Ways to reduce and cope with stress
For many of us, the holidays can be a stressful time. Prolonged stress negatively impacts our physical and mental health so it is important to recognize your sources of stress and find ways to reduce and cope with this stress.
Not all stress can be avoided and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed, but you may be surprised by the number of stressors that can be reduced in your life.
Ways to reduce stress
Learn to say NO – know your boundaries and stick to them.
Spend less time with people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or consider ending the relationship entirely.
Alter your environment – if the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic makes you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.
Pare down your “TO DO ” list – Review your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
Reframe problems – Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
Look at the big picture – Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
Reduce expectations – Work on reducing the expectations for yourself and others as “expectations are premeditated resentments”
Focus on the positive-When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.
Healthy Ways to cope with stress
Journaling – helps you identify the stressors in your life and gives you insight about the way you deal with stress and your patterns of behavior.
Express feelings instead of bottling them up – If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
Meditation – the mental focus on nothingness keeps your mind from working overtime which impacts how you cope with stress.
Yoga – it combines the practice of several stress management techniques such as breathing, meditation, imagery and movement giving you lots of benefit for the amount of time and energy required.
Exercise – exercise in moderation provides a distraction from stressful situations as well as an outlet for frustrations.
Music – when dealing with stress, the right music can lower blood pressure, relax your body and calm your mind.
Sue Newton, RN