Stress is a normal part of human existence. Good stress pushes us to strive and achieve, but bad stress— particularly when it’s severe and/or lasts a long time—is highly destructive to our health. Stress Awareness Month reminds us to take action if we spot signs of unhealthy stress.
- Build in more balance. If you feel overly burdened by the daily slog, insist on making room for meaning in your life— via your family, friends or creative hobbies.
- Talk it out. When under stress, it’s important to not self-isolate—despite the temptation to do so. Talk with someone who can empathize with your situation. Sharing your struggle can help calm the nervous system and reduce stress.
- Aim to be active. While being active may not seem appealing when you’re stressed, getting some regular exercise will boost your mind/body resilience
- When you’re feeling stress, it’s important to focus on the building blocks of good self-care such as eating nutritious food, getting more rest and engaging in healthy practices such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga or deep breathing.
- Have a “third space.” Although work and family may consume most of your time, have a separate place to explore your interests, relax and recharge. Such activities—gardening, reading, crafting, painting, fishing or game nights—help you maintain a distinct identity and manage stress.
Sometimes it seems there are a few too many demands, deadlines, unforeseen changes, uncertainties and moving parts to keep up with in life. Trying to keep up can cause stress, which, if not relieved, can accumulate and lead to burnout.
- Markers of burnout include feeling continually drained; having frequent headaches or muscle pain; becoming detached from others; having feelings of hopelessness, negativity and irritability; withdrawing from activities; and losing motivation.
- Create a list of the specific problem areas in your work and personal life that seem to routinely cause you uncomfortable stress. Brainstorm at least one way to modify each situation to reduce its stressfulness.
- Set boundaries. Many people get in the habit of trying to do too much and help too much. However, there’s no harm in telling others that you’re feeling depleted and can’t begin new tasks at present.
Simplify your Life
When you’re surrounded by stuff in life, you pay a price for that. When it’s a lot of stuff, there’s quite a cost indeed. Consider simplifying your life; this gives you more time, space, energy, resources…and enjoyment. You could start by decluttering one room at a time. Work on replacing bad/negative mental habits that impede you. Limit time-wasting distractions. Forego relationships that are one-sided or draining; focus on the mutually supportive relationships you value.
We all have stress in our everyday lives. We can’t get away from it. What makes the difference is how we approach and deal with the stress. Remind yourself to take a deep breath. You can do this.
Article – Magellan Healthcare