Did you know that chronic stress can have serious consequences on your health? It’s true—stress can make it difficult to sleep, weaken your immune system, and lead to other problems like heart attacks, strokes, anxiety, and depression. Plus, stress can cause irritability, lack of motivation, and difficulty concentrating, thereby negatively impacting your work and personal relationships.
If you’re feeling stressed, one of the best things you can do is speak to a therapist who can recommend stress relief techniques that are tailored to your specific circumstances. But in the meantime, we’ve compiled the following five strategies for stress management.
1. Eat a Nutritious Diet
It’s very common for stressed individuals to turn to fast food and comfort foods, which are typically high in fat and sugar. But it’s important to stick to a balanced diet, even in times of stress. Research shows that certain foods can impact stress levels—for example, lean proteins and herbal teas can help reduce stress, while refined carbohydrates and caffeine can make you feel more stressed.
Stress often causes chronic fatigue, and if that’s the case for you, you may have a hard time summoning the motivation to work out. But it’s important that you find a way to incorporate some type of physical activity into your daily routine. Exercising can stimulate the body to produce endorphins and reduce its levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Maybe hitting the gym before work is not your thing. Is running something you might like to try, or maybe riding a stationary bike while watching TV? Could you go for a walk during a break? Perhaps learning Pickleball would be a great way to exercise AND meet new friends.
3. Establish Boundaries
Do you often feel stressed because you’re being pulled in too many directions at once? Setting healthy boundaries may help. For example, at work, this may involve shutting down your computer at a certain time each day, speaking up when you have too much on your plate, and avoiding office gossip. When we continue to do things that we DO NOT want to do, we develop resentment. Yet it is up to us to say NO, or that won’t work for me. How about “I’m sorry, I can’t. I have a commitment.”
4. Make Time to Relax
When work, school, and family obligations become overwhelming, you may feel like you don’t have any time left over to focus on yourself, but it’s important to carve out time for self-care and relaxation. Think about what brings you peace—whether that’s going to the movies, getting a pedicure, or working on a jigsaw puzzle—and set aside time to do that on a regular basis.
Research shows that focusing on what’s going on around you and letting go of any intrusive thoughts and feelings can greatly reduce stress levels. One of the best things about meditation is that it can be done almost anywhere. So you can employ this technique whenever you start to feel stressed throughout the day.
Need Help Coping With Stress?
If you’re looking to improve your stress management skills, we can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.