There are many reasons one may seek out personal growth. Perhaps a new career is on the horizon, or one has decided to head back to school, there are a number of large life changes that can help a person grow as an individual. However, these situations can often be stressful. To deal with the stress in a healthy way, one must not forget the necessity of self-care.
Exercise and Eating Right
Stress can take a heavy toll on the body. This is especially true for those in addiction recovery, as stress can often lead to the temptation to relapse. Exercise is a good counter to stressors for a number of reasons. Not only does it make you feel better physically, your brain gets a boost from the chemicals released, but also from the natural response to exercise: breathing deeply. Yoga is a good choice for your exercise regimen, but so is Tai Chi, Qigong, or even just walking. Eating well can impact how you feel, too. It's easy to grab something pre-made, either from the store or fast food, especially when we're feeling pressed. Instead, take the time to make a fresh, mineral and vitamin-rich meal. Supplements such as magnesium can help you relax while foods and drinks containing caffeine, alcohol and processed sugars can increase these negative feelings.
Put Your Needs First
To properly see to your own needs, you may need to refocus your priorities. Take some time and decide what is important and what you need to do to relax. Sometimes, we need to cut back on some of our commitments to do so, and that is OK. After all, you deserve to be happy, and do things that fuel that happiness. Your journey toward personal growth may eventually lead to happiness, but don't put how you currently feel on the back burner. Make time to do something you truly enjoy, simply because you enjoy it. It may help to make a list of small things that make you happy or relax you. Make sure you're checking off something from this list frequently to ensure you're seeing to your own wellness.
Socialize on Your Terms
It can be difficult to find a suitable time to catch up with friends as we age. Everyone is working, or busy with their own families. However, having one chat over a cup of coffee a week can have lasting impact on our mental health. By catching up with those closest to us, we may have a greater sense of contentment in life. Not only that, but it's fun to see our friends and spend time together. That being said, you should not always be the one to compromise on time to see a friend. If you're too busy, say, Saturday, and the only way to meet up would be to sacrifice an hour of sleep, it might be a good idea to postpone until next week. It may be difficult to say no at first, especially to someone you care about, but be as honest with them as you can be.
It may not be obvious at first, but practicing ways to calm yourself down is important. This could mean starting up a yoga practice as mentioned, or it could mean taking a long bath full of essential oils to help you relax. When we put our own needs first and take time to actively lower our stress and heart rate, we improve the quality of our lives. Find something that helps your body to let go of tension and practice that not only when you feel stressed, but as a daily ritual. The repetition may help you ward off stress before it crops up.
You need to take care of yourself during any time of additional stress. While working toward personal growth is important and a worthwhile goal, the change it brings can cause additional anxieties to surface. By practicing self-care each day, you may have a more positive, happier experience than you might otherwise.
Guest Post by author Brad Kraus