With all that is going on in the Spring of 2020 – stay-at-home orders, financial stressors, parents having to become teachers, and general anxiety from coronavirus – there seems to be a long list of new stressors being added to the normal, everyday troubles in the world. The most common sources of stress have often been the long list of changes in daily life and the unexpected nature of everyday things suddenly going differently than we expected.
Most people know what stress feels like but may not actually be able to recognize it when it’s being experienced. The little things that typically caused stress in the past might have been inconveniences like waking up late for work, rush hour traffic or work piling up. That sinking or, possibly angry, feeling you get when one of these things happens? That is the feeling of stress.
Nowadays, stress may come from spending more time inside, working from home, trying to get work done while taking care of kids, keeping a clean house, helping your kids’ complete their schoolwork, or just stress or anxiety from watching the news cycle or reading things on social media. The buildup of stress impacts your mind AND your body, and can put your health at risk. Stress is a leading cause of many health issues. Long-term stress can result in consistent headaches, stomach disorders and depression. Strokes and heart disease can also be a result of serious stress.
There are numerous benefits to combatting and managing your stress levels for both your mental and physical health.
Before you can combat the stress in your life, it’s important to know the key factors that contribute to that feeling. There are some stressors in your life that can be managed, and others that you have no influence over. For example, if you’re having to rush through your morning to get to work, perhaps it’s time to set that alarm clock a little earlier to give yourself enough time to get ready without having to rush. If you are feeling stress or anxiety because you are spending too much time in your house, try going for a walk, a hike, a bike ride or picking up a new hobby that gets you out of the house to soak in some vitamin D.
In cases like traffic accidents, weather or other situations you don’t have control over, it’s important to find constructive ways to approach these circumstances. The key is your willingness to be flexible. When you think of flexibility, think of the 3 C’s: Cool, Calm, and Collected.
- Recognize what stressors you don’t have control over and release yourself from that burden.
- Manage your own responses and reactions to situations (this will take some practice).
- Envision yourself in a healthy life and set goals – keep your goals in mind when stressors arise.
- Control your social media and news intake – Avoid stories and articles that are not factual. Even trusted news sources tend to inject their own opinions into stories based on facts. Take opinions with a grain of salt and remain focused on the facts.
It’s important to remember to make time for a little self-care and that can look different for everyone. Practicing a hobby you enjoy for 10-15 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your well-being.
If you need ideas to unwind, here are a few:
- Go for a walk or run
- Do a workout
- Spend time with family or friends (phone or video calls work too)
- Do yoga
- Explore constructive hobbies like gardening
Let’s work together to minimize our stress and change the way we respond to the factors that cause anxieties. The long term benefits of taking control of stress can be life-changing.
Let’s get you healthy!