Stress is unavoidable and results from our busy lives. These days, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Our team at Crossroads wants to provide you with hands-on methods to manage stress in your life. Taking control of your stress helps you handle its mental, physical and emotional impact in the long-run.
What causes Stress?
Stress is a part of our life. Whether it is going out of your way to make your kids happy, having to submit an important report to your boss, or paying off a loan, everything causes stress. Stress in the long run can seriously affect your mental health which will then affect your work and family life. Everybody has different factors that contribute to their stress, some common factors are:
- Losing your job
- Burnout at work
- Discrimination or Harassment
- Moving to a new home
- Managing your finances
- Traumatic events and many more…
- Caregiving for your loved ones
But wait! Did you know having a positive perspective towards stress lowers your stress level?
Yes, you read that right. Attitude and stress have a lot to do with each other. Being optimistic improves our overall well-being. Studies show that when you have a negative idea of what stress is, your anxiety, worry, and physical health symptoms of stress skyrocket. However, having a positive view on stress and how it prepares your body to handle tough situations helps you approach and manage stressful circumstances in a more productive and efficient way. Too much stress is not healthy, however, by shifting your perspective of stress as your body energizing you to take on a challenge, you are more equipped to face whatever comes your way, and will experience fewer of the negative side effects often associated with stress.
Now that you know what stress is, here are tips and tricks to manage unwanted symptoms of stress and help you get things done.
What are some ways to manage Stress?
There are a lot of techniques out there to reduce and manage stress. Often, the question that people get hung up on is “which will actually work for me?” Here are some simple changes you can make to your lifestyle that will help you manage stress:
- Exercise – Physical activity helps improve our sleeping patterns. Whether it is going to the gym, dancing at home, sports, or yoga, exercising releases several hormones that make you feel less anxious, more positive, and confident about yourself.
- Eat a balanced diet – Along with some physical activity, it is very important to include a balanced diet in your healthy eating has a positive impact on your mental health and immune system. Different foods like nuts, eggs, fruits, vegetables, beans, fish, and meat provide your body with antioxidants that help you fight against chronic stress.
- Sleep – Lack of sleep contributes to anxiety and more stress. Set a proper sleep schedule that includes 7-8 hours of sleep, put away electronics 30 mins before going to bed and try meditation or breathing exercises during bedtime for a peaceful undisturbed rest.
- Breathe Deeply – Different breathing patterns can be used in different situations. At Crossroads, our favourites are paced breathing and centered breathing. Paced breathing is used when you are feeling anxious or stress. Begin by exhaling for 10 seconds, pausing, inhaling for 4 seconds, pausing, and repeating the cycle for 3 minutes to calm your body and lower your heartrate. Centered breathing is used when you are already calm and want to remain that way! To use centered breathing, inhale for a count of 4, hold, and exhale for a count of 4. Continue this pattern and focus on the sensation of breathing. When you focus on your breathing patterns, your stress levels are reduced and you develop a sense of calm in your body.
- Reach out to people – Having a strong support network in place and seeking help whenever needed is extremely beneficial to you and your mental health. Whether talking to a friend or loved one on a phone call or in person, we all need someone to vent to. Talking to them will make you feel lighter and more relieved.
- Practice a hobby everyday – Ask yourself, what makes me happy? What makes you forget about the world and live in the moment? Whether it is cooking, dancing, listening to music etc. find an activity to do every day, remove an hour from your busy schedule to just focus on yourself. This is self-care, and is related to improved self-esteem, emotion regulation, and stress management.
- Say self-acceptance affirmations – Every day when you wake up, practice saying affirmations out loud to yourself, about anything and everything that you’re grateful for, and about the things that make you proud of yourself. Studies show practicing gratitude is related to experiencing more positive emotions and protects you from depression.
- Think about the things you can control – This is helpful for someone who is a caregiver. No matter how hard you try, you cannot do anything about the things you can’t control. When in a tough situation, analyze what you can and cannot change. This way, you will focus all your energy on the things you can change. With this practice you will make yourself realize you did everything you can.
- Get help! – Being a caregiver is not easy, and especially not for kids with high needs and kids in care. Crossroads is here for you. If you feel that you could really use some more time to yourself, contact us to learn about our respite and caregiving services. Let us help you get back in control!
Stress is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone. If you or someone you know is going through something, please reach out to your loved ones and practice these steps. These are some ways that can help you overcome stress and anxiety. To learn more about these techniques visit:https://dailycaring.com/10-stress-relief-tips-for-caregivers-infographic/