Stress affects everyone from time to time. It is the body’s normal reaction to a challenge or demand. Work, family, relationships, financial struggles, illness and trauma are all examples of potential stressors. A little stress is rarely harmful, however chronic stress can contribute to a number of illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety and trouble sleeping. It is important to manage stress before it becomes overwhelming and causes negative health effects. Below are some coping mechanisms that may help you prevent, work through and recover from stressful situations.
- Exercise: Find an activity you enjoy and aim to be active most days of the week. Exercise can reduce stress, boost your mood and improve your overall health.
- Eat a healthful, balanced diet: Give your body the nutrients it needs for optimal health by eating the recommended amounts of grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein foods. Visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov for guidance.
- Get enough sleep: During sleep the body recovers and repairs itself. It is critical for emotional and physical well-being. Most adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine: These substances may interfere with sleep and worsen stress.
- Use relaxation techniques: Take a few minutes to relax and reboot. Meditation, yoga stretches, and deep breathing can relieve stress.
- Set realistic goals: Accept the fact that there are certain things you cannot control. Prioritize your responsibilities and tasks for the day, set limits and do not take on more than you can handle. Focus on accomplishments, not shortcomings.
- Take time for yourself: Spend some down time every day doing something you enjoy. Take a walk, read a book, or spend time with friends. Take time to relax and refocus.
- Aromatherapy: Place a few drops of jasmine, bergamont or lavender oil in a diffuser to help create a calming environment in your home.
- Seek help: If you are having trouble coping or feel overwhelmed, seek help from a support group or medical professional.