Welcome to Thriving Mind, a resource to help you understand your individual signs of stress, take small steps to recharge, and unlock better mental health.

Endorphins make you happy — we know this to be true. No matter how much we exercise — each of us will still have stressful days creep up. But the Tone It Up girls, Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn, focus on fortifying a positive mind, body, and spirit together with their fitness community.

Still, even they suffer from stressful days. Before we can fully cope with our stress, we need to develop an awareness of what our stressors are in the first place — and develop actionable steps that support our mental well-being. A new Thrive Global survey of over 2,000 Americans ages 18 to 85 shows just how desperately people want and need that knowledge: 91% of respondents said not knowing or ignoring their personal signs of overstress had a negative impact on their mental well-being, 72% wish they knew more small everyday steps to improve their mental health, and nearly half said when it comes to managing their stress, they don’t know where to start.

Because there is power in sharing our stories, Scott and Dawn are opening up about their own stressors, signs of overstress, and the small, everyday steps they take to take care of their mental well-being.

Thrive Global: What causes you stress?

Karena Dawn: When running a business, there are always stressors that come up every day. I balance a lot of work commitments and travel with making sure I have time to spend with my family. If I go too long without seeing my husband, Bobby, or our Pomeranian named Skunk, I start to feel stressed — I call it Pom guilt.

Katrina Scott: I always try to put 100 percent into everything I do. Now, as a working mom, I feel a little divided at times. When I’m at work, I feel like I should be at home, and when I’m at home, I feel like I should be at work. I want to make sure I’m doing my best in both roles. 

TG: What signs warn you that you’re approaching your tipping point?

KD: When my body is stressed, I have trouble sleeping and start waking up in the middle of the night. I also find myself unable to focus on the present and what I’m doing in that moment, which is a huge sign for me that I need to meditate and tap back into the present. 

KS: My body will do something to let me know I need to slow down and rest. I’ll catch a cold — I was actually sick all last week — or my left eye literally twitches when I’m experiencing too much stress. I have a hard time turning off mentally, so sometimes my body has to take things into its own hands. It’s kind of crazy, but it’s just more proof that you have to listen to your body!

TG: What small steps do you take to work through that stress?

KS: For me, self-care has changed immensely since becoming a mom. While manis, pedis, and facials are amazing, they don’t give me the same recharge as I get from going on a walk with my daughter Bella, sitting on the grass in the park with her, letting her sleep on my lap, and then listening to a podcast during nap times. I think just connecting with her and connecting with myself is my new form of self-care. But, sometimes mama still needs a pedi!

KD: Meditation is an essential part of my routine — I’ve been meditating every morning for years and it has made an incredible difference in my life. It helps me slow down, focus on the present, and release anxiety. Being in nature is also one of my go-to ways to de-stress. For instance, I was just in Palm Springs — one of my favorite places in the world! — and I took some time to go up into the mountains, watch the leaves, and feel the air on my face. I like to make a “happy list” of the things that bring me joy, like meditation, exercise, being outdoors, music, and spending time with my loved ones and my pets. This is an amazing solution for everyone! Keep this list in your phone or in a journal on your bedside table. Anytime you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, you can always look at it as a reminder of what makes you happiest. I would also suggest doing anything that helps you tap back into the present. Look at your surroundings, take a deep breath, and tell yourself, “I’m alive, I’m here in this moment.” All the outside stressors don’t matter because they don’t exist right here in this moment.  

Read more of our mental health coverage here.

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  • Lindsey Benoit O'Connell

    Deputy Editor, Entertainment + Partnerships at Thrive

    Lindsey Benoit O'Connell is Thrive's Deputy Editor, Entertainment + Partnerships. Prior to working at Thrive, she was the Entertainment + Special Projects Director for Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, Redbook and Woman's Day booking the talent for covers and inside features. O'Connell currently lives in Astoria, NY with her husband Brian and adorable son, Hunter Fitz.