6 Ways to Stay Emotionally STRONG

Each season brings its own stresses: Winter Blues, Spring Stress, Summer FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and Autumn Anxiety.

Add to that hormonal craze that goes hand-in-hand with those wonderful teen years and it's enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed and broken-down. 

*cue the emotional meltdowns*

It doesn't have to stay that way. You can be in control! Being aware of what makes you feel emotionally vulnerable (sometimes called *triggers*) can help you plan for and prepare for minimizing, or even wholly eliminating, the emotional response to these types of meltdowns.

Image:  Pexels

By remembering the acronym STRONG, you can better manage and regulate your emotions

Sleep - Make sure you are getting enough sleep for your body's needs. It's important you are getting these sleeping hours in a row, and at a time that makes sense for your schedule. For example, if you have to wake up and be at school by 7:45am -staying awake until 5am isn't going to work.

Take Your Medicine As Prescribed - You may think you know your body's interactions with medicines than your prescriber does - but the thing is making med changes on your own can be catastrophic! These people give up YEARS of their lives to learn how the body works and be able to recommend and prescribe medications. Trust them and talk with them about your concerns. They'll help you make the necessary adjustments in a safe way.

Also- be honest with your prescriber about your alcohol usage and if you use/abuse illicit drugs/substances (and yes- this includes pot, herbal remedies, and natural supplements).

Routines - Having routines in place can be mentally relaxing and less stressful overall. As humans, we are creatures of habit, and we tend to like it that way. Ever notice how you always put your sock on a particular foot first before the other? That's what I'm talking about!

Being flexible, and not overly rigid is important to allow yourself room if unexpected events pop up (like it raining hard on the day you have to bring your poster project to school!). If your routine is too tied to times, that's not a routine- that's a schedule.

An example of simple morning routine is mine: (1) Wake up and go to the bathroom to splash my face with cool water, put my contacts in, and brush my teeth (2) Feed and walk my dog outside (3) Drink a cup of hot honey lemon water and write in my Five Minute Journal (4) Shower, Get Dressed, and Brush my hair (5) Eat Breakfast (6) Blow-dry my hair & Do my make-up (7) Make sure I have my bag ready and head out the door.

One Thing At A Time - Focus on one thing at a time. It's easy to get lost in the overwhelming sea of "to-dos." Researchers have found that multi-tasking actually causes people to be less productive and take more time to complete their tasks. I suggest putting your phone on silent (I double-dare you to try putting it in airplane mode!). Then set a timer for 25minutes.

For those 25minutes, only focus on one task you have- it might be writing that English paper you've been putting off, or folding and putting away your laundry from the day before. Whatever it is- only focus on that one task. When the 25minutes is over, take a 5 minutes break. After that time, decide if you should shift your focus to a new task or stay with the one you've been working on for the next 25minutes.

This strategy is called a Pomodoro and I use it for everything! If you happen to complete your original task before the original 25minutes are up, then keep going with the next task on your to-do-list. You will be amazed by how this works!

Nutrition - I love the Snickers commercials about turning into a diva when you're hungry - because it is so incredibly true! #relatable If you are not eating enough throughout the day, or you're not engaging in a well-balanced diet, you're likely to enter the realm of hangry (hunger = anger). Don't skip breakfast- even if it's just a piece of fruit. If you're having trouble managing a well-balanced, healthy diet- make sure you check in with your Primary Care Physician or a Registered Dietician who can help.

Get Moving - That's right- move your body every single day. Depending on who you reference, there's different intensities and types of exercise you can do, though a good rule of thumb is about 20-30minutes per day. This can include walking, yoga, bodyweight strength-training. Of course, check in with your PCP before you start any exercise program to make sure you don't need any modifications. This isn't about going hard on day one and hurting yourself so you can't exercise for a month.

I Want to Know!

How are you doing in each of these areas? Are you working it? Having trouble in one area? Didn't even know an area could affect your emotional strength? Make sure you let us know in the Comments below.

Want to talk with me LIVE about it!? I am going to be doing 6 mini-Facebook Lives (I'm talking less than 10minutes) about each of these areas on the following days/times:

  • Tuesday 1/23 at 10am - Sleep
  • Wednesday 1/24 at 10am - Take your medicine as prescribed
  • Thursday 1/25 at 10am - Routines
  • Tuesday 1/30 at 10am - One thing at a time
  • Wednesday 1/31 at 10am - Nutrition
  • Thursday 2/1 at 10am - Get moving

If you have a question you want me to address, make sure you e-mail it to me at help@mallorygrimste.com

Don't Miss Out! Be sure to "Like" my Facebook page over at facebook.com/mallorygrimste - While you're there, you should make sure you click "See First" and Notifications "On" so you never miss an update. 

Want even more positive influences in your teen's life? Teen Girls Therapy Group is a weekly space where your teen girl can connect with others dealing with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. By talking and learning together, they learn to feel better about the relationships they have with themselves and others.

If you want to secure your teen's spot- complete your complimentary 15-min parent phone screening at 203-228-8971 or completing the contact form here.

Mallory Grimste, LCSW - Teen Therapist

Mental Health Counseling for Anxious Tweens, Teens, and Young Adults | Woodbridge, CT