Stress is a normal part of life, and no one is immune to it. Living through a pandemic can easily make like more stressful. Many are dealing with the financial repercussions the pandemic has brought while others are dealing with the lingering effects of the virus, either for themselves or a loved one. Ultimately, everyday stress coupled with COVID-related stress can weigh heavily upon even the strongest of people. Now more than ever, it is crucial to manage your stress before it gets out of hand. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the rigors of everything life is throwing at you, take a deep breath, relax and read the following tips about how to cope with stress in healthy ways.
Start a Journal
Journaling can help you identify your stress triggers, which can go a long way in avoiding them in the future. It can also help you deal with your stress when it arises. Every time you feel stressed, take a few moments to write it down. After a few days, you will likely begin to see a pattern or common themes. As you journal about your stress, write down:
- The cause of your stress.
- How you felt, both emotionally and physically.
- How you responded to it.
- What you did to feel better.
Pay special attention to the actions you took to relieve your stress. Determine if you are dealing with your stress in healthy or unhealthy ways. If you are dealing with stress in a way that may compound the problem. Try a different tactic. Some of the most common unhealthy ways to deal with stress include:
- Excessive drinking.
- Overeating or undereating.
- Zoning out in front of the TV, computer or other electronic devices.
- Withdrawing from interactions with people.
- Using drugs to relax.
- Excessive sleeping.
- Overscheduling yourself to avoid dealing with your problems.
- Lashing out at others.
When the world seems to be weighing heavy on your shoulders, finding time for exercise might seem like an impossible feat. But, it is one of the best ways to combat stress. Even small bouts of physical activity can have a huge benefit. It can improve your sleep, which can also lead to lower stress levels. Plus, exercise helps to improve your mood, which will also keep stress at bay. Exercising will help you feel less anxious and increase feelings of positive self-worth. Thankfully, you do not need to shell out big bucks on a gym membership to get your exercise. There are plenty of ways you can engage in physical activity without spending a dime:
- Go for a walk or run.
- Put on some music and dance.
- Go for a bicycle ride.
- Peruse Youtube for an exercise video — there are so many choices, you will be sure to find something you like.
Choose Your Foods Wisely
Your diet plays a large role in your ability to manage stress. Eating the right foods can help to boost your immune system, improve your mood and lower your blood pressure. All of these factors help to reduce stress from the inside out. Alternatively, choosing foods that are high in fat and sugar can exacerbate feelings of stress. Choose foods that are high in lean protein, complex carbohydrates and fatty acids. Also, incorporate antioxidants into your diet for added help in reducing stress. Also, be aware l of when you eat. Minimizing your mindless eating will help to keep your body and stress in check.
Engage in Relaxation Techniques
Activities that promote relaxation are excellent for improving your physical activity as well as reducing stress. So, incorporating any or all of these activities into your daily routine will have both physical and mental benefits for you.
- Deep breathing.
- Connect with friends and family.
- Listen to your inner voice.
- Engage in laugh therapy.
- Engage in talk therapy.
Get Adequate Sleep
Stress can have negative effects on your sleep. It can be hard to get enough sleep when you are feeling stressed and anxious. But, you can take steps to ensure your sleeping habits are not disrupted, which will go a long way in helping you deal with your stress.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get exposure to sunlight.
- Lessen your alcohol and caffeine consumption close to bedtime.
- Set a sleep schedule and stick to it.
- Stop screen time exposure at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Engage in meditation or other relaxation methods before bedtime.
Stress is a normal part of everyday life for everyone. But, when it is not kept in check, it can get out of control quickly. But, by taking a few proactive steps, you can ensure that it does not overtake your life.
For more information on how to cope with your stress in healthy ways, contact us today.