Stress is a factor that most of us deal with, especially the past 9 months.. ya feel me? Whether it’s been about finances, health, family, the future, or work, we can’t ignore the fact that stress has been HIGH! Take a minute to check in with yourself. How are you? Like really? How are your stress levels?
There are tons of effects stress has on our bodies, both physically and mentally. To list a few, stress can result in fatigue, headaches, anxiety, depression, irritability, anger issues, rapid heartbeat, compromised immune system, loss of sexual desire, trouble sleeping, and digestion issues to name a few. Chronic stress can lead to diseases and long term illness.
If you know you are struggling with stress and have trouble managing it, here are some ideas that have been found to be helpful.
- Exercise – be mindful of what intensity your body can handle. Sometimes too much intensity stresses our body out more. Exercise may look like light yoga, a walk, or stretching.
- Eating a nutrient dense, balanced diet – when we eat high-fat, high sugar foods our blood sugar can crash making us feel worse. Focus on healthy fats, protein, and carbs.
- Meditation – I’ve been using the app “headspace” which has guided meditations. There are studies showing that consistent meditation lowers the fight or flight reaction in our brain. It helps us be present in the moment and focus on our breath. It takes practice, but it has greatly helped my anxiety and stress. I recommend using an app to get started like headspace or calm.
- Breath work – Another technique I’ve been implementing. It makes a HUGE impact if you are panicking or can’t focus. Focusing on your breath can calm your brain and heart rate in just minutes. You can try the 4-7-8 technique. You breath in for 4, hold for 7 (or as long as feels comfortable) and exhale for 7. Repeat this for at least 2 minutes. I guarantee you will feel calmer!
- Walking – Take a walk daily without technology! 15-20 minutes will help you relax.
- Talk it out – chat with a friend or family member about your stressors. Then talk about some positive things that are happening.
- Hobbies – Find what brings you happiness and do that as often as possible!
- Express gratitude – Keep a gratitude journal and each night write 3 things that you are grateful for that day. Focusing on the positives helps us to focus less on the negatives.
- Therapy – This is so important! Seek a counselor who you can talk to with zero judgement. They can help you work through any issues or stressful situations.
- Cut out things that add stress – Are there things in your life you can eliminate that cause you stress? It can be as simple as leaving the house 5 minutes earlier each day.
While we can’t always control our circumstances, we can control how we react to them. Stress is a factor we all deal with, but there are ways to manage it. I hope this list gives you some ideas on how to better manage your stress. Let me know if you plan on trying one and how it’s serving you! If you have a way that you manage your stress, I would love to hear about it as well.