Take steps to cope with stress
Stress can show up from many directions. If nothing else has taught us anything the last 16 months, we have learned to cope with increased stress due to the upset of people’s routines, increased health worries and damaging finances. However, you can take active steps to deal with stress.
- Did you know? Seventy-seven percent of Americans say stress affects their physical health. Three out of four doctor visits are for stress-related ailments. Studies have linked stress to heart disease, asthma, diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal problems, depression and accelerated aging.
- Keep a journal to track stressors. Writing about what is generating your stress, then brainstorming for solutions, can empower you to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Meditate mindfully to minimize chaos. Take quiet time to yourself, sit comfortably and breathe deeply. Ground yourself in the present and try to clear your mind of extraneous worries.
- Focus on your health. Eat a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein for energy. Get enough quality sleep by going to bed earlier and using relaxing bedtime rituals. Follow a regular exercise routine that you enjoy; engaging in strength and cardio exercise helps you handle stress better.
- Prioritize relaxation. Get outside often this summer. Experiencing nature reduces anxiety and stress. Also, try meditation, soothing aromatherapy and/or deep abdominal breathing—whatever calms and soothes you.
- Spend time with your pets, pursue your hobbies and have a laugh whenever possible.
Be on the lookout for burnout
- Spot the signs. Markers of burnout include feeling continually drained; having frequent headaches or muscle pain; withdrawing from other people and activities; having feelings of hopelessness, doubt, negativity and irritability; and losing motivation.
- Catch a break. Getting off the work treadmill temporarily will help. Taking in new physical and psychological landscapes will refresh your mind. If you can’t get away, do brief staycations with self-soothing activities. Once you close the computer, let it stay shut. No more looking at emails or updates until the next day.
- Always take a lunch break. It’s easy to try to power through your workday and skip lunch. It’s important to have that break and clear your mind. Take your lunch, away from the computer, and enjoy a healthy meal. You will feel better for it.
- Don’t self-isolate. Despite the temptation to check out, talk with someone who can listen and empathize with your situation. Sharing your struggle can help you calm your nervous system and release tension.
Working on Wellness
With school out and summer here, try some outdoor fun for everyone.
- Try fun activities you can do outside. Walk, ride a bike, garden, go to the beach, take up a new sport, swim, hike, golf or kayak.
- Help the kids get active, too. Walk the dog with them, play catch, visit a park or nature trail, fly a kite, play badminton, rent paddleboats, rollerblade, give them sidewalk chalk, etc.
- Enjoy Your Summer!