Stress is a serious issue that we all experience in life. Managing stress is very important, otherwise leading to a number of serious health issues from high blood pressure to heart attacks and depression, just to name a few. Whether school, family, or something in between, the holiday season can be particularly stressful. So, here’s a quick overview of how I’ve handled and suggest handling stress.
Take Control of Your Stressors
We can sometimes feel there’s nothing we can do about stress. The truth is we have more control over stress than we might think. First, identify the cause(s) of stress. Is stress linked to studies, job, health, family, or a financial issue? No matter what is causing stress, we can manage and control it. Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when possible, changing our reaction when we can’t, taking care of ourselves, and making time for rest and relaxation. Remember: there is no such thing as “perfect.”
Unhealthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Life can be hard. That’s when stress comes in. Too many times, we choose to take an easy way out and maybe lean on an old crutch to get us through – stress eating and lethargy are two examples that come to mind. The problem is the old crutch is extremely unhealthy and can lead to bigger problems. Some unhealthy examples of stress management are: smoking, excessive drinking, binge eating or not eating, withdraw from social interaction, drugs, and displacing stress onto others by lashing out.
Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Everyone deals with stress differently. Let’s not be in denial about the stress in our lives and attempt to rationalize it. We must own it to successfully manage it. The key is finding a healthy outlet to deal with stress and sticking with a routine.
- Exercise is a great way to manage stress.
- Engage socially.
- Avoid stressful situations as much as possible. Learn how to say no or ask for help. Take control of the environment. If the evening news induces anxiety, turn the TV off. If shopping at the market or mall creates stress, consider shopping online.
- If avoiding the stressful situation is not an option, alter the situation.
- Time Management – plan ahead! Poor time management can stress us out. But, with proper planning, there’s less likelihood that we will get overextended and stressed.
Change isn’t easy but when we are talking stress, change is a must. Use these tips to help manage stress and start feeling better, with less stress, today.
By Al Grubb, PT, MSPT