We all experience some form of stress in our lives. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.
So what is stress? Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain, reaction, or tension that results from the any change on our environment or within our bodies. There is good stress and bad. Stress that occurs several times a day prohibiting you from relaxing and placing you on overload is not healthy and considered a bad stress.
How can I manage my stress?
* Determine where the stress is coming from. (Work, relationship, children).
* Decide on what you can control, and accept the things you can’t change.
* Stay active. Make time to participate in activities that you enjoy doing. (example: going for a walk or gardening.)
* Manage your time more efficiently. Something as easy as making a “To Do List” that includes all your responsibilities and daily tasks etc. we find to be helpful. If you find that there is too much to accomplish on your list, simply separate in two categories “should” and “must”.
* Keep on hand a list of other tools or techniques to choose from when experiencing other forms of stress. Remember each stressor affects us differently, having a list on hand will help us choose which way to handle each stressful situation.
* Set appropriate and healthy boundaries with others. Don’t over commit yourself. It’s ok to say no. Know your limits and stick to them.
* Take care of yourself by adapting a healthier lifestyle. Eat healthy, Exercise-ensuring that any exercise that you incorporate is safe, seek your physicians advise if needed, and get enough rest/sleep.
* Make time to relax and have fun. (This should be #1 on your To Do List under the MUST section), spend time with a family member or friend, take a walk or enjoy a good workout, take a long relaxing bath with scented candles, play with your pet, read a book, etc.
* If your feelings are negative and chronic act opposite to your usages.
* If symptoms persist, seek professional help if needed.
It’s important to understand that some stressors require additional support. There are several resources available for you to access based on your current situation. Some resources include but are not limited to: Contacting your physician or insurance company to obtain a referral to a mental health provider, many employers offer EAP services that you are able to access for mental health situations-contact your HR office to determine availability, consult with members of your religious community, or if you need immediate help and are having suicidal thoughts of death or suicide please call 911 or the National Hopeline Network at 800-442-4673.