It should not be a big surprise that everyone gets stressed in life. We all go through difficult times and try to juggle too many things at once. You may find yourself begging for a break inside your head, but force yourself to push harder since it seems like you can’t find a break. We can’t escape stress in life. Just know you are not alone.
Here are 10 tools to help you reduce stress in your life and help you advocate for your own self care.
1. Know your signs.
How do you show stress? Some people get angry. Others find it hard to focus or make decisions. Some people feel worried or sad. Sometimes, stress can lead to headache, upset stomach, or trouble sleeping. Different people show different signs. Your signs of stress may be different from someone else’s.
2. Look at the causes.
What situations make you stressed? Your stress may be linked to your family, health or work. Keep in mind that stress is often caused by a change in your life—whether the change is good or bad. Marriage, divorce, parenting, losing a job, or even getting a promotion can all result in stress.
3. Build good coping skills.
Think about how you deal with situations that cause you stress. Smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating too much may feel good at the time. But they can cause more harm in the long run.
4. Know when to say "no."
Know your limits. Don’t take on more than you can handle. It’s okay to say “no” to something and you may even be empowered once you do it. The best part? You are putting self care first and taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical health.
5. Plan ahead.
Don’t let your to-do list get out of control. Think about your day and decide which tasks are most important. Do those first. Let other tasks drop to the end of your day, or even off your list. Everything is not top priority even if it feels like it.
6. Create time to relax.
It’s not always easy, but it’s important to make time for you. Take a weekend getaway. Make time to read a good book. Listen to music. Or do something you enjoy. Some people find that practicing deep breathing can also help reduce stress.
7. Be active.
Exercise can help lower stress. It can be as simple as taking a quick walk, a bike ride, or a trip to the gym. Aim to get about two and a half hours of exercise a week. But ease into it. And talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
8. Watch what you eat.
Eating good foods can also be good for stress. Healthy foods will help keep you energized and focused. Also, cut back on caffeine. You’ll feel more relaxed and will likely sleep better.
9. Talk to family and friends.
Sometimes, just talking with supportive people helps lower stress. That’s true even if the stressful situation doesn’t change. Also, spend less time with people who only add to your stress.
10. Get help if you need it.
If your stress is too much to handle, talk to a mental health professional. Stress can lead to serious health issues. A counselor can provide support and additional tools to reduce stress in your life.
If you are a resident in Georgia or Indiana, I provide counseling services in a safe and private setting to help bring healing to you on an individual level. Please contact me today to schedule an appointment.