Are things piling up and you’re not sure how to start or what to do next? Do you feel like you can’t handle all the responsibilities at work, school, home, relationships, or life in general? Read until the end of this article to learn how to ease your stress levels in healthy ways through simple stress management techniques before the feeling gets too heavy and out of control.
Let me set this straight; that feeling you have may be caused by stressful situations. Still, it can help you find a sense of balance and purpose to continue moving forward. Some say that we could all use a little stress in our lives, do you agree with that?
What is stress?
Stress is a part of being human. In fact, the body is designed to experience stress; it reacts when changes (stressors) occur and helps it adjust to new situations. This can be triggered by small problems to major life changes. Everyone deals with stress in different ways, thus resulting to physical, emotional, or mental responses. These reactions usually include an elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, lingering thoughts about the stressful event, and strong emotions.
Furthermore, it can keep you alert, prepared to avoid any danger, and motivated to get things done. For instance, if you have an important real estate transaction coming up, your body’s stress response might be to work more diligently on preparation and probably stay awake longer. On the other hand, stress can also be caused by a positive experience that evokes excitement or entails responsibility, such as getting a promotion at work, having a new baby, or getting that dream house and lot you have saved a lot for.
When stressors are continued without taking any breaks, stress can become a big problem. In addition, there is also high stress due to a serious illness, a death of a loved one, losing a job, or other painful events. This is an inevitable part of life and may cause feelings of anxiety, depression, and even health problems if the stress is left unchecked.
What are healthy ways to prevent and manage stress?
There is no one-size-fits-all in stress management since it depends on the type of stressor, regularity of the stress, and the individual’s preference. Nevertheless, it is helpful to have a toolbox of techniques on hand when you need them. Here are tips that can help you relax better and reduce stress faster:
1. Understand your stress, sources, and signals
What does stress look like for you? What causes you to be stressed out? What are your stress symptoms? What do you usually do to calm down? Ask yourself these questions and look at the bigger picture. Be prepared by knowing what triggers you, learning how stress affects you internally, and recognizing how you process stress. Sometimes habits learned over time can be unhealthy (i.e. self-medication, alcohol dependence, stress eating), thus you must need to apply better strategies.
2. Eat healthy, live healthy
The benefits of eating healthy foods do affect not only your physical well-being but also your mental health. Consuming a balanced diet can strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, improve your mood, and ultimately, lessen the effects of stress. On the opposite, people who try to reduce stress by drinking too much alcohol or eating unhealthy foods can become an appealing stress reliever at the moment but has adverse effects in the long run.
To stay healthy, a balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty acids from meat, fish, eggs, and nuts. Also, antioxidants, found in fruits and vegetables, can protect cells against damage caused by chronic stress. Other essential nutrients are Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Remember to stay away from processed foods and stick to a healthy diet by preparing a grocery list of food that your mind and body needs.
3. Create an exercise routine
Exercise is proven to be a powerful stress reliever and provides numerous health benefits. If you can spend some time of your day to working out or even just take a 10-minute walk, your body can release endorphins — a natural substance that can make you feel better. You can also create a regular regiment and consider aerobics, cycling, yoga, and other sports.
Physical activities can improve sleep, uplift spirits, and stimulate your body with happy hormones that block pain. If you don’t have the time for exercising, you can still find ways to be physically active. Some examples include biking/walking instead of driving, using the stairs instead of the elevator, cleaning your house, and home gardening to stay productive.
4. Practice mindfulness
Being mindful means living in the present moment. Take a few minutes of your day to practice meditation and do simple breathing exercises. It is also good to know if you have any current unhealthy coping behaviors in order to switch them out for healthy ones.
In addition, remind yourself of affirmations to start your day on a positive note and end it by practicing gratitude by acknowledging the good parts of how your day went. Accept the fact that you can’t control everything and let go of the worry about situations you cannot change.
5. Create your own safe space
The world may sometimes feel chaotic and make you feel more stressed. Nevertheless, having your own house and lot or condominium, thinking of Bria Homes in mind, to come home to every day will give you a sense of control over your life. Having a clean and organized space can also manage stress and help maintain a mental balance.
When possible, find a space in your home where you can spend time alone. It does not have to be a big space, as long as others won’t disturb you. Here, you can focus on recreational hobbies or reflect on your experiences by starting a journal or planner. This allows you to get your thoughts out by writing them down and provide you with new perspectives on the situation you are in and how you can overcome your battles.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for support
When things get too overwhelming, reach out to a family member, friend, or partner whom you are comfortable talking with. Stay connected with these people who make you feel calm and happy, as they can also provide emotional support and practical help. Spend enough time with them, if possible. Meanwhile, speaking to a healthcare professional can also help you learn about healthier coping strategies alongside therapy and medication.
7. Make self-care a priority
Making time for yourself and putting your well-being first is not selfish. You don’t need to meet the expectation of others all the time. Remind yourself that it’s okay to say “no” to added responsibilities that demand your time and energy when you are busy or feel too stressed.
Simple things are often overlooked, from having enough sleep to eating healthy and exercising regularly. Assert yourself and set realistic goals. Realize that you can’t be everywhere and everything all at once. The tips above can help you control your stress, but there are many ideas you can come up with on your own to reduce stressful moments in your life. You are in control, and you are your own best stress manager.
Written by Gianne D. Inumerable