Stress. A dirty 6 letter word that can derail even the best of dieters. A lot of Americans are stress eaters, 38% according to a study by the American Psychological Association. Americans are typically fast paced and workaholics, many Americans have to work 2 or 3 jobs just to survive. Though I won’t go into the politics on that one, I could probably write pages on the subject, but I won’t. But working 60-80 hours a week doesn’t leave much time for self-care. And self-care is so important, in an airplane you put your own oxygen mask on first because you can only help others if you take care of yourself first.
I’ll go into self-care in another post someday and what that entails. But today I’m going to focus on some tips for managing stress. I found 13 tips for managing stress on WebMD and I’m going to discuss them a little bit.
- Is there a way to limit your stress or to get rid of it completely. If it’s stress at your job, maybe you can delegate to someone else to relieve your burden. If it’s at home, maybe you can find a way to solve the problem or a system to have your family help you. Like a chore chart if it’s housework, or a weekly meal plan so you don’t have to worry about what you are going to make every night.
- Stay positive. Sometimes you can’t control what happens in your life, but you can control how you react to it. Complaining and dragging your feet only feed stress and don’t tackle the issue. Focus on what you can learn from the stress whether it be a project at school or work, or a character building type thing.
- Take a stand. Don’t roll over and take everything life hands to you. Assert yourself, if your boss is taking advantage of you, politely assert your dissent. Don’t get angry or passive about things.
- Learn ways to calm yourself like meditation or yoga.
- Of course exercise is going to be on this list. Everyone knows the benefits of working out, you typically feel much more refreshed and focused after a workout.
- Eat healthy, another obvious. Though we want to reach for the comfort food, the heavy fat and sugars will weigh you down and make you feel sluggish and worn out.
- Learn to manage your time effectively. Try a to-do list, if you already do a to-do list try sorting it by priority. Get a planner, use your phone’s calendar. Don’t give yourself last minute panics because you forgot to do a project or go to an appointment.
- This is a hard one for me. Say no. If someone asks you to join a committee, or run an event. If you don’t have the time or energy to do it, politely decline by saying you don’t have the time for it. Trust me, people will understand. And don’t cave to a guilt trip.
- Hobbies make time for them, reading, writing, or coloring. Adult coloring books are quite the rage right now. I have one, and I also have adult paint by numbers, you would be surprised how good it feels to focus on something other than your to-do list. Below is my first foray into paint by numbers.
- REST! I can not stress the importance of sleep, I am so adamant about sleep that I actually have an entire post about sleep planned at some point in the future. You have to make time to sleep, not sleeping will only make your stress worse. I speak from experience on that one, I was the queen of all-nighters in college.
- Do not rely on substances to help relieve stress. Alcohol is a depressant, it will only make you feel worse once the buzz wears off. I don’t know anything about weed from experience other than my therapist and psychiatrist tell me to stay far away from it. Especially since it is illegal where I live and the stress of getting caught is not helpful to managing stress. Also you should limit caffeine intake, because of the crash it can give. I personally don’t have a problem with caffeine I don’t get any sort of rush from it, but I get headaches without it. So I make sure I have at least a glass or mug of caffeinated tea every day.
- Another obvious one, focus on the important people in your life. People always come first, I have a favorite quote, “life is about the people we meet, the places we go and the memories made along the way.” Our loved ones should always come first in our lives, because without them life is rather meaningless.
- If you try these things and you still need help, there is NO shame in seeking professional help. A therapist, a counselor, or even a clergyman if you are religious can be a great assistance. If you are a college student many campuses offer FREE counseling with a licensed therapist. Or it could even be covered by your insurance policy. And some therapists offer assistance if you are unable to afford their services. Such as Comtrea in Jefferson County.
- Bonus tip: Nature, go outside, unplug from your devices and focus on the beauty this world has to offer. I know I need to do this more, I’m not an outdoorsy person. Mostly because I hate bugs and I get sunburnt easily. I mean easily, I was outside for 5 hours, applied sunscreen (SPF 50) 3 times, and I was still painfully burnt just last summer. I don’t do sun well. The picture is of West City Park in my hometown.