We can’t stop stress from being a part of our life but we can help minimize it. The way stress affects one person can be completely different to another. Often it’s the small stresses and aggravations that build up over time that ultimately result in a crisis. Or it could be the stress from a loss of a job or family or friend. But what can we do about these stresses in our lives? First we must recognize, accept, and manage the stress that is affecting you. Chronic stress has been shown to affect your immune system, increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and developed underlying conditions like anxiety or depression. But what can we do about all the stress? First recognize when you are stressed. Do you snap at others or just get headaches? Also look for those same clues in others so you can recognize when they are stressed. Understanding when stress is present in our lives is the first step. Once you see those signs you should try and do things that are relaxing to your mind and body. Put on relaxing music, read a book, light a candle, enjoy coffee or some time with a family member or friend. Take a moment to take some deep breaths slowly. While clearing your mind. It may sound silly but it does help your body relax and your mind to clear. Sleep is one of the most important things we can do to help our body and minds recover from stress. These days it’s hard for us to get 8 hours of sleep but it really is needed for so many health reasons. But you should also consider taking a short nap. Naps can refresh our body’s and minds to relieve stress. We all need to take the time to understand our feelings and why we are stressed. Talk about it with a family member. Sometimes some understanding and a hug is all that’s needed to clear the mind and help you tackle what’s ahead. But recognizing that the priority may also not be you is important. Other family members may be in need of your support as well. Every one of us is going through our own struggles and understanding that while you have your stress to overcome, a family member may need you also. Together you can support each other when needed. Take the time for family. I can’t express that enough. You need time together to laugh and enjoy life! Remember other fun memories around a table of great food, candles, or fireplace’s. If we only recognize each other in the bad times then we have no good memories and arguments can arise. Our families are the rock of our whole lives. Our center and ultimately are a reminder of who we are. We need to lean on each other, be there for each other to support, but most of all enjoy each other. Make a point to take the time for each other. Sometime family doesn’t always get along, but remembering that everyone has their own stresses they are working on can help.