It’s been a rough couple of weeks and as a result, my stress has been on the high side.  This week, we had to make a decision to put one of our dogs to rest.  This dog, Pongo, had my heart from the moment I took him out of the freeway in South Florida more than 11 years ago.  We went through several names including Crash because he would get his goofy self running at full speed then not be able to stop before crashing into the wall.  We settled on Pongo after my daughters insisted that should be his name. So Pongo it was.

I will be forever grateful to the doctors and other employees at Companion Animal Hospital for their compassion, guidance and understanding while we were dealing with a difficult situation.  After a painful night for Pongo, we made the call to have him put to sleep and he now rests peacefully in our yard next to our other fur faced family members that have passed on.

We all face many difficult things in our lives from illness, to work related issues, to financial issues, family troubles and more that can cause our stress levels to rise.  I was reminded how much stress can affect us as I became ill the same day we laid Pongo to rest.  After not being sick for quite some time, my stress allowed a cold to jump on me and right now as I write this, my chest feels like an elephant is sitting on it.

Stress is your body’s reaction to both good and bad situations.  In the short-term, stress helps you deal with tough situations.  On the flip side, elevated stress levels can affect us negatively in our thoughts and behaviors.  We may experience headaches, an increase in blood pressure, heartburn, body aches, depression,and the inability to sleep to name a few.  Stress also compromises our immune system which may result in the flu or in my case a bad cold.

Managing stress is not always easy but there are several things that can help you:

  1. If you know what is causing your stress, ask yourself what you can do about it.
  2. Stay on track with eating clean and exercising daily.
  3. Try to keep an upbeat, positive attitude.
  4. Keep in mind that the only person you can change is yourself.  Learn to let go of things you cannot control.
  5. Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Pray, meditate, and practice deep breathing techniques.
  6. Don’t over-schedule your day.  Allow for some down time to relax.
  7. Get enough sleep at night.
  8. Make time for hobbies and other interests.
  9. Spend time with people you love.

Stress is not something we can always control but we can do our best to manage it.  If possible, solve the situation that is causing your stress.  If you can’t solve it immediately, give yourself the time you need to take some deep breaths, get active and connect with other people.

To your health,