Check out Dr. Davis’ featured insights on the LittleThings
Women are stressed to the max, but there’s a good reason. Stress is a feminist issue, according to Dr. Michele Kambolis, a mind-body health specialist, registered therapist, meditation teacher, and acclaimed author and speaker who has been practicing for more than 20 years. In her new book, When Women Rise: Everyday Practices to Strengthen Your Mind, Body, and Soul, she discusses topics including how women have learned to navigate our lives in fear, postpartum depression and anxiety, gender inequality, and financial inequity and how they all tie into a women’s mental health.
We all want to set ourselves up for less stress as we navigate 2022, so LittleThings went straight to the experts for tips.
Dr. Kambolis tells LittleThings, “It’s difficult to attend to our inner world when our physical body needs attention. Imagine trying to give full presence and attention to your inner experience when your nervous system is taxed and you haven’t slept well in days, or you’re hungry because you’ve skipped your last meal, or your heart is racing from an argument you just had with your boss. If our physical and safety needs are not tended to, it’s difficult to be present enough to give our fullest attention to the work of inner knowing and self-actualization.
“Every woman’s process of discovery will be different. What you choose to integrate into your life will be unique to you. You may find yourself going through the doorways of breath work, or perhaps meditation or the alchemy of sleep will speak most intimately to you. The message I want you to know — the one I wish I had been told myself — is that anxiety is not the enemy. It is our invitation to profound and meaningful growth.”
She suggests cutting back on stimulants because they can exacerbate anxiety, doing breathing exercises first thing in the morning, offloading as much as you can and resting, limiting technology (she notes it takes your brain 20 minutes to return to a peaceful baseline after just one email), supporting your body with movement, immersing yourself in nature, and practicing mantras.
Dr. Shirley Davis, author of the book Living Beyond “What If?” Release the Limits and Realize Your Dreams, says if you want to start 2022 off with less stress, begin with learning the art and the value of saying no.
Dr. Davis tells LittleThings, “Sometimes we obligate ourselves to take on tasks that we should not be taking on in the first place. Rather than using passive-aggressive behavior, feeling frustrated, and living with regret, we can use assertive behavior by simply saying ‘no’ and staying true to our priorities and staying in our lane.”
Jennie Marie Battistin, Hollywood therapist and bestselling author, encourages her clients to adopt one mindfulness habit to help them increase balance and gratitude and enhance their ability to handle stress.
“As I make my coffee, I name three things I am grateful for at this moment,” she tells LittleThings. “This habit is like adding coins to the happiness bank, which can help offset life stress.”
Battistin warns of making resolutions, saying, “Sometimes we can create more stress by piling on the New Year’s resolution with an all-or-nothing approach. Break them down into smaller, manageable goals.”
Meg O’Neill, a life coach who offers intuitive coaching and energy healing, shares with LittleThings that you can create some kind of daily practice. “It can be very simple,” she says.
“For example, five minutes of breathing or meditation, gratitude journaling, or simply a walk in nature. Disconnect from the noise and spend some time reconnecting to your body, mind, and spirit.”
Stephanie Rosenfield, a parent and life coach who helps moms embrace their individuality and build healthy relationships with their kids and partners, notes, “What we think about increases the stress that we feel.” She tells LittleThings, “Most of us are in thought all day long. Usual go-to’s to numb out stressful feelings are binging Netflix, scrolling social media, or constant eating. These things don’t work long term.” Instead, she suggests, “Ways to get ‘above the thoughts’ and decrease the stressful feelings are to listen to music, move your body, or laugh. The goal is to get into your body and out of your thoughts.”
You can also unfollow, delete, unfriend, and block toxic and unhealthy people from your life, who can oftentimes cause stress without you even realizing it, according to Dr. Davis. “Make sure you’re only surrounded with quality, supportive, and mutually beneficial relationships,” she advises.
Kristin Micalizzi, a Reiki master teacher and coach who helps women grow and scale their business while using intuition and authenticity, shares with LittleThings, “Prioritize activities that light you up. Spend some time turning inward and getting curious about what excites you and carve out time for more of that in 2022.”
To offset financial stress, live within your means and spend less than you have coming in, according to Shari Greco Reiches, wealth manager, behavioral finance expert, and author of Maximize Your Return on Life: Invest Your Time and Money in What You Value Most.
“Do this and everything else will fall into place,” Reiches tells LittleThings. “Live beyond your means and you will face stress and anxiety. Your flexibility to make life and career decisions will be limited. Your relationships will be negatively impacted. If you find that you are living beyond your means, you have the power to change. It starts with using your core values — the priorities that you value most in your life — as a guide to budgeting and spending.”
Suzanne Sibilla, a licensed marriage and family therapist and business-life strategist with over 20-plus years of experience, recommends a “10-minute talk out.”
She tells LittleThings, “Find a supportive and encouraging friend to talk out your concerns and challenges. Schedule a Zoom, FaceTime, or phone call. Tell your friend that you’ll talk out your concerns for 10 minutes. Have your friend listen to you without giving advice or passing judgment, and do the same for your friend.”
Unni Turrettini — author, speaker, facilitator, and loneliness expert — advises prioritizing positive relationships and giving back. “Being able to help makes us feel seen, heard, and valued,” she tells LittleThings. “Contribution takes focus away from our problems and makes us feel like we matter.”
Spencer Snakard, professional certified coach (PCC), wants you to get honest and ask yourself what you actually get out of being stressed. “While you may be painfully aware of the costs — or punishments — of being stressed, most of us are completely unaware that we are also experiencing payoffs — or rewards — for it,” Snakard tells LittleThings. “Being honest with yourself about what you’re getting out of being stressed can give you the freedom to let it go.”
Dr. Bethany Cook, author of For What It’s Worth, says to shift your perspective. “Does the house really need to be spotless? Must you go to your in-laws every weekend per their request? Can you shift your internal voice to speak kinder to yourself when you mess up?”
Dr. Erik Korem, an expert in sleep and stress resilience, recommends treating your anxiety with exercise.
D’TaRelle F. Tullis says that when you’re in the moment, “Have a redirect phrase that gets you back on track, like, ‘I am choosing peace rather than this.’ Or you can just say the word ‘peace,’ while breathing deeply.”
James Bake, COO of BestSelf, notes, “We often worry about the next part of our lives without realizing that we are right in the middle of what we used to look forward to. It’s easy to get lost in ticking boxes and running on the goal-achieving hamster wheel, without making space to acknowledge and celebrate where we are and what we’ve accomplished. One of my favorite things to do is to write out my wins for the day. Especially on days when I’m feeling empty or frustrated. Whether they are big or small, taking that moment to be appreciative of the things that are in my life now helps me connect with the present and I don’t feel as lost worrying about the future.”
Remember, stress may be a feminist issue, but you have girl power to get through it in meaningful and healthy ways that fit your lifestyle.