Hello and thank you for joining us... we hope this finds you having a good week! 

Stress and anxiety continues to run high in our society. Below are some tips, activities, and tools to help you keep it in check. But remember if things ever become too overwhelming, you need to contact your primary care provider, mental health specialist, and/or 911. This pandemic is temporary. Things can and will get better. Life is precious. You matter! People care. Help is available. If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. 

Please feel free to reach out to our caring customer care team and experts for personalized activities or individualized suggestions. Most of our staff have walked in many of your same shoes during their own journeys; we truly do get it and are honored to help you by sharing our experience and knowledge. We're here for you!

– Your Therapy Shoppe Family 💗

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Ways to Help Keep Your (and your family members') Stress and Anxiety in Check:

1.  Maintain a Daily Routine

Engage in daily hobbies, chores, and other activities that will help you keep a consistent daily schedule. Try to maintain designated meal times and a consistent sleep schedule. Studies have shown that consistent routines are helpful for lowering stress levels, maintaining healthy habits, and helping us cope with change. According to Indumathi Bendi, M.D. "Carrying out routine activities reduces stress by making the situation appear more controllable and predictable" (piedmont.org).  Click here for additional tips and tricks for establishing routines.

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2.  Stay Connected

Social support is important/helpful for maintaining and maximizing happiness for most people. Make it a priority to maintain regular contact with your family and friends.  It can be as simple as spending regular quality time together at home watching tv or playing games, or through video calling on Zoom or Facetime. Click here for tips and more ways to stay connected with your loved ones while social distancing or when travel might not be possible. 

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3.  Limit Media Consumption

Checking the news and social media (especially excessively) can lead to increased anxiety. Remember to stay mindful when consuming media; try to limit your daily consumption! It can be helpful to schedule designated "media times" for checking social media and watch/listen to the news – then do your best to stick to it!

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4.  Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is strongly linked to overall happiness. According to Harvard Health Publishing, "Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships." Different methods for practicing gratitude include journaling, nurturing your current relationships, practicing meditation, random acts of kindess, and counting your blessings. Remember that "energy follows thought." Our new Mindful Kids Cards "50 Mindfulness Activities for Kindness, Focus, and Calm" are a wonderful resource for calming activities, and practicing gratitude and kindness.

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5.  Stay Mentally and Physically Active

Be sure to take care of your mental and physical health! Exercise is great for reducing the risk of depression and decreasing stress levels. It also helps reduce the risk of heart disease, lowers blood sugar levels, and helps strengthen your muscles (medlineplus.gov). Mental stimulation is important too, as it helps keep your mind off worries and negative thoughts that can cause anxiety. Simple ways to keep your brain mentally engaged include reading books, solving puzzles (Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word searches, and tabletop puzzles), taking online classes, playing an instrument, and writing (journaling, writing letters, or now's a great time to document family geneology – something one of our OTs is doing with her siblings one night a week!). Click here for some fun (and simple) exercise ideas and programs, as well as budget-friendly tools that make it easy to stay fit at home.

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For more helpful tips and activity ideas, check out these other exclusive Therapy Shoppe® articles:

10 Activities That Can Decrease Anxiety and Help Children Cope

25 Soothing Sensory Tools That Can Help Alleviate Anxiety

Free Phone Apps for Managing Stress and Anxiety

Sources:

“Benefits of Exercise.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 Apr. 2020, medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html.

“Diet and Mental Health.” Mental Health Foundation, 30 Jan. 2020, www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/d/diet-and-mental-health.

“Schedule Your Appointment Online.” Why Routines Are Really Good for Your Health | Piedmont Healthcare, www.piedmont.org/living-better/why-routines-are-good-for-your-health.

©2020 Therapy Shoppe® Incorporated.  All rights reserved.