How to Manage Stress

A woman meditates on the couch
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Relax. Take it easy. You need a break. Chill. Our society recognizes over scheduling, over worked, over tired, and over stressed as an issue, but these terms seem to be the best solutions that are breaking through the noise of managing the stress in our lives. Stress isn’t going anywhere, but how we manage it and how we talk about it can impact its effect on each of us. Integrity Urgent Care recognizes that we all have different triggers of stress and different levels of stress that can use practical solutions to help us live our lives better.

Short Term Strategies

There are moments in our life where we need a quick reduction in our stress levels. Verywell Mind, a mental health awareness publication, defines short term strategies as those that “can be performed anywhere, take very little practice to master, are free, [and] provide immediate relief.” Their recommendations are as easy to perform as going for a walk, even if it is a short walk around the block or the office building, the change of scenery and extra blood circulation can help ease your mind. Also, focusing on your breathing or intentional changing your breathing so you focus on the in and out is something you can do without even leaving your seat. Meditation and guided imagery (taking yourself through a scenic landscape or similar setting), for as little as a minute or two, can reduce your stress levels, too. For a little longer period of time, progressive muscle relaxation practices relaxing every muscle group, one-by-one.

Fast Acting Strategies

Fast acting strategies will produce results almost immediately but are sometimes more difficult to perform in a public setting. Creating artwork, through paint, clay, or even a kid’s coloring book, is a cathartic way to relax. Aromatherapy, through favorite scents, candles, and body products “can alter brain wave activity and decrease stress hormones in the body.” Receiving a hug from a loved one or having physical touch with someone you trust will release oxytocin which reduces blood pressure and stabilizes other hormones that contribute to higher stress levels.

Long Term Strategies

Long term habits that we perform in our lives on a regular basis can better equip us to manage stress when we are going through long periods of trials or when small stressful situations pop up in our day. Eating a balanced diet and finding an exercise routine you can stick to will help with your overall wellbeing and help you be more stable throughout your day. Remember that your form of “relax” can be unique to you and find a leisure activity that you enjoy. Whether it is something calming like reading or knitting or if it is something more active like hiking or kayaking, making time for leisure can make the other parts of your day function better. In your day-to-day, work on mental wellness by expressing gratitude frequently and performing positive self-talk. The more you practice both of these habits, the more likely you are to have a healthier outlook on whatever comes your way.

Problem Focused Coping

Sometimes, equipping ourselves to handle the stress we may face isn’t enough. We have to evaluate the sources of our stress and decide if there are any that need to be eliminated from our lives. Looking over your schedule and to-do lists can give you a better idea of how much workload you have taken on. Some of these things, like caring for young children, working to pay the bills, and performing chores around the house may not be able to be adjusted. Other commitments and obligations can be altered and tweaked to better fit into your life. Make sure you have community with others, whether it is one close friend or a support network, to confide in and receive encouragement from. Also, look at little sources of stress and decide if the benefit is worth the extra frustration. If every time you pour a cup of coffee you begin to feel wired or every scroll through social media gets your heart racing, consider setting limits on those stimuli or taking a fast from them altogether.

Stress is part of our journey, but how we react and handle the stressors we are faced with makes a big difference in our wellbeing. Our team at Integrity cares about every part of your mental and physical health. To learn more, contact us today.

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