Tag Archives: anxiety

Ways to get rid of stress

6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Stress

Ways to get rid of stress

When talking about stress, the first thing I think of is a quote from a poem by Damian Bar.  “We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” Our experiences and perspectives on situations are unique and can provide stress in different ways. Regardless of the size and shape of your boat, we invite you to practice some self-care and hopefully reduce the amount of stress you’re experiencing.

6 Ways to Overcome Stress

1. Exercise
Exercise is great for so many reasons. You already know it’s good for you, but did you know that it also helps reduce stress? Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, helps clear the mind, and can improve the quality of your sleep.

2. Promote Sleep
Stress can not only cause you to lose sleep, but lack of sleep is a key cause of stress! This cycle causes the body to get out of whack and only gets worse with time. Reduce your afternoon caffeine intake, spend time each day exercising, and try turning the TV off early. Instead of watching the news or binge-watching a new show, read a book.

3. Take Deep Breaths
“Take a deep breath” is not a cliché. For an easy 3-5 minute exercise, sit up in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. Deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind, while shallow breathing may cause stress.

4. Eat Right
Eating healthy foods is a great way to get rid of stress. Avoid sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up. Fruits and vegetables are always a good option. Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have also been known to reduce the symptoms of stress.

5. Spend Quality Time with a Family Member or Friend
Combat stress by calling or texting a friend or family member. Put some time aside to grab a coffee or to talk. Having a scheduled time with someone can give you something fun to look forward to.

6. Listen to Music
When you feel overwhelmed, take a break and listen to relaxing classical or meditative music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body. It can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.

What Does Self-Care Look Like To You

Take our poll to see what others are doing to relieve stress. 

Not every solution works for every person. If you need help finding stress relief or a self-care regimen that works for you, don’t hesitate to connect with a counselor or therapist for help. You’re worth it. PTandMe works closely with physical and occupational therapy clinics around the country. If you need help with an exercise program or are experiencing pain, please find the help you need to start feeling better today.

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heart healthy physical activity

Heart Healthy Physical Activity


The heart is often used as a symbol of vitality for good reasons. The heart pushes blood and oxygen to every cell in the body to be used as fuel and carries waste away. Without this process, the body cannot function. The heart plays a role in many aspects of your health and wellness.

Efficiency Matters
The heart beats an average of 60-80 beats per minute, which can add up to millions of beats in just one month. When something works this hard, it is important that it also works efficiently. Well-conditioned athletes can have resting heart rates below 50 beats/minute. Even though their heart beats slower, it can do the same amount of work or more than a heart that beats 60-80 beats/minute. An athlete’s heart pumps stronger during each beat, needing fewer beats to get the job done. Over a lifetime, a difference of 10-30 beats/minute can add up to quite a few beats.

An Ounce of Prevention…
The heart can be affected by physical and mental stressors. You can feel your heart speed up when you sprint across a busy road or when you have a burst of emotion like anger or surprise.

Physical activity can decrease the effect of stress on the heart and body. A fit body and mind will help improve heart health. Regular physical activity can:

Improve physical abilities by:
• Improving the heart’s ability to pump blood
• Increasing energy levels
• Increasing muscle strength and endurance
• Improving agility

Change physical appearance by:
• Toning your muscles which gives you a tighter appearance
• Burning calories which helps with weight loss or maintenance

Improve overall wellness by:
• Helping with stress management
• Improving self-image
• Helping to decrease anxiety and depression
• Improving relaxation
Improving the ability to sleep
• Creating a social activity opportunity
• Promoting healthier cholesterol levels

If you have heart problems, physical activity can still play an important role. A strong and healthy body can help you manage your condition. Physical activity can help reduce the stress on a sick or weak heart and decrease secondary risks like obesity and diabetes. If you do have heart health issues, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Even if you are healthy, but have not exercised in a long time, you may need to talk to your doctor to make sure that you are in good physical condition to exercise.

heart veggies

Where to Start
For most people, you can begin right away. Find an activity program that you enjoy. Do not pick an activity that does not fit into your schedule, does not fit in with your personal preferences, or has too many obstacles, because you may lose interest quickly. A program that starts with too much intensity is also likely to lose your interest.

Work towards reaching these basic goals:
• 30-60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week (total of at least 150 minutes/week)
• Include some strength activities at least 2 times/week

Make It Stick
Long-term regular physical activity will count more than a brief and spectacular burst of activity. Most people do not plan to become sedentary. It creeps up on you. Work to increase your physical activity the same way. Gradually add steps. Find activities you enjoy that can replace more sedentary activities.

Here are more tips that have been shown to be useful:
• Find an exercise partner. You are less likely to skip the activity if someone is waiting for you.
• Write it down or use a fitness tracker. Keep a log of your activities and how much you accomplished either by distance or time. It will help keep you honest.
• A long-term goal is fine, but also make short-term goals, because they provide quicker feedback.
• This is important, make it a priority. Plan it out. Find a time in your daily routine when you can regularly fit the activity in.
• Consider doing your activity in 10-minute spurts throughout the day. Spurts can be as effective as being active for 30 minutes straight.
• Be flexible. Life happens and you may find that you need to make adjustments to your routine. A rigid schedule and goal may not be worth the stress. Keep an open mind to new activities and schedules.

Make It Count
Any physical activity is better than none. But at least a few days per week you should aim for more than a leisurely stroll. A moderate intensity level is best to help you make health changes. Moderate intensity activity is enough to get your heart rate up and make you feel a little out of breath but not feel worn out when you are done.

Do not forget to enjoy your activity for the daily benefits it can bring and know that your heart appreciates it as well!

by Pamela Jones, MA

American College of Sports Medicine

American Heart Association

Health Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

American Heart Association guidelines for physical activity. American Heart Association website. Available: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/American-Heart-Association-Guidelines-for-Physical-Activity_UCM_307976_Article.jsp. Updated September 10, 2014. Accessed October 22, 2014.

Guide to physical activity. National Heart and Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/phy_act.htm. Accessed July 21, 2016.

Haskel W, et al. Physical activity and public health, updated recommendations for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circ. 2007;116(9):1081.

How much physical activity do you need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/index.html. Updated June 4, 2016. Accessed July 21, 2016.

Promoting physical activity with a public health approach. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/acsm-in-the-news/2011/08/01/promoting-physical-activity-with-a-public-health-approach. Accessed July 21, 2016.

2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. United States Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx. Accessed July 21, 2016.

Last reviewed July 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated:10/22/2014

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holiday stress

Tips for Reducing ADHD Related Holiday Stress and Anxiety


Ah, the holidays. The lights. The carols. The food. The family. It’s the most wonderful time of year. Right? Well, for many of us, the holidays are far more jangled nerves than joyful noise. And if you or a loved one suffers from ADHD, the stress of the holidays can be almost too much to bear. If you have ADHD, you already know how lonely and frustrating it can be when the holidays roll around, and it seems that everyone in the world is in the holiday spirit but you.

Increased Stress, Fatigue, and Sadness are Common During the Holidays
The truth is, though, that the season of celebration is also the season of stress. No one is immune to the pressures of the season. But the disruption of normal, daily routines, the added responsibilities of social engagements and familial obligations, and the abundance of symptom-exacerbating holiday foods make the stresses of the holidays particularly acute for ADHD sufferers.

Nevertheless, whether you or someone close to you has ADHD, or you are just seeking to navigate the season with more pleasure and less pain this year, there are some simple things you can do to manage holiday stress. The following techniques, derived primarily from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), might just help you relax and enjoy the magic of the season.

1. Make a Plan
As much as we hate to admit it, there are only so many hours in a day and there’s a limit to what we can accomplish in those hours. So take some time before the rush and tumult of the holidays begin to prioritize what you want, need, and must do for the holidays. Figure out what matters most to you and yours and set up a clear, incremental strategy for getting it done. Knowing you have a doable action plan in place and working a little each day on your holiday tasks can minimize stress, worry, and fatigue, leaving you with the time and energy to actually enjoy the season. Whether it’s allotting five minutes a day for writing holiday cards or two hours of online gift shopping each Saturday, the best way to eat the elephant is one bite at a time.

2. Be Realistic
Yes, you’re good. You’re a rock star. But as awesome as you are, you’re still just one person. And trying to do it all is just not possible—and it’s also just not fair. The answer? Delegate! Have a sister who is a Mozart in the kitchen? Put her in charge of the meal preparation. Have a spouse who’s a Picasso of design? Let him handle the holiday decorating. Not only will this take some of the pressure off you, but it will enable you to enjoy what the holidays are really all about anyway: spending time and making memories with those you love.


3. Forget Perfection
Face it, life is not a Frank Capra movie (and even good old George Bailey had it pretty rough there for a while). So let go of the fantasy of a Capra Christmas or a humdinger of a Chanukah. Inevitably, something is going to get lost or broken; invariably someone’s going to burn the bread or forget the cookies. And, yes, somebody is going to hurt anyone’s feelings. But that’s life. Real life—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just remember that the imperfections are what make it real, unique, and, in the long run, beautiful. These screw-ups and squabbles that we put such desperate pressure on ourselves to prevent in our pursuit of some fictitious “perfect” holiday are exactly the things we will remember so fondly, and laugh about most heartily with our dear ones, in the years to come.

4. Practice Extreme Self-Care
No matter what the greeting card companies say, the holidays are not the time for self-sacrifice. The only thing playing the martyr will get you is stress, exhaustion, and resentment. Ho, ho, ho. Instead of running yourself ragged, make sure that you do what you need to do to recharge your batteries, to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Take an hour each day to do something that gives you joy: a warm bath, a long walk, a good book—a nap.

While you’re at it, don’t forget about exercise and nutrition. Indulging in holiday treats is fine. Complete denial will only lead to resentment. But everything in moderation. Rich, highly processed, sugary, and fatty foods can worsen ADHD symptoms. Be selective about what, when, and how much you eat, and remember that exercise, whether an hour of yoga or a brisk bike ride, can help to dispel the brain fog borne of these less-than-healthy foods—not to mention working off some of that holiday stress when it does come!

Begin Reducing Your Stress Today!
Whether you or a loved one has ADHD, or you only want to thrive and not just survive this holiday season, these few simple techniques can make it possible. For more information about ADD/ADHD in adults, please read: https://openforest.net/attention-deficit-disorder-adults/, Wishing you and yours less stress and more joy this holiday season!

Looking for a way to help manage ADHD? You can find natural remedies  here.

Written by Terri Beth Miller, MA, PhD. She is freelance writer and contributor to Open Forest, the online mental health self-help website.