I began posting links to articles and resources on this topic when I launched Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog back in 2011. I was living in San Antonio, Texas at the time. For several years, I received email requests for advice from readers about preparing oneself to write, how to focus one’s attention, how to reduce stress and the like. I was surprised to learn how stressful writing and blogging were to some! I decided to devote more attention to responding.
Today, we continue to see societal disruption across the world. Stress is often the byproduct of this state of affairs. Hence, I will continue to update this page as I find resources that I like for managing stress and for healthy living overall.
How I Deal With Stress
- During COVID-19, I began searching for relaxing video channels. While working on nonprofit fundraising and communications, I often play relaxing videos on my flat screen television. These provide a calming and cozy working environment and I recommend them highly. You might enjoy some of my YouTube favorites: Autumn Cozy, Calmed by Nature, Coffee Shop Ambience, Coffee Shop Music, Coffee Shop Vibes, Cosmic Resort, Cozy Coffee Shop, Cozy Rain, My Ambience, Nature Relaxation Films, New Bliss, and Tim Janis.
- I find that a regular schedule of exercise is essential. Currently, I walk approximately 1.5 miles a day (every day). You might enjoy the Apple Watch fitness app, Time to Walk. I do track my walks using the Health app on my iPhone.
- Healthy eating makes a big difference. I prepare most meals at home and the majority are made from scratch. Recently, I adopted a lower calorie, lower fat diet and I have shed some unwanted pounds! I feel great. To see a few of my favorite new recipes, follow this link to my Pinterest board.
- With COVID-19 in mind, I find my longtime use of NeilMed saline sinus rinse works wonders (yes, that is just salt and water). I started using NeilMed when I moved back to Austin in 2013, with my intense allergy to “cedar” in mind. I also find high quality heating/air conditioning filters can change one’s life and environment dramatically for the better. These filters are worth the investment and can be found in most of the “big box” stores, in some grocery stores and on Amazon.com, for instance. Stock tip: If NeilMed ever goes public, buy.
- I did not expect it but launching my blog back in 2011 has proven to be very therapeutic. Organizing one’s thoughts, reviewing past experiences and accomplishments (the good and the not-so-good), and creating polished publicly accessible blog posts (which takes care and attention to detail), helps one process a vast amount of life experiences. Going through my personal and family papers and fully absorbing the contents has also been a positive mental health exercise. I recommend both activities highly. I come from a family of pioneers. They mostly looked forward and not backward. But being partly an historian, my tendency is to look back but also forward, which sums up Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog pretty well.
Sleep = “Mail Merge”
Adequate rest is essential. By nature, I require a longer sleep cycle. But I did not pay attention to it until the past decade. Now that I know what being rested really feels like, I will never forget. And I do not stay up late at night (not very often, in any case).
When I was younger and computers first came into widespread use (ca. the 1980s), one entered a lot of data in order to set up a “mail merge,” which back then took a long time. One had to set up the process, then leave the computer alone to do its work of sorting. I often scheduled this task late in a workday, and then I was able to leave the computer to complete the task overnight.
For me, sleep is a kind of “mail merge” for my mind. I find when I get a good rest, I wake up with a fresh perspective, less stress, greater ability to focus and often, new ideas have been generated. During the last economic downturn in the early 2010s, few nonprofits felt confident enough to launch major gift campaigns. I took this down time to get fully rested, to have routine medical check-ups, to return to my love of home cooking, to review and organize family history documents and to begin donating the more significant items to libraries, to launch my blogs (this one and my Tumblr), and I also learned the basics of social media. But what also happened is many new ideas were generated. You can read about some of them on this page. The world would be a better place if human beings would allow their bodies to rest and conduct human “mail merge.”
A Few Outside Resources
- About.com, “How Can I Clear My Mind?”
- American Heart Association, “Stress Management.”
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Tips for Coping with Stress.”
- CNN Health has become a more frequent resource for me during COVID-19.
- Ruth Gardner-Loew is a friend I met in Austin when I moved back in 2013, and she has a Healthy Interiors business. A healthy interior means healthier breathing reduced stress and less toxicity overall. If you would like a personal introduction, send me an email (secure contact form available on this website).
- Heidi Grant Halverson for Harvard Business Review, “Nine Ways Successful People Defeat Stress” (December 2012).
- Johns Hopkins Medicine maintains a section of its website on stress, under “Health.” They note, “Emotional stress can undermine your health, potentially impacting high blood pressure, susceptibility to illness, abuse of drugs or alcohol, less able to fight disease, and increasing the likelihood of depression. Most people experience some level of stress but there are ways to prevent it from becoming overwhelming.”
- Kerri-Ann Jennings for Healthline shares, “16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety” (August 28, 2018). “Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.”
- Mayo Clinic, “Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress,” (2018) and, “Stress relievers: Tips to tame stress” (2019). In fact, Mayo Clinic has an entire section of its website focused on stress.
- Laura Nathan-Garner for M.D. Anderson, “5 Ways to Cut Stress.”
- National Alliance on Mental Fitness, “Managing Stress.”
- Speaking of apps, I searched for “calming apps” in the App Store and found many, like Headspace and AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game. Check them out!
- Thrive Global covers a variety of topics including how to reduce stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You might like to sign up on the website to receive email updates. They also provide helpful information for employers.
- Tiny Buddha, “30 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You’re Feeling Down” (n.d.).
- WebMD, “10 Tips to Manage Stress” (n.d.).
I am not a medical doctor. I urge readers to conduct their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. Having said that, the information provided on this page works for me, and I welcome your questions.
Image of the gentleman in the hammock was created by me with Adobe Creative Cloud.