Stress enters our lives in many shapes and forms. Appropriate stress is healthy and useful – and can even help one rise to the challenge and face tough situations with strength and stamina. Stress can also be overwhelming and cause distress – such as anxiety, tension or irritability.
We’ve been talking a lot about dealing with stress throughout the holiday season on Post Rock Extension’s Facebook, Twitter, and Blog. Nora Rhoades, District Family and Youth Development Agent, provides a wealth of information to better understand how stressors impact individuals, and teaches practical strategies that can be helpful with managing stress. Here’s some tips:
- Set expectations – Talk to your family, children, friends, and co-workers about expectations during the holidays. Be open with them if money is an issue. Use this as an opportunity to teach youth about the value of money and responsible spending. Be realistic. Take small steps to deal with holiday tasks instead of overwhelming yourself with goals that are too far reaching.
- Keep things in perspective – Try to consider stressful situations in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing events out of proportion. Model how to keep things in perspective, including what type and the number of gifts to give and receive.
- Make connections – Good relationships with family and friends are important. View the holidays as a time to reconnect with people. Volunteering is a good way to connect with others. Remember that accepting help and support from those who care about you can help decrease the impact of stressors.
- Take care of yourself – Pay attention to your own needs and feelings during the holiday season. Engage in activities you enjoy and find relaxing. Evaluate your calendar and commitments to ensure you do something you enjoy each day. Taking care of yourself helps keep your mind and body healthy and primed to deal with stressful situations.
- Cut back on device use – Instead of dialing into a gadget, go for a walk or play a board game with a friend. This promotes activity and distances you from sluggish time and possible influence from media which may not align with your expectations and values.
- Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness helps calm the body and quiet the mind. Especially during busy seasons like the holidays, it is important to practice focused breathing and other self-soothing activities. Experiencing the joy of the season will be much easier when you slow down, stop, and pay attention to the wonder of the moment around you.
By: Nora Rhoades
Coach Mark Potter & his wife Nanette provide a real, relevant, and raw story of their personal experience with severe depression. Mark discovered a person can have victory over mental illness and he shares his experiences to help others. Nanette will share her perspective and give the caregiver practical suggestions to assist. Mark shares his story of overcoming obstacles and even suicidal thoughts. He shares practical ideas to help everyone train their brain and be able to practice mental health and wellness strategies.
Event will be held on November 18th from 6:30-9:30pm at the Blair Theater Center for the Arts at 1310 19th St., Belleville, KS.
For more information contact the River Valley District at (785) 325-2121.
By: Ashley Svaty
Life is full of rituals. A ritual is ceremony or action performed regularly when triggered by an event, tradition, or specific family interaction. Healthy rituals create environments that promote belongingness and security.
Life is also full of routines. Adults and children rely on routines to learn and progress. The human brain desires patterns and predictability; a clear pattern supports continuity.
It is important to acknowledge that both routines and rituals are essential components of a satisfying lifestyle. To avoid assuming they are the same visualize the distinction: A ritual is round and full of meaning while a routine is flat, functions like a machine, and is without meaning. In the chaos of life, we may allow valuable rituals to digress into a routine, becoming stripped of the positive connection it contributes toward the sustainability of strong relationships.
Healthy rituals are enjoyable, explore the meaning of life, and provide opportunities to empower and encourage relationships. While rituals are unique for each individual, relationship, and family, they generally fulfill the purposes of:
- Relating: communicating, concern for others, problem-solving, balance of individual and together time, joint decision-making
- Changing: adapting to a new developmental stage of life, adjusting to a new environment or set of expectations, responding to crisis
- Healing: forgiveness, coping with loss, resilience
- Believing: sense of identity, values affirmation, acknowledgement of an experience
- Celebrating: recognizing special events, holidays, and accomplishments
Examine your rituals as we dive into the holiday season. Ask yourself: Is the ritual meaningful to all individuals involved? Does it create stress for anyone? Is the ritual safe, healthy, and an advocate for overall wellness? Is it enjoyable?
Reflect on high stress and unfocused times during your day. The times when your heart and mind seek to feel united with others is a signal that you need a ritual to regain positive energy. A challenging transition can be overcome by incorporating a new ritual or by making changes to one that has lost its value.
By: Nora Rhoades
While cigarette smoking among youth has declined, the use of other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes has increased. In their efforts to eventually hook kids on tobacco, the tobacco and vaping industries target young people by using three primary tactics – making products sweet, cheap, and easy to get.
Talk with Your Kids. Talking with your kids about vaping is one of the most important things you can do. Below are tips to help you prepare for and start the conversation.
- Be patient and ready to listen. Your goal is to have a conversation, not to deliver a lecture. So avoid criticism and encourage an open dialogue.
- There is no “perfect time” to talk. Driving in the car together or waiting at an appointment is often the best time. You can start by mentioning a news story, a TV show, or something that you heard about vaping. Or ask your child what he or she thinks about a situation you witness together such as seeing someone use an e-cigarette, passing a vape shop when you are out, or seeing an e-cigarette advertisement.
- There is no “perfect talk.” Consider your talks with your child about vaping as a learning opportunity for both of you, and perhaps just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. You may have some facts about vaping at hand, but concede that you don’t know all the answers. It will go a long way to keep your kids from going on the defensive.
- Ask what your child thinks. Show some genuine curiosity. Ask your child, “What’s your take on vaping?” or “Do you know kids who use e-cigarettes?”
- Be open and honest. Be truthful about what you know about the dangers of vaping, and what you don’t. You can honestly say, though, “Vaping isn’t harmless. I hope you can steer clear of it.”
You can’t always control everything your children do when they’re not with you. Talking with your kids about vaping will let them know that you’re concerned about their health.
The information and resources shared in this article are from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at http://makesmokinghistory.org/. You can also find helpful resources, from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, at https://resisttobacco.org/.
By: Nora Rhoades
A relationship is defined by emotional, social, physical, and spiritual wellness. Balancing wellness is a never-ending challenge, but continued effort can have lasting positive impacts for yourself and your relationships.
To learn more about maintaining a healthy relationship, checkout Why Good Health Matters in Relationships, a tip sheet made available by the National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage & Families.
By: Nora Rhoades
As 2018 comes to a close and you look toward 2019, we encourage you to focus on improving your health and wellness. K-State Research and Extension has a great resource, Action Plan for Health Living, which can help you set goals throughout the New Year that can truly enhance your quality of life. Remember to reach out to the Post Rock District Agent Team as you work toward your goals. We are happy to assist and support you!
By: Nora Rhoades
The most important asset on a farm is a healthy farmer. Farm and ranch families experience more stress during challenging economic times. In a profession where the farmer has little control over stressors like the weather, policy or prices, having a wellness strategy can make difficult times more manageable. Check out 12 Tools for Your Wellness Toolbox as you examine your strategy. Contact, Nora Rhoades at email@example.com or 785-346-2521, for assistance developing a personal strategy or exploring more resources.
By: Nora Rhoades