Though it affects us all in different ways, it’s a veritable guarantee that everyone deals with stress. If you’re not able to manage stress as it comes, it can pile up and create significant long-term health issues and other problems. Being proactive about stress management is something you should do every day, and it can be easy enough when you take a few proven paths.
Get a full night’s rest
A lack of sleep can create a vicious cycle when it comes to stress. Without proper rest, you may find yourself less energized, unable to focus on your work, and more irritable than normal. These feelings can create more stress, which makes it harder to fall asleep. Cut this ouroboros off by taking steps to better ensure that you get a full night’s rest every night. The Mayo Clinic staff recommends actions like creating a sleep schedule and sticking to it, minimizing screen time before bed, and listening to calming music or white noise.
Focus on physical health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that there’s a correlation between physical activity and a better state of mind. Even if you’re only able to fit in 15 minutes of exercise a day, taking a brisk walk or doing some pushups can create a positive reaction that helps combat chemical stress. Focusing on the physical by eating better, staying hydrated, and cutting out bad habits like overconsumption of alcohol and smoking can have a positive impact on your holistic health, giving you more confidence and greater peace of mind.
Create a self-care routine
Stress will add up more quickly if you feel like you can’t take a break to focus on yourself. The Cleveland Clinic notes that creating an effective self-care routine ensures you always have a little time to look after your well-being. Self-care can take many different forms and can include naps, exercise, and a healthy meal. You can also use this time to incorporate other stress-relieving activities like writing your thoughts in a journal, meditating, or watching an episode of your favorite show.
Cleveland Clinic also recommends having one monthly self-care activity that’s a bit more involved or extensive. This can include booking a day out at the spa, scheduling a lunch date with an old friend, taking your partner to a baseball game, or even going on a weekend getaway. By peppering your busy schedule with positive checkpoints, you’ll have more incentive and motivation to look ahead and stay ahead of stress.
Get help when you need it
The stigmatization of mental health issues is an unfortunate reality, and it can make it harder for people to want to speak out when they’re struggling. If you want to manage your stress, you have to cast those misconceptions aside. Heidi Godman, executive editor of the Harvard Health Letter, writes that reaching out to friends for an opinion or just a willing ear is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s more likely that your friends and family would prefer it since it will allow you to feel better and be more present. If your issues are particularly troubling, it’s also a good choice to seek professional advice from a therapist.
Stress is just a part of daily life, and so too should your efforts to manage it. By being aware of your struggles and taking steps to relieve your anxiety before it can boil over, you can be happier, healthier, and more in control.