In the past month I have been trying to purge my belongings and “stuff” and move to a new place, which has brought on a little stress. But, a real blow was last Friday evening when my mom passed away.

I pride myself that I have always been a mentally strong person and have handled pressure and bad times in the past pretty well. I give credit to my mom for instilling that trait in me and my sister and three brothers. Read on for some of the best ways to manage stress, as lived by June Bug Burling.

Among the many life lessons that my mom taught me was to always look for the silver lining. I read on the wikiHow website that a positive attitude is important for ensuring that you have a  fulfilling and enjoyable life. This makes a lot of sense — my mom would have been 92 this month and enjoyed every day to the fullest.

One thing that I never give up during stressful times is exercising. It is the best medicine that I can take when going through a bad period. Exercise releases chemicals in your body through your bloodstream called endorphins. It is that “runner’s high” that maybe you have heard about and gives you a feeling of happiness, and tensions seem to lessen. My mom was still participating in her exercise class at Sunnybrook and would do laps with her walker when she would remember — not sure if she was still feeling the high but enjoyed participating.!

Following a regular sleep routine is very important to de-stress. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and aim for seven to eight hours of sleep. A well rested body can help rejuvenate and recharge a person. Bedtime was a ritual back in the ’60s for me. I should have listened to my mom better; this is something I need to work on. A good diet is essential anytime, but especially when you are stressed. My mom was right when she made us stay away from caffeine and lots of sugar and made us eat lots of fruits and veggies.

One of my mom’s favorite lines was to “stop and smell the roses.” Try to find a good work/life balance. An older friend of mine told me that he never has heard anyone say to him that they wish they would have stayed at the office more. Do your job the best you can but remember to take time to enjoy family, friends, and your hobbies and cherish those moments. I am grateful that I have countless memories to hold onto.

Around the town of Carthage, Illinois, where my mom lived, she was known as the Energizer Bunny and had one speed — fast! One thing Mom could have taken to heart a little more was to slow down. By taking some smooth, steady breaths, you may be able to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Move to a different place where you can relax a little better and put things in perspective. Look into practicing some form of meditation or sign up for a mind/body class, like yoga or tai chi.

As I face one of the toughest weeks of my life, I have continued to get up for my morning walks, eat fairly healthily, and look for that silver lining. I know that Mom’s legacy of remaining positive even when times are tough will stay with me until I am over 90. This could have been her motto — when you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine. I think I’ll embrace that one.

Julie Kirk is a fitness instructor at Great River Health Fitness. Her column appears in Currents the second Friday of each month.