December can be a stressful time in many people’s lives.
A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in a meaningful way. The following list of ideas can be helpful for yourself and your students.
- Turn it off – disconnect on the weekend. Put the phone down and turn off the computer.
Quiet time is essential to rejuvenating and re-energizing.
- Trim, trim, trim – say no to things that are either not essential or do not add something valuable to your life.
- Journal – everyone has an internal dialogue going on inside their heads. Writing in a journal is a safe method to vent and release negative thoughts and feelings.
- Deep breathe – when people are tense, our bodies go into the fight or flight response. When having trouble relaxing or sleeping try the following technique: Breathe in for a count of 6, hold for a count of 2, and breathe out for a count of 4. Repeat this 5 times in a row.
- Minimize negative influences – minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people (complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you cannot completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people, whenever possible
- Spend time alone – making time for yourself is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity.
- Focus on positive relationships – set aside quality time with family and friends. Pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, or play a game with a child.
- Treat yourself – do something nice for yourself, such as a pedicure, facial or massage. Other ideas that are not costly include taking a walk, a nap or watching a favorite movie.
- Expand your awareness – take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you have always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music.
- Have fun – laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor. Nothing makes people feel better as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh.
A wonderful website from World Education, titled Managing Stress to Improve Learning, has information about how chronic stress and trauma affect the brain and learning. To find ideas about integrating stress management and promotion of mental health in adult education classrooms, go to nelrc.org/managingstress.