While most of us understand that chronic stress can be bad for our health, we may not realize how much it’s effecting us already. Warning signs of stress include: fatigue, trouble sleeping, headaches, irritable bowel, frequent infections, irregular heartbeat, worrying and feeling sad. Chronic stress may lead to or intensify health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and depression and anxiety.
During pregnancy, stress can contribute to premature labor, premature births and “too small babies born too soon” according the March of Dimes who is hosting their annual March for Babies nationwide next weekend. If you’re in Saint Louis, join Dr. Diane Sanford next Saturday, April 27 at the March to learn about how to reduce stress to prevent prematurity. For more on March for Babies Missouri and how to participate, click here.
The good news is it’s never too late to take action to reduce stress. The self-care tips you’ll find at livingselfcare.com, will help you make this change. You can also visit Dr. Sanford at the JCC’s Open House in Creve Coeur next Sunday, April 28 for health advice and stress relief recommendations..
Beauty comes in many forms–and there is no form more beautiful than you. Just exactly as you are, this minute, right now, without changing a thing…you are beautiful. Beautiful enough to take God’s breath away. – Neale Donald Walsch
I just got off the phone with a good friend of mine, Chris Miles, founder of Global Exercise Group, a company offering a holistic approach to lower back pain, which he’s just launched. I called him because I needed his advice about a situation I’ve encountered where politics has led to good people being harmed. Knowing his business acumen and character, I thought he could help me sort this out. He did.
Chris left the corporate world last year after watching countless examples of good people being sacrificed to corporate politics while others became drones of the status quo. A world I’ve managed to avoid (mostly) by being self-employed for the last 20 years. In listening to him, I realized that unfortunately the situation I find myself in is much like he described.
Chris is one of the “lights” in my life, supporting me in doing the best I can as a business owner and person. In The Four Agreements, one of my personal favorites, Don Miguel Ruiz’es Fourth Agreement is ”Always do your best,” and I believe as he does that each of us has a responsibility to do so. What do we do then when we find ourselves in a situation where we are supposed to have the authority to make things better but aren’t allowed to due to politics? The solution I’m arriving at is to invest my energy instead in situations in which I can help create a positive outcome and let go of those I can’t.
Ah, the Serenity Prayer again. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
So, that’s my practice for this week. What about you?
Posted in December Tips, Holiday Sanity, Living the Self-Care Challenge, Monday Musings
Tagged coping with holiday stress, diane sanford, LIfe Will Never Be The Same, motherhood, new moms, postpartum, pregnancy, self care tips for women, self-care, stacey glaesmann
To our faithful readers: we are in self-care mode as we enjoy the holidays with our families. Feel free to browse the archives for tips on how to make the holidays more pleasant for yourself and your family!
Diane and I wish you the happiest of holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, Kwanzaa, the beautiful lights of Diwali or any other holiday that is special for you! May peace be in your home and may you put yourself first so that you may enjoy things, too!
Love – Stacey and Diane
Posted in December Tips, Holiday Sanity
Tagged coping with holiday stress, diane sanford, holiday stress relief, life balance, living life fully, living self-care, Perspective, real mom experts, self-care, stacey glaesmann
We here at Living Self-Care would like to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! This year has been full of changes for us, and I think I can speak for Diane when I say we are very grateful for each and every one of them.
When things happen, they’re just things. We are responsible for what we label them (good or bad). It’s hard to imagine something like a cancer diagnosis being something GOOD, but I have also heard from several survivors and current cancer patients that their diagnosis and journey has ultimately changed them for the better.
It’s easy to be thankful for the obviously positive things in life, but most of the time, the negative (or what we label as “bad”) presents a learning opportunity. The trick is to be open minded and try to look at the situation outside of your usual way of thinking. There’s usually the proverbial “silver lining” to be found, and I truly believe there is no such thing as failure, only lessons.
This year, as challenging as the change has been, I am so thankful that my mother moved in with us. We don’t have to worry about each other long distance anymore. And though we bump heads often, I am so thankful that we are learning how to relate to each other again (in a much more healthy manner this time).
As you go about your Thanksgiving traditions, remember that there are so many things to be grateful for – even the things that you may have categorized as “awful.” Have a safe and happy one!!
All of our love,
Diane Sanford and Stacey Glaesmann
Posted in November Notes, November tips, Thursday "Words of Wisdom"
Tagged building new habits, coping with holiday stress, diane sanford, expressing gratitude, healthy communication, healthy relationships, holiday stress relief, life balance, living life fully, living self-care, mental health, Perspective, Positive thinking, real mom experts, real moms, self care tips for women, self-care, self-help, self-talk, stacey glaesmann
The holidays are here with fun-filled and stress-filled times sandwiched together, not unlike raising children, work, marriage and other life pursuits. So, here are some recommendations to make the holidays calmer and happier.
First, have realistic expectations of yourself. Many of us feel disappointed because our “fairytale images” don’t materialize. Instead, focus on feeling good from the inside out. Build a fire and roast marshmallows, shop with a friend, or take a long walk in the woods. Meditate, workout, read, or listen to music. Feed your soul.
Second, have realistic expectations of others. No one’s family or friends are perfect, and the holidays won’t change this. Since we can’t change them, we need to rely on ourselves to gather what’s positive and let go of the negative. Create new family traditions so they don’t stir up bad memories. If a situation becomes too negative, leave.
Likewise, don’t take relationship stress too personally. If your partner snaps about household clutter because they’re stringing Christmas lights while baking cookies, understand it’s their problem. Don’t let them take their bad mood out on you but don’t react poorly either. After all, love is the true intention of the season and it starts with you.
Posted in November Notes, November tips, Thursday "Words of Wisdom"
Tagged coping with holiday stress, coping with stress, diane sanford, hang in there, healthy relationships, holiday stress relief, living self-care, Perspective, self care tips for women, self-care, self-talk
As I sit here listening to absolutely beautiful music play from www.aholyexperience.com, my thoughts turn to Stacey, my dear co-conspirator at livingselfcare, and how she’s doing. I’ve had a rough few weeks myself with becoming acutely ill after a great vacation, but when I read about her taking her mom in, I thought this post needs to be about her and the generosity of spirit she and many of you have.
Knowing that this decision would raise many discomforts for her, she chose it anyway, as women often do. I am always awestruck by such unselfishness and yet many of us dismiss what we’ve done as obligatory or no big deal. But, it’s so much more than that. It’s about being connected to life at a very deep level and knowing that relationships are the greatest wealth of all. What is more important than loving and being loved? This is what makes life worthwhile.
Please extend your blessings to Stacey and all who are in need of comfort and support as they undertake the challenges life presents. When you awake and when you lie down, offer a prayer of healing for them and you. I will, too.
(Stacey-This one’s for you).
Posted in Living the Self-Care Challenge, Monday Musings, November tips
Tagged coping with stress, diane sanford, LIfe Will Never Be The Same, menopause, motherhood, new moms, parenting, postpartum, pregnancy, self care tips for women, stacey glaesmann
So, it’s November first – the day after the kiddos have dressed up and gone into a sugar coma! Can you believe how quickly this year has gone by? As you’re going about your day and glancing over at the loot left over from last night, consider these tips on how not to overindulge:
- Divide the candy and treats into “portion sizes” and put each portion in a Ziploc baggie (a reasonable portion is 2 – 3 “fun size” candy bars)
- Eat fruit instead of candy when your sweet tooth comes a-calling
- Give yourself permission to eat a portion of candy on certain days (for example, “I may have my portion on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.”)
- If you pig out, don’t thrash yourself. We’re all human and most of us love chocolate! After all, it boosts serotonin and releases endorphins, which elevate mood!
- Use these same tips with your kids – moderation is the key to preventing tummy aches and you’ll be teaching them the importance of a healthy, balanced diet.
Days like Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah are usually filled with all kinds of sweet treats. Having a plan in place before you face the table full of desserts will help you stay on track with your healthy diet. After all, physical health is one of the basics of self-care!
Posted in November Notes, Thursday "Words of Wisdom"
Tagged building new habits, coping with holiday stress, life balance, living life fully, living self-care, Perspective, self care tips for women, self-care, self-help, stacey glaesmann, teaching children responsibility
Diane will be back posting next Monday after she gets back from her fabulous trip to Spain! Hopefully we’ll get to hear all about it!
In the meantime, I wanted to share an experience of my own with you. My family and I recently decided that it was time for my mother to move in with us for several reasons. I felt such a mixture of emotions at the thought: happiness because I’ll see her more and because I’ll be there if she needs anything medically; apprehension because of our past relationship (though it has since been healed); and wariness that I might fall back into my childhood relationship patterns with her.
She’s only been here a couple of days and I have to keep myself from treating her like a guest. My impulse is to ask, “Can I do something or get something for you?” In reality, all she wants is to find her own way and settle into her own routine that is harmonious with ours. My offers to do things for her would just enable her to be more dependent than independent, and neither of us want that.
We have agreed on a code of complete honesty, even if that may mean hurt feelings. We have discovered the hard way through the years that mind reading is just not possible!
This is a big change for all of us, and I struggle to remember that. Holding myself back from offering things and allowing myself to be calm in spite of my mother’s habitual anxiety is a challenge. But my intuition is telling me that this is a good situation, so I’m focusing on an attitude of gratitude instead of stressing out. It’s not easy, but I am worth it – and so are YOU!
Posted in Monday Musings, October Tips
Tagged building new habits, coping with stress, expressing gratitude, healthy communication, healthy relationships, life balance, LIfe Will Never Be The Same, living self-care, mental health, Perspective, Positive thinking, self-care, self-help, self-talk, stacey glaesmann, women
I was in session with a client yesterday who was telling me that she felt her whole life had been one giant obstacle. “Nothing goes right for me,” she said tearfully. She wondered why the people in her life seemed to always take advantage of her or make her feel inferior to them.
As I listened, I took note of her body language. She was slumped down on the couch, holding a pillow on her lap and looking down at the floor as she spoke. She was obviously feeling dejected and defeated.
I asked her to become aware of her body language in that moment. She brought her awareness to the position of her body, noted the pillow on her lap (which she hadn’t realized was even there), and looked up as if a light had just turned on in her mind. “People know things about me before they even meet me, don’t they?” she asked. After I asked for clarification, she wisely replied that her slumped position indicated that she had given up and the pillow on her lap conveyed her general fear of the world (the pillow was protection) and her feelings of helplessness.
Whether we know it or not, body language is a huge part in human communication. You may find someone standoffish but not know why or be introduced to a new person and find them immediately annoying for no obvious reason. Many times, it’s our subconscious picking up and interpreting the other person’s body language.
If someone is standing with their arms folded in front of them, that can be interpreted as standoffish, aggressive and/or unapproachable. The person could be the nicest guy or girl in the world, but his/her posture unwittingly prevents anyone from wanting to get to know them.
As you go about your day, pay attention to your body language. What messages are you sending out to the world by the way you walk, sit, stand and talk? Head up, arms down to your sides in an open position and a straight, but relaxed posture, is more likely to attract the people you would like in your life and put those you already know at ease. If you need to adjust your body language, please practice – and also be on the lookout for the subtle messages you receive from the people around you. You may be surprised at how you interpret folks at first glance!
Posted in October Tips, Thursday "Words of Wisdom"
Tagged building new habits, healthy communication, healthy relationships, mental health, mindfulness, Perspective, self care tips for women, self-care, self-help, stacey glaesmann