Hi! I’m Jenna. Welcome to The Spark Wellness Newsletter. I’m a holistic mental wellness coach. I operate at the intersection of mental health, self-care, nutrition and REAL LIFE.
This is what you can expect to receive in my weekly(ish) newsletter:
- Strategies for managing stress and overwhelm
- Evidence-based research and recommendations you can use to take care of your mental wellness
- Recipes and insights that can help you use good mood foods to boost your energy – the best antidote to stress!
Curious? You can also check out my bio and my work here.
I've still got spots open for 1-1 clients. There is still time to take action on your wellness goals for this year and, at the same time, build a foundation for success for next year. Reply to this message and I'll send you more information.
Can gratitude help reduce stress?
Having a little pressure to meet deadlines is good. When I'm working on things that get me energized and excited to start work, I'm more productive. Feeling some pressure from deadlines, helps me cross things off my to-do list every day.
This is what researchers call "good stress." It motivates us to get going and it helps us meet challenges. Physically, our bodies are alert and attentive to what's going on. There's just enough stress to make us feel alive and excited. Without this stress we would lack motivation, it would be hard to get things done and life would get boring!
It's a good feeling. We go looking for this feeling with rollercoaster rides, travelling, going on a first date, taking on big projects with quick decisions and tight deadlines, or applying for a new job. Anything that's pushing our boundaries. We know we can grow from being challenged, and our body responds to the challenge by providing more energy, more focus and more adrenaline.
But living on adrenaline or constantly being stressed (even with good stress) isn't sustainable. There's a fine line between being energized and excited, and being overstimulated and overwhelmed. It's the difference between being excited about enjoying the rush of a rollercoaster and being frozen in fear.
I can tell the difference when it's hard to slow down at night. When it feels like I'm going at 110% until I collapse into bed, that's too much. For me, I start to notice my stomach feeling unsettled. I have butterflies in my stomach all that time. I find it hard to slow down and be present. My mind is racing, getting ready for the next step when I want to take a break from thinking and planning and organizing. My appetite increases like I need to eat more to keep my energy up but I'm looking for sugary foods that will give a quick boost. And, my anxiety symptoms increase - trouble sitting still, always on edge, short temper and feeling defensive - and I can quickly get overwhelmed.
If I'm paying attention, I'll notice the signs of overwhelm. I'll notice that I'm going from energized to anxious.
In response, I can increase my self-care activities by decreasing the amount of time I'm spending on my computer and phone, being intentional about getting outside for a walk, drinking more water and choosing foods that provide my body with sustainable energy.
3 Ways to Use Gratitude to Help Manage Stress in Your Life
Gratitude is powerful - and there's research to support its benefits for our physical and emotional health, but I won't go into it here.
When I'm focusing on what's going well, I find my mind slows down and I'm more present. It also helps me shift from the overwhelm of everything going on in the world, the piles of dirty dishes and the number of emails I need to answer, to the good things in my life and to what I'm doing well.
November seems to be a month filled with gratitude challenges. Maybe it's because we celebrate Remembrance Day in Canada, which reminds us of the people who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Maybe it's because of Thanksgiving in the US, an admittedly complex holiday based on the value of giving thanks. Maybe the change of season makes us appreciate the long sunny days of summer, or maybe we're getting more focused on being generous and giving with the holidays coming.
Here are 3 ways to use gratitude:
1. Start and end your day with gratitude. Think of at least 3 things you're grateful for every day before you get out of bed. By starting your day with gratitude, you're primed to look for more things that you appreciate in the day. Return to gratitude at the end of the day to reflect on what went well, especially when it feels like nothing went as planned. Starting and ending your day in this way helps you zoom in and find the nuggets of goodness each day.
2. Write a thank you note to someone. It can be someone alive or dead, someone you know or who has made a difference in your life from a distance, or even yourself or a part of yourself. You don't need to send the note, but you can if you want. Write down all the reasons you are thankful for that person. You can also write to a situation or circumstance like the start of winter, the day your cell phone broke or the lovely dinner you prepared.
3. I'm offering a Gratitude Reset ebook with activities and affirmations to help you quiet your busy mind and activated body. This powerful exercise can help you find peace and calm when you're overwhelmed and not feeling good enough.
|Download the Gratitude Reset|
Take care and be well,
Jenna Kelland (she/her), PhD (Adult Education)
Holistic Mental Wellness Coach
P.S. Do you need some 1-1 support with creating daily routines that support your wellness? Let's finish off the year with a focus on your self-care. I've got 3 spots for new coaching clients. Reply to this email to find out more about how we can work together.
Check out my latest blog post: The Relationship Between Stress and Nutrition
I'm on Facebook and Instagram @SparkWellnessNutrition