If you are like most people, when stress and chaos (“a storm”) increases in your daily life, you probably rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms to manage it (i.e., you may go to a store (or online) to buy things to make yourself feel better; you ignore the problem and hope it goes away; you smoke or drink alcohol or caffeine, or you overeat, etc). But the truth is, these strategies are not effective or healthy in the long term, nor are they in line with your weight loss goals. Therefore, you need to practice stress management techniques that support your new healthy lifestyle. So, the next time you are “in a storm”, try these relaxation exercises instead of turning to your old unhealthy coping strategies.
The 5-5-5-5-5 Exercise
(Adapted from 50 more ways to soothe yourself without food, by Susan Albers, PsyD.)
Grab a piece of paper and write down:
- 5 people: List 5 people you can call when you feel stressed, overwhelmed, upset, or need to vent.
- 5 ways you like to relax: List 5 ways you can de-stress (i.e., take a hot shower or bath, put your feet up, take a few deep breaths, etc.)
- 5 places you can go to calm down (i.e., your bedroom, a quiet space where you cannot be bothered, outdoors, etc).
- 5 things you can say to yourself (i.e., I can do this, this too shall pass, etc).
- 5 activities to distract yourself (i.e., start a puzzle, color, watch a movie, etc.)
Hang this list in an easy to see location and look at it when you need to self-soothe or relax. Then, do the activity for at least 5 minutes.