With so much uncertainty in the world right now, you might be more aware of your stress levels now more than ever. The world is simultaneously going through a global pandemic and significant social and political upheaval, plus many of us are still dealing with big changes in lifestyle, like working from home, facilitating virtual learning for kids, and continuing public health precautions like limiting our interaction with friends and family which can take its toll on us mentally and emotionally.
Stress is inevitable, even in the best of times, but how you look at stress determines how it will affect you. Take control of the situations in your life you have control over, find what works best for you, and find a stress management routine to create a healthy relationship with the stressors in your life.
Here are some healthy ways to cope with stress:
- Take care of body! One of the best defenses against stress is a healthy body and strong immune system. The Big Three of keeping your body healthy are Eating, Exercise, and Sleep. Eat well-balanced meals, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep to keep your body as healthy as it can be.
- Find joy! Incorporate activities you like to do into your daily routine, even if it is for short periods of time. Even just setting aside 15-30 minutes of time to engage in something that is purely for your own enjoyment can go a long way for your mental health.
- Relax and breathe. Take a step back when you’re feeling overwhelmed during the day. Allow yourself some quiet moments to breathe, bring your mind to the present, and simply relax. When and if you can, incorporate longer moments of relaxation into your life – get a massage, take a nap, or give yourself a day to lounge.
- Talk to others about how you are feeling. Expressing our feelings about our stress to the people in our lives that support us can help us to break out of negative cycles of thinking and give us a new perspective. Talking with others can help us to build closer relationships, which in turn makes us feel more comfortable and supported and reduces stress.
- Take a break from whatever may be causing you stress. Sometimes you just need to walk away and that’s okay! If you feel your stress levels on the rise, allow yourself some time to simply separate from what is causing the stress. Even a few minutes away from a situation that’s got us feeling anxious or angry can help take those emotions down a notch and give us the clarity of mind we need to tackle the problem.
- Seek out something that makes you laugh. There’s a reason the phrase “laughter is the best medicine” has become so ubiquitous in our culture. Laughter may not be the cure for everything, but there is mounting scientific evidence about the positive ways laughter can affect our minds and bodies. A good laugh releases endorphins throughout your body, will increase and then decrease our heart rate and blood pressure which leaves us feeling relaxed, and can soothe tension in our muscles. Long term, laughter has been shown to improve our immune systems, relieve pain, and improve mood even in those with chronic mood disorders. If you’re feeling stressed, turn on your favorite comedy movie, podcast, or TV show, read a funny book or comic, or call the friend that always seems to give you the giggles!
- Try to avoid drugs and alcohol, which can increase stress. Long-term abuse of drugs and alcohol makes users more sensitive to everyday stress than non-users and not dealing with our stress in healthy ways can make us dependent on drugs or alcohol for stress relief which can lead to physical, mental, and emotional issues causing us even more stress.
We will always have some sort of stress in our lives but learning effective strategies to adapt to those stress levels will help create a positive outcome for you.
If you feel like you need a little extra help managing stress in your life, consider Health Coaching as an option to get you on the path to more healthy stress management! Learn more about Western Health Coaching at westernracquet.com/health-coaching.