Let's admit it, we live in a stressful world. There’s no way around it. We have demanding jobs, high expectations for ourselves and others, and barely enough time in the day to cross everything off our to-do lists.
But no matter how busy or hectic things get, it’s vital that we work on managing our stress, finding outlets for relief, and prioritizing self care.
With April being National Stress Awareness Month, we thought no better time than now to address this extremely prevalent issue. For the past 25 years, April has served as a time where healthcare professionals have focused on the causes and cures of stress.
We’d like to take this opportunity to recognize National Stress Awareness Month by stressing the importance of creating less stress in your life.
We understand that you can’t always control when you’ll be stressed, many times it’s unavoidable. So instead of focusing on what you can’t change, let’s focus on what you can - how you embrace and overcome your stress.
There are healthy ways and there are unhealthy ways to deal with stress. Ask yourself these questions.
When you’re stressed, do you:
- Ignore it?
- Give into a vice (i.e. smoking, drinking, etc.)?
- Eat a lot?
- Push through and overwork yourself?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re dealing with your stress in an unhealthy way. While these “solutions” may feel good in the moment, they’re negative coping methods that don’t actually help your stressful situation, and often times make it worse.
Relax & Renew
The first step to effectively managing stress is knowing how to deal with it in an appropriate way. You need to discover what methods work for you, because everyone is different.
A few things we do immediately when faced with stress, that have helped us manage stress in a healthy way is ask yourself specifically what is causing it? Force yourself to focus a few moments on what exactly it is that is causing you stress. When you’ve identified the WHAT, next determine WHY it’s causing you stress. If you’re able to uncover the WHY there is a good chance you’ll come to one of two conclusions:
- The why isn’t insurmountable - you can tackle this!
- It is something that is outside of your control, and no matter what you do, you can’t change the outcome.
If you find out it’s #1, set a plan to adapt and change your mindset or your actions to adjust the outcome and alleviate some of the stress.
If you uncover that #2 is the case, do everything you can to put these thoughts out of your mind. If you can’t change the situation or alter things outside of your control, there is NO point in stressing over it.
For example, you’ve noticed that you’re getting stressed and have identified that it is caused by a big work project with a pending deadline. The ‘why’ this is causing stress is because you don’t think you’ll be able to get it done in time. Take a moment to map out a timeline, what you need to get through in order to keep the project moving forward and hit your deadline. Once you have dedicated time to tackling the root cause of the stress, and identifying a game plan, you’ll feel MUCH better.
Here are some additional healthy ways to take care of yourself and deal with stress that you could try next time you feel overwhelmed:
- Go for a walk
- Enjoy a cup of tea
- Turn your technology off and spend time with a friend
- Practice yoga
Yoga is a great way to practice self care and relieve stress while also getting valuable exercise.
And don’t wait for the stress to become so unbearable before you try to relieve it! Doing yoga and these other activities for a short time every single day can help you to keep stress at bay and improve your ability to react to stress.
Stress is a part of life. No one can change that. But you’re in control of how you deal with it. Remember these healthy stress relievers next time things are becoming too much.
If you’re feeling stressed all of the time with no relief you may be dealing with chronic stress. Life may feel out of control now, but you can work to fix that. Contact LifeScape Premier today to begin your journey to a less-stressed life.
This blog post was originally published on April 10, 2017.