Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Somedays it seems like your stress might overcome you. You have so much going on in your life, not to mention dealing with your partner, your family, or your job. It may seem like you cannot crawl out from the STRESS rock that you are under. If you feel like this is you or your life, you can take action and empower yourself to manage your stress. Here are several Stress Management Tips to help you manage your stress and anxiety.
Physical activity, even something as small as just walking, has perhaps the most positive impact on your stress than any other stress management technique. Getting your mind off of your stress and worries, and into your body and what your body is doing while moving, is what is most helpful about exercise. Definitely exercising just once can have an impact on your stress levels, while exercising consistently (e.g., daily) will have a whole other level of impact.
Often when you’re stressed, you are probably losing sleep, thinking of all the things you are stressed about, what you have to do, and how you want to do it. Getting 8 hours of sleep per night is not only good for your physical health, but it’s also good for your mental health. The more well-rested you are, the more energy your mind and body has to fight off your stress.
What you put into your body matters. When you’re stressed, you’re likely eating excessively, mindlessly binging on food, and probably craving more sugars and carbohydrates. These types of foods spike your blood sugar, then cause it to crash, causing even more stress and anxiety. Taking a moment and really focusing on what you are putting into your body as a mindfulness technique will help you manage your food intake and make good choices about what foods you are eating.
Connect with others
You may tend to isolate yourself when you are more stressed out, and cease reaching out to your support system, whether that is friends, family, a therapist, or work colleagues. When you are stressed is actually the time you should be reaching out to others, not necessarily to vent about how stressed out you are, but with the goal of connecting on a deeper, emotional level with someone else. These connections with others help us realize that we are not alone, that everyone has problems and associated stress, and what is meaningful in our lives.
Be in nature
Going outside and being in nature automatically lowers our stress levels. When in nature, we are able to hear the gentle wind, see the leaves blowing, and really tune in to our environment. There are no harsh lights or artificial sounds, and often the silence of being outside is soothing. Being outside generates feelings of pleasure, and is good for your body, mind and spirit.
Indulge your creative side
Do something creative that you love to do, whether it’s cooking, painting, singing, dancing, or some other hobby that you enjoy. Focusing your mind on what you are doing and letting loose your creative spirit can really combat stress. When you start to get engaged in an activity that you are passionate about, and you start to enjoy it, those positive feelings start pushing the stress out of your mind.
Structure your day
Being at loose ends or trying to figure out what to do next is especially difficult when you’re stressed. One way to manage this is by setting specific times during the day to do certain tasks. For example, eat your meals at the same time every day, give yourself a one-hour window to get your chores done, and even schedule in relaxation time. When something is scheduled, you won’t waste precious mind power trying to figure out what to do.
Laughing releases physical tension, which can build up in your body due to your stress, and stimulates circulation, which helps lower your stress response. When you are stressed, you might not recall the last time you laughed, so make it a point to find a hilarious video or memory, and laugh out loud about it. If you cannot recall or find something funny, then just laugh by yourself, allowing your laughter to last for a few minutes and be as big and hearty as it can.
Less TV and social media
While watching TV and browsing your social media accounts can be a guilty pleasure, too much of this type of distraction is allowing your mind to procrastinate on managing your stress levels. Most of us have the habits, when we get more stressed, of watching more TV or spending more time on our social media accounts. Try this: turn off the TV, put down your phone, and try one of the above stress management techniques instead.
We all feel stressed at different times in our lives, and sometimes the stress seems unbearable. But you do not have to continue to suffer, you can do something about it. Trying one or more of these stress management tips and practicing them consistently will help manage your mood, release your physical tension, and unburden your mind.
Get Treatment for Stress Management
If you are interested in learning more about how the stress management therapists at Catalyss Counseling can help to treat your stress, contact us for a free 20-minute phone consultation or book directly online with a therapist of your choice.
Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, guest blogger, and owner of Catalyss Counseling in Englewood, CO. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn and Facebook.