Stress is a serious and hot-button topic these days. With so many obligations and expectations of all of us, kids AND adults, it’s easy to get stressed out. That’s why we’re here today. We need to talk about stress, what it does to you, and how we can fight it.
It’s important for us as parents to arm ourselves against stress. If we don’t, it can leak out and spill over into every aspect of our lives. Kids also need the tools that will help them combat stress. The last thing we want is for any of our littles to deal with stress as kids and not know how to fight it.
Bad habits develop when we’re kids, so we need to give them proper ways to handle worries as soon as possible.
What Is Stress?
Stress can include worry, anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed, the list goes on. All of these feelings stem from our emotional response to stress. It’s any point in your day when activities or relationships get to be too much for us to handle, and we react… with stress. (That hardly seems fair at all.)
It can make us feel scared or fearful that we won’t get something done on time. We may lay awake at night worrying incessantly about whatever issue hasn’t been dealt with. Stress can make it impossible to complete tasks.
The worst part? As the stress builds, these symptoms and feelings grow. Taking their toll on our bodies and lives.
How Do We Manage Stress?
Instinctively, when faced with a difficult situation, our bodies release chemicals. These chemical responses are meant to help us fight feelings of worry. We might know them better as “fight or flight” responses. But whatever we call them, they are our brain’s way of telling us what to do in a stressful situation.
In moments like these, you might notice certain biological changes that take place. You may have quicker breathing and/or a faster heart rate. You might even notice your hands shaking or a shivering effect over your entire body. These are the effects of the adrenaline your body releases to give you the ammo you need for the biological fight, flight, freeze, or response.
What Happens When We Can't Manage?
We all go through it, so don’t feel alone. But stress can eat away at us no matter how hard our brains try. Sometimes there are just too many worries or roadblocks, and your adrenaline just isn’t enough to help. In these moments, your body and mind will start to notice a few side effects of stress.
You’ll notice certain coping habits become harder to resist, like emotional eating. Weight gain, high cholesterol, and blood pressure are the effects of eating comfort foods. Items we know to be delicious but usually not nutritious.
Headaches and migraines get worse with increased stress. This can be from sleepless nights, eye strain from trying to focus but finding it impossible. Many of us also clench our jaws during stressful events, giving even the strongest people tension migraines.
We may find it hard to focus and our memory foggy. This is due to the number of items spinning around in our heads all the time. How can we focus on anything when we are thinking about everything?
These are just some of the negative effects of stress, but we think you get the (not so pretty) picture.
So What Can We Do?
There are actually quite a few things we can do to manage stress better. There are vitamins and supplements proven to help our bodies cope better. In addition to stress-combating vitamins, there are plenty of different foods and activities we can add to our daily lives to decrease our anxiety.
For a simple and easy solution, try the ZenPatch. Engineered by The Natural Patch Co., this cheerful sticker releases the perfect blend of essential oils engineered to take you to your happy place. Place a few on you and your kids, and the next thing you know, it’s all chill vibes.
There are six top vitamins that are well-suited for managing stress. They’re easy to source and fit nicely in a morning routine that will keep us calmed and manage stress better right away. We can already feel the worries wash away.
A B vitamin is actually a compound of essential B complexes. They work together to improve our nervous system and improve our heart health. The nervous system regulates our bodies when we respond to stress, and vitamin B helps do so in more positive and productive ways.
What else can it do for us? Help our bodies convert food into energy. This energy is essential to our daily lives. If our bodies are able to metabolize food more adequately, we will feel less tired throughout the day and stay upbeat and positive.
An herb we get from the cold mountains of Russia and Asia, Rhodiola is a supplement our bodies can use well. Our bodies use Rhodiola to help boost concentration and memory. These are both aspects of our brain that are affected by long-term stress.
Rhodiola is also proven to help users with sleep quality. Improving our sleep will lead to better moods, less headaches and body tension and many more.
Also known as ginseng, ashwagandha is a supplement that indigenous tribes have used for centuries. It is said to relieve stress and help the taker manage stress better through its calming effects.
It is also said to counteract feelings of depression. We might not think these are related, but increasing amounts of stress lead to anxiety disorders. These pave the way for depression. By adding Rhodiola to a supplement regime, we help our bodies fight off intense feelings of worry.
L-theanine is a supplement that helps to reduce anxiety through a calming effect on the body. It works by helping the user feel calm in moments of high anxiety. Have a really trying event or task coming up? Try adding L-theanine to your diet to help manage the anxiety and extra tension you might be facing.
This is a supplement that helps the body feel calm and better handle stress. It is proven to help users get better sleep by calming the brain at night. By helping us with better sleep, we are better prepared for trying days ahead.
It’s a little controversial, but kava helps us fight stress. It works by producing a calming effect on our bodies. This calming effect fights off worries by allowing us a calm brain for strenuous activities. The problem lies in the amounts of kava that are safe.
While kava can be used to fight stress and is safe to use, it must be done so in moderation. Only use kava for a few short weeks and always consult a medical professional for the amount safe for you.
We know there are many people that don’t necessarily feel comfortable taking supplements or adding a large number of vitamins to your day.
If this is the case, there are still several ways you can get these vitamins in your diet. There are plenty of foods and drinks that you can add to your daily diet to still get help managing stress.
These are also better ways to add stress-relieving supplements to childrens’ diets. Supplements can be too much for their small bodies. So we add foods to their diets that we know are high in the vitamins and supplements we want them to have. It helps them get the nutrients they need and keeps everyone happy and healthy.
Bitters are a great additive to drinks to help with stomach aches. For many of us, stress affects our gut health most, which leaves us feeling nauseous or our stomachs in pain throughout the day. Bitters work to calm our stomachs and aid in relieving pain.
Tonic water and ginger ale are the best drinks to combine with bitters. These drinks also help relieve stomach issues, so adding bitters is a powerful boost.
Both black and green tea leaves are natural energy and mood boosters. Did you also know that they contain L-theanine? Yes, that supplement we mentioned earlier. Green tea especially has natural amounts of L-theanine in the leaves. So if you’re not comfortable with a supplement, just add a cup of green tea to your daily diet.
Chamomile is another lovely tea option and is naturally caffeine-free. This is ideal for those of us who don’t want or need a caffeine boost in our beverages. Chamomile tea is a variety of flowers that aid in calming your body. Adding this to your nightly routine will help sleep come easier.
Glycine helps our bodies handle stress by producing calming effects. It can be taken as a capsule, but if you don’t feel comfortable with this, try foods rich in glycine. There are a variety of ways to get glycine from your diet. These include salmon, red meats, and legumes.
Adding proteins like filets (high in protein, low in fat) to your monthly or weekly diet will add glycine to your body naturally. Vegan or vegetarian? Peanuts, spinach, and various seeds will also work to improve your glycine levels.
The Omega-3 acids in avocados are an amazing food to combat stress. They provide us with essential fats and acids to our diet. These same acids work to combat stress by helping improve our moods.
Many times stress leads to feelings of depression and prolonged sadness. Omega-3 works to eliminate these feelings from our minds. When we can do that, we can handle stressful events better.
Yes, we just said that. In addition to the heart benefits of dark chocolate, it can also help us fight off stress. The chemical effects of chocolate on our bodies can relieve poor moods and have lasting calming abilities. Chocolate can also be considered a comfort food. But with dark chocolate instead of a milk variety, we can see health benefits as well.
Remember to eat it in moderation. Even dark chocolate can have adverse effects on our bodies if we consume too much. We should also be cognizant of the amount of added sugar in our supply. The higher percentage of pure chocolate might be more bitter but will also leave high amounts of sugar out of the equation.
Activities for Parents and Kids
We know you came for the vitamins, but we have a few activities you need to know about as well. While these supplements are to fight off stress, there are activities you can do to help give those vitamins a boost.
These are family-friendly ways to get moving. Our kiddos will benefit from these stress-relieving activities as much as we will, so don’t leave them out.
Ok, it’s not so much an activity as a necessity, but it’s still something we don’t always get. Kids and adults need adequate sleep each night to prepare mentally and physically for the next day. Lack of sleep leaves our brains ill-prepared for stressors and everyday obligations.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, our SleepyPatches are the best additive to your nightly routine. They’re safe for both kids and parents, and our aromatically delicious blend of lavender, mandarin, vetiver, and sweet marjoram will have you asleep faster and stay asleep all night.
Yoga is a fantastic way to manage stress. Stretching gives us exercise, while this quiet activity gives our brains a rest. We leave feeling refreshed and more confident for the day ahead. It might seem difficult at first, but yoga is a quiet and slow activity.
It’ll give your body an outlet for any unresolved need to move (we are looking at the kids). And your mind will have time to turn off or think deeply about anything troubling you.
Just as your body is working itself out, your mind will be working out too. This is an amazing activity for even the smallest of kids. They’ll learn flexibility and strengthen their bodies. Simultaneously they’ll be learning to motivate themselves to try harder poses and learning to regulate their expectations.
If the family already does so many sports or exercise-related activities, meditation might be what’s missing. It is a quiet time to let our minds wander and think about anything worrisome. Those worries won’t magically fade away, but that quiet time allows us to work out those problems.
Kids can learn to meditate and use breathing exercises when they’re frustrated. It’s a break from whatever activity or assignment is occupying their time and they’re having trouble with. Learning to focus their minds back and breathe out the trouble will help them now and definitely in the future.
Taking a Walk
This is an easy activity that works two-fold. It’s fun for the whole family, so finding time every day for your crew to walk around the block together is excellent. You’ll get time to bond and work out your muscles. And you’ll get time to work out your worries.
The more time you spend as a family, trust and relationship bonds get stronger. It’s a wonderful way to strengthen our bond with the littles and find out what’s worrying them. A lot of our stress comes from the worry that they aren’t content. When we check in on daily walks, those stresses are calmed.
Stress Be Gone!
These are all the best and surest ways to get help managing stress and anxiety. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you for putting yourself first. Your kids too! These are essential building blocks they need and will use for a lifetime. We are confident you can take on anything.