How to Build Your Emotional Resilience Toolbox to Manage StressBy Brian A. Stenzler, M.Sc, D.C. and Amber Trueblood, MBA, LMFT If you read any of my book DREAM Wellness, you would already know that the purpose of the 5 Keys (to Raising Kids for a Lifetime of Physical and Mental Health) are ultimately to help everyone avoid and adapt to chemical, physical and emotional stressors. In this Wellness Wiki, I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to interview my friend Amber Trueblood, LMFT, bestselling author of Stretch Marks and her soon to be released book, The Unflustered Mom. Amber will help you overcome emotional stressors that can lead to overwhelm and burnout, especially if you’re raising children. Amber, you’re a mom of four boys and a licensed marriage and family therapist. I can’t help but think that this topic is personal to you and probably drives your passion. What message would you like to start with to other busy people out there, especially parents?
As parents, we all face daily stressors in one way or another. But a scary reality is that many of us are dealing with daily stress that is chronic in nature and causing a negative impact on our mental and physical well-being. This impacts how we show up in the world, how we feel, and how we parent.
I don’t need to go down the entire list of things that are causing us all stress in today’s world. It all varies slightly but you know what the common stressors are – finances, household & parenting responsibilities, career, relationship conflicts, illness and unexpected life events (job loss, death in the family, natural disaster).
Many of us are dealing with multiple stressors at the same time and we feel stretched to the maximum. There is little to no time to pause and engage in self-care that is both supportive and helps us build emotional resilience to manage through adulthood’s many challenges. Or you might be carving out time for self-care, but it might not be true self-care and instead just be surface-level self-care that doesn’t build the toolbox.One of my favorite phrases I use when I do talks – and it’s even in my book, “There are two things in this world; things you can control and things you can’t control… and one thing you can always control is how you respond to the things you can’t control.” I understand that your concept of an emotional resilience toolbox covers this very issue; controlling how you respond to the things you can’t control. Can you please delve more deeply into that toolbox and the different forms of self-care; and even provide a practical exercise?
That’s right Brian, we can’t control many of the stressors that we encounter as adults, but we can control how we manage through them. That’s what I mean when I talk about building an emotional resilience toolbox through true self-care.
True self-care is any activity or practice that creates joy AND increases levels in your emotional bank account. It refuels you. And it doesn’t always look like some sort of luxurious experience. We are not talking a day at the spa here, even though that is always nice. The spa form of self-care falls under surface self-care. Let’s take a look at both.
- Provides LASTING effects which refuel you emotionally and physically longer than the time you’re actually doing the activity.
- Creates a DEEP positive shift when done regularly. This practice energizes and allows you to feel more relaxed, flexible, forgiving, appreciative, and compassionate with yourself and others.
- Becomes a HABIT easily. Because of the lasting effects and deep benefits, true self-care becomes self-reinforcing very quickly.
- Only feels great WHILE you’re doing it. (In fact, it can actually lead you to feel LESS calm and MORE irritable in the long run.)
- May be an activity that is refueling to others, but not to you.
- Can feel more like an obligation than a fun, interesting, or exciting activity.
If you’re not sure what true self-care is for you…
- Ask Yourself: What is something you don’t do regularly (or at all), but WHEN you’ve done it in the past, it made you feel excited and energized, and (most importantly) shifted the current challenges in your life from daunting to doable?
- Ask Yourself: What is an activity you used to do that you LOVED, but stopped doing because of life responsibilities, changes in circumstance, or a false belief that you’re too old or too out of shape?
Now, take a moment and jot down two or three true self-care activities that work for you. Supporting ourselves means that we show up for others more confidently and also have more to give. We parent better and begin our day happier and end our day calmer.I really appreciated getting a little “sneak peak” into your new book, The Unflustered Mom. I love how you outline the five anxiety styles, and it reminded me a bit of The Five Love Languages. I would love for you to share a bit about that.
Of course! One thing that I have found really helpful in defining true self-care is first to understand your specific anxiety style. In the book, the five anxiety styles that you referred to are based upon our core emotional drivers and trigger points. Folks with these five styles (Lovers, Fighters, Dynamos, Executives and Visionaries) are triggered by different things and refuel their emotional bank accounts in unique ways.
For instance, those with the Dynamo anxiety style feel most refueled when they take time to accomplish or make significant progress on a project that is very important to them. When they do that, they are much less irritable and significantly less flusterable the remainder of the day.
For Lovers, true self-care might look like a hike with their best friend, a romantic dinner with their partner or a long talk on the phone with their mother.
Those with the Executive anxiety style, might feel most emotionally replenished when they have time and energy to clean, plan, and organize an important area of their life.
For visionaries, true self-care might look like a retreat or workshop with other visionaries where they can connect and share their plans for impacting the future.
Fighters on the other hand, may consider signing up for a sprint marathon or a weekend trip somewhere they’ve never been as true self-care.
True self-care requires tuning into what fundamentally drives you; understanding what types of activities leave you feeling a burst of energy, a high so to speak. When you spend more time in these types of activities, you raise your baseline level of emotional resiliency. And, increased emotional resiliency means you’re less likely to remain anxious, agitated, impatient, frustrated, or flustered.
You deserve to be in control of your own emotional well-being. Only you can know what is best for you. When you have the tools to increase your emotional bank account, you can become more emotionally resilient. Stressors and challenges will always come into your life, having the tools and strategies that work best for your unique anxiety style – this will make all the difference.Amber, I know you are about to be a two-time bestselling author and you have an online course (which I would love you to share a bit about)… do you still coach clients also?
Yes, I do still coach and I have clients around the globe since we are able to meet virtually. My coaching practice centers around helping others reduce their daily overwhelm and create an emotional resilience toolbox. A big part of this is creating a supportive daily routine. I teach practical tools to incorporate mindfulness and meditation, breathwork, and visualization/mantras that you can use to either avoid the spin out that stress triggers or to unwind (unfluster) it when it builds up.
The course you referred to is Outsmart Overwhelm, a digital, self-paced program for overwhelmed moms (or dads) struggling with anxiety, exhaustion, and overwhelm. It’s an amazing program for anyone who is DONE with living in overwhelm and ready to learn how to make real, lasting changes. In the program, I cover my 5-Step from Fluster to Flourish Program – which teaches how you can easily flourish in the chaos of parenting life. It has videos, PDF guides, planners, affirmations and even a 3-minute guided nighttime meditation for better sleep.That sounds amazing. Given the fact that your audience is overwhelmed parents, they are probably wondering if they would even have time to do the program! How long will the program take to complete, how much is it, and where can people check it out?
Ha, I took that first concern into consideration when I created the course. The video content for the course is only a total of 30 minutes. For a limited time, your audience can get the program for just $97 (normally $297) and they can click this link to learn more about it and purchase if it’s a good fit.Thank you so much Amber, not only for taking the time to do this interview, but also for creating such great content that helps humanity. I wish you much success with your book launch and I hope tons of people take advantage of Outsmart Overwhelm.
About AmberAmber Trueblood, MBA, LMFT (licensed marriage and family therapist) is a best-selling author, speaker, and coach. Her experience and expertise in the field of mental health began 25 years ago and includes providing community-focused psychological services, private therapy for individual clients, group workshops, and personal wellness retreats. She is passionate about helping moms get the tools they need to create health, wealth, connection, and happiness in their lives. Amber lives in San Diego with her husband Jaimie, their four sons, and their cat Andi. Learn more about Amber and her support at ambertrueblood.com
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