ARGH!!! Money, Work, Relationships, STRESS!!! Yes, we all experience stress. The trick to stress management is to understand that we all experience a healthy level of stress that motivates us (i.e. studying for a test, preparing for a race). In other words, stress will never be completely absent from your life, but you can manage the unhealthy, heart attack inducing, relationship ending, I want to stay in my bed all day, kind of stress.
1. Talk, Talk, Talk
The worst thing you can ever do when feeling stressed is to bottle it up. We are all guilty of this at some point, but thankfully there’s an easy solution, TALK. Use your support system be it friends or family. However, don’t worry about getting advice from these people, the idea is to get it off of your chest.
2. Healthy Habits: Eat, Sleep, Exercise
We’ve all heard of these healthy habits. These are habits that benefit us medically and benefit us mentally. Most experts agree that you should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Likewise, you should eat at least 3 meals a day, with breakfast being the most important, and snacks in between your meals helps with your metabolism/energy level. Of course, you can’t just eat anything. Remember those basic food groups, well fast food and other “comfort foods” may have a short term stress relief but ultimately don’t help you. Finally, exercise is perhaps the more difficult habit to follow through on. Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever. It has physiological and psychological benefits. The general agreement is to get 30 minutes of exercise a day. Try exercise that increases your heart rate though, even if it’s every other day.
3. Relax, Relax, Relax
There are truly hundreds of ways to relax. The problem is that we never allow ourselves to do these things. You need to find something that works for you. Typically, hobbies or activities that involve using your hands can help to take your mind off of your stressful situation. Additionally, breathing is an easy, yet amazing stress reliever. So take some deep breaths.
All of the above stress management tools are merely band aids to relieve stress. If you struggle with chronic stress or you can't seem to manage stress on your own, therapy can help you in many ways.
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