Healthy Coping During Times of Stress
It is a stressful world out there even for people who do not suffer from stress to a particularly high degree. There are hundreds of potential stressors in a person’s daily life including work, family, friends, society in general and this year we have been dealing with the pandemic and not seeing our loved ones as often or possibly at all.
Even the most easy going personality will have felt that increase in blood pressure and feeling of irritation that comes along with a situation that is annoying and more difficult than it needs to be. It is therefore important to have some coping strategies to help you navigate the potential stress inducing life situations.
Prepare for a Stressful Day
There is no way of telling how a day is going to unfold, what might happen at work, how the family is doing or how a stranger at the coffee shop may ruin your day. It is therefore important to try and start your day as positively as possible to arm yourself against what ever may come your way.
WebMD suggests that a few practices at the start of your day can help avoid stress later on. These include making sure to get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, engage in light exercise such as yoga and plan your time well.
Use Calming Techniques
If you encounter a stressful situation remember one important rule, pause, and breathe. Something as simple as taking a few breathes before engaging a situation can be the difference between successful navigation or making a situation worse.
The Mayo Clinic suggests a practice known as progressive muscle relaxation. This method involves daily practice of tensing and relaxing all of the different muscle groups in the body.
The result of this is a greater awareness of physical tension when you become stressed allowing you to physically choose to relax the muscles. A focused mind in tune with the body can help ease the effects of stress.
Stress can be a result of a situation in which you feel that you have lost control and that feeling may make you anxious. It is suggested that as a stress preventing measure you should teach yourself to accept that there are events that you cannot control.
This means that you must be ready to adapt to a change in your day that you were not expecting. Time management is key to this because a sudden change that may take up more of your time can be tolerated better if you have time to spare. Plan each day with contingency time in case you hit traffic or have to run an emergency errand. Control what you can and that is your use of time.
Eat Your Way Calm
Good nutrition is essential to stave off stress. It is important to eat regular healthy meals that are rich in the right kinds of nutrition. Eat a high fiber diet that includes vegetables, healthy fats, and high protein snacks.
This helps to keep the body feeling healthy and as a result gives a general feeling of emotional well being. When you don’t feel well everything seems to be worse including stress.
The key to dealing with life’s daily stresses lies in being prepared for anything and being willing to adapt. An ability to recognize the signs of stress and actively work to relieve them can make for a better daily lifestyle.
If you take care of your body with diet and exercise it pays you back by helping you deal with stress. Finally, don’t let stress control you. Even if the only thing you can control is how you respond to stress you still have control.
Assignment: What is one thing you can do differently this next week to better handle stress in your life. Remember one small step at a time – 1% better each day!