How stressed are you?
We hope your stress isn’t too overwhelming right now. Yet, with all that’s going on in the world, we wouldn’t be surprised if you, like many other people, are feeling increased stress. What are some of the obvious stressors? Well, political beliefs are big in the news now and many people feel the division as the two sides present their views. Even family members get upset at each other if they support different parties.
Then there’s the coronavirus that’s in the news. Many people are apprehensive that it will spread. They’re stressed about how it will affect health, the economy and their lives.
We realize that stress is all around us. We can be living as stress-free a life as possible, but we still hear about it on every radio and TV station. Everyday life is hectic enough without these added stressors. Because stress is so pervasive, we wanted to share possible health consequences and how to manage stress so you can find calm even in chaotic times.
Consequences of stress: There can be danger in not listening to your mind and body. When stressed, we are tempted to change to unhealthy eating habits of overeating or eating too little. We also tend to cut out other things that are good for us, like adequate sleep, exercise and socialization. This drives mood down and we feel even less like doing something that might help us feel better.
Basically, when stress is chronic it has negative effects on both physical and mental health. When stress goes on long enough, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses can develop. But that’s enough about the bad effects of stress. Hans Selye said, “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”
We don’t want to cause you more stress, so let’s get on to what can be done to lower stress and start feeling better.
Be aware: One important thing you can do is to be aware of how you are reacting to stress. Notice the signs your body and mind are trying to tell you. It can be easy to overlook signs that something is not right and avoid getting it checked out and making necessary changes.
Also, be aware of mindset. Not long ago, we were feeling stressed by the weather. It was snowy, slippery and we became aware of how negative we felt about it. Then we heard someone on the radio advertising lawnmowers. At that time, it would have been easy to feel green grass was a long ways away. We had to remind ourselves that winter wouldn’t last forever and we will see green grass again.
It’s not always easy to do, but when you try to find the positive in a situation, your mind and body will react differently and help you calm down.
Get perspective: We always try to have people think about what control they have in a situation. With politics or other situations that could be heated, you can decide if you want to lower your stress by avoiding a conversation. With the coronavirus or other situations that could occur, you can prepare so you don’t feel so vulnerable to a situation that might be out of your control. Realize what you can control and what you can’t control. Then get the support and help you need to meet the challenge.
Take action: Here are some things you can do to de-stress. Smile more and share your emotions with others. Take steps to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Get some exercise, even if it means starting small with your doctor’s approval. Get restful sleep by winding down before bedtime. Eat healthy foods and allow yourself to enjoy mealtime. Try to notice and be grateful for the little pleasures in life.
Also, take exquisite care of yourself. Have some quiet time. Use your strengths to fulfill a purpose for your life. Get together with friends. Spend time in nature. Enjoy music. Dance. Have fun! Of course, there are many techniques such as yoga, prayer and meditation and therapy that can be helpful. And be sure to see your doctor if you don’t feel well.
What about you? What will you be doing to de-stress?
We encourage you to take time to recognize how you are feeling and if you could benefit from some stress reduction. We shared some ideas for lowering stress but you might have specific methods that work for you. Let us know what helps you find calm even in the midst of chaotic times.