatening moments, I could empathize with the emotions our daughters were introduced to. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the raw fear a parent endures keeping them in a state of fight or flight when they can do nothing for their child except trust complete strangers to have their best interest and well-being in mind. Thankfully I engaged in psychological study and therapeutic work over the years that enabled me to develop a strong sense of life balance rounded out by impulse control, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.

These life skills, that I practice almost every minute of every day, on the surface sound quite simple. I always know my core non-physical feeling and what is driving it. I use the art of pause as often and for as long as is necessary to formulate an appropriate response to keep from being reactive. I validate assumptions through positive inquiry. I monitor my stance ensuring I am operating as a learner instead of a judger. I listen to my gut because my intuition serves me well. And I trust my ability to be in an internal locus of control.

What is important for you to know is that I have devoted more than 6 years of my life creating this way of living. Studying coaching as a psychological practice, maintaining my credentials as a Master Addictions Coach, Addiction Treatment Counselor, Professional Life Coach, Interventionist, and Case Manager with high levels of ethical regard. Writing and improving my life coaching “curriculum” Building Milestones every step of the way. Observing and tracking data for how it not only works in my life but how it serves those that seek to work with me in their lives. I don’t know if the work will ever be truly finished. I believe that I can always pursue improvement. What I can say is that I have concurred many things that used to terrify me. I have learned how to take what I can use and leave the rest. And finally, I know how to do what works and be effective.

Of course, you don’t have to be faced with situations quite this extreme to feel the need for guidance and support. Parenting and family units present with challenges in unique ways every day. If you are feeling stuck, alone, anxious, overwhelmed, or lost, just call. I am happy to help you determine which way to turn.