We all face situations that cause emotional stress. It may be driving in traffic, facing a career decision, a family crisis or the death of a close friend or relative, poor health, or moving to a new town.
If stress is not dealt with properly, it can take its toll on the body with headaches, high blood pressure, depression, skin issues and heart problems.
If you’re feeling stressed, try to figure out what is really causing you to feel this way. Then make whatever changes you can to help the situation. It may be something you physically change or it could be how you adjust your reaction to the situation.
Instead of waiting until stress becomes a problem, be proactive with a healthy lifestyle and outlook.
They say you teach what you need to learn the most. As I write these tips, I am also reminding myself how important they are in my own life.
- Be physically active. Exercise releases endorphins which give a feeling of well being. Being healthy helps you to better handle stressful events. Stretch your body to release tight muscles.
- Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and real food to get all the nutrients you need. Avoid the pre-packaged processed stuff.
- Get enough sleep and rest. Without it you may get run down and stressful situations will hit you harder.
- Make time for relaxation and fun activities even if you have to schedule it into your day. Have a bubble bath, go for a walk or read a book. Take a few minutes for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Remember that many problems are temporary and manageable. Ask for help if you need it.
- Prioritize your personal activities, appointments and work schedule to help give a feeling of control over your life. Some things are not as urgent as we think and can be put off or crossed off the list. Remember you can only do so much in one day.
- Make a list of your goals and find ways to accomplish them. Make a six month plan, a one year plan and a five year plan. If you want a different job, find a way to make it happen. Life is too short to be stuck in a place where you say, “someday” way too many times.
- Avoid harmful coping strategies like cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. They may distract you for a while but will harm your body and become a burden to your mind.
- Spend time with people who are supportive and kind. Find a way to eliminate from your life the people who weigh you down mentally.
- Breathe deeply. Lie on your back, legs up over a chair, arms outstretched. Close your eyes and breathe. Do this every single day. Try it and you’ll see why.
- Laugh more and allow yourself to be happy. It’s OK to be happy.
- Practice looking at the bright side of small upsets as practice for larger ones.
When I was a teenager, I had a boyfriend with a motorcycle. I sat on the back and since I didn’t have a full visor, I had to keep my mouth closed so the bugs wouldn’t get in. This picture has come to mind many times over the years. You have to know when to hold tight and just hang on. You’ll get there.
Look after yourself now and when faced with stress, it will be a lot easier physically and mentally.
Remind yourself that you’ve managed stressful situations before and you’ll do it again.