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3 Ways to Make the Most of a Major Life Transition

How to manage stress

Major life transitions can be exciting and wonderful. And, of course, they can be dark and heartbreaking. Either way, the potential for troubling stress is always there, especially for those of us dealing with a mood or anxiety disorder. But never fear, Chipur reader, our guest-writer Jennifer has some really helpful tips…

You may feel as though you unwind when you check email, read a book on a tablet, play a game, or scroll through social media, but scientists find that screen time disrupts our sleep.

Jennifer dropped me a line a while back and asked if she could guest write for Chipur. Heck, she even had the subject matter rarin’ to go, which I thought was cool. But what got her offer through the gate? She’s a lifelong anxiety disorder sufferer with some bouts with depression tossed-in. Bam!

Jennifer blogs at Spiritfinder with the theme “Stop paralyzing yourself, once and for all.”

So enough intro, let’s get going. The floor’s yours, Jennifer…

3 Ways to Make the Most of a Major Life Transition

Whatever major life transition you are going through probably has you feeling nervous and excited all at once.

Any time you reach a milestone age, end a relationship, move, lose a loved one, or experience any period of transition, your attitude has a lot to do with how you handle it. So decide to make the most of your major life transition by replacing bad habits with healthy ones to aid in removing the stress from your life, and create a healthy home environment that supports your new, improved lifestyle.

1. Swap Your Electronics for a Book at Night

How do you treat depressionOne bad habit to break as part of your major life transition is using electronics at bedtime. You may feel as though you unwind when you check email, read a book on a tablet, play a game, or scroll through social media, but scientists find that screen time disrupts our sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 89% of adults have at least one electronic device in their bedroom and 95% of people use an electronic device within an hour of bedtime. Yet, studies show that people who use electronic devices have half the melatonin, a chemical that regulates sleep patterns, of those who don’t. They also found that circadian rhythms are delayed by approximately an hour and a half.

Additionally, people who use electronic devices require 10 more minutes to fall asleep and have about 10 fewer minutes of deep REM sleep each night.

Consider swapping your electronic device for a book. Reading before bed has healthy benefits that go beyond helping people fall asleep faster. When we sleep well, we have lower levels of stress, improved brain health, and improved memory. People experiencing mild symptoms of depression and anxiety find that reading a book alleviates their symptoms, too.

So pick up a traditional book and read right before bedtime to improve your sleep, lower your stress levels, and improve your mental state.

2. Make Your Home a Haven for Relaxation

How can I reduce stressAccording to research, home environments have a significant impact on your well-being. Take advantage of your major life transition to overhaul your home and turn it into a haven for relaxation.

First, you need to consider the type of lighting you have. Rooms with bright light positively affect depression and anxiety, so remove heavy drapes and window treatments and allow more natural lighting into your home.

If you need to rearrange your furniture to allow more sunlight inside, place furniture in a way that fosters interactions with loved ones. Use comfortable chairs and arrange them in a circle that will encourage visitors and family members to sit and talk with one another.

If you are going to create a healthy home environment, you also need to break one bad habit that too many people have: living in a cluttered home. Princeton researchers found clutter reduces your abilities to focus and process information. If you have a messy hall or mudroom that you enter each day, you risk increasing your stress levels from the moment you get home.

Additionally, a clean and organized entrance will entice you to put your shoes, bags, and coats away when you get home and help you remain clutter and stress-free at home.

3. Make Activity a Part of Life

Why do I get anxiousAnother bad habit you need to break as part of your major life transition is coming home and spending all evening on the couch watching television. While it is important to relax at home, it also as important for you to get regular physical activity. Replace your “Netflix and chill” plans with “Netflix and move” plans at least four times a week.

One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable for increasing your physical activity at home is moving some exercise equipment into the television room. Most people can fit a yoga mat under their couch or a set of aerobic weights inside an end table or coffee table.

Some create stations around their living room so they can increase their heart rate by exercising while watching. Try putting a jump rope, dumbbells, and exercise ball in corners of the room so you can move from station to station while watching your favorite shows.

In closing, a period of transition is an ideal time to swap bad habits for healthy ones and change your life for the better. Swap your electronics for a book at night, create a healthy home environment that invites relaxation, and make physical activity a part of your nightly television routine.

Thank You, Jennifer

And there you have it, some very helpful tips for anyone trying to make the best of a major life transition. I, for one, appreciate them, as well as the links Jennifer took the time to provide. And she really is a very good writer.

So hearty thanks, Jennifer. And, readers, be sure to check-out her work at Spiritfinder.

Hey, speaking of making the most of a major life transition, why not peruse some Chipur titles? You’ll no doubt find the articles helpful.