Stress is something we have all experienced to varying degrees at some point during our lives. Stress can actually be a good thing at times since it signals our body to prepare for a challenge by releasing a flood of hormones. These hormones lead to certain physiological changes that help us to focus and perform when needed.
However, when stress becomes common, with no relief, problems begin to arise. Chronic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse issues which may be used as a coping mechanism. It also puts you at higher risk for serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart attack, and decreased immune functions.
Avoiding stress for most people is probably not possible; rather, the answer is how you manage your stress.
Management of Stress
There are specific steps you can take in order to combat the effects of stress in your life. Read on below for some ideas and tips.
* Socialize – Although it may seem counter-intuitive to take time from your busy schedule to socialize, you will find this can have a huge impact on stress. Spend time with people that are caring and supportive whom you can talk to about your stress.
* Healthy Lifestyle – Taking care of yourself can be difficult but is vitally important. Remember to regularly eat healthy meals and snacks. Also, aim for 30 minutes of physical activity daily, even if it is just as simple as walking or gardening. Lastly, make certain to get between 7 and 10 hours of sleep daily, whatever the ideal amount is for you.
* Practice Relaxation – Whether you decide to try yoga, meditation or another relaxation technique, try to set aside time each day.
* Set Limits – If you find yourself taking on more projects at work, responsibilities and all of the household chores alone, it may be time to set more realistic expectations for yourself. Acknowledge that you can’t, and shouldn’t, be doing everything and begin to decline requests and invitations that aren’t important.
* Pursue Interests – Perhaps you have always wanted to learn sculpting? Maybe you would like to read more or take up cross-stitching? Whatever your interest or passion, having a hobby can be beneficial. It does not have to be something you do every day if time doesn’t permit, but it should be something you can look forward to.
* Seek Professional Help – If you have tried numerous ways of managing your stress with no relief, it may be time to seek the help of a professional. A professional counsellor, such as those at Depression and Relationship Counselling Services, can help you develop strategies that will work for you. We can be reached at (519) 253-1519.
There is no doubt that the proper management of stress can take time and effort but when looking at the benefits, the importance of doing so is crystal clear. Remember the old adage that you need to take care of yourself if you are going to take care of others.