• Feeling anxious and nervous
• Having trouble sleeping or eating or perhaps you are eating too much
• Difficulty concentrating
• Nervous tics and mannerisms
• Taking or thinking about drugs
• Irritability; arguing with your family and co-workers
• Weeping for “no reason”
• Social withdrawal
These are all signs of stress and many of us have experienced one or more of these symptoms in our lives.
I think that there is little disagreement when I say that we live in a very stressful world. Political unrest, economic uncertainty, and fears about the spread of disease. We all know that stress undermines our health, productivity and mental and emotional well-being but with that being said many do not know what to do to manage the stress in their lives.
Here are some practical tips to help you reduce and manage your stress, and while most of them are pretty obvious, it is amazing what gets overlooked and ignored by all of us when we are going through a stressful period
Alter or avoid the situation that causes you stress. I understand that might be easier said than done but taking a good look at your stress and understanding its root cause is the first step towards reducing your stress. You shouldn’t expect it to be easy, however the work that it takes to alter or eliminate the situation will be well worth it in the long run.
Pay attention to what you’re eating. A healthy diet and good nutrition are fundamental to good health. This isn’t the time to skip meals or gorge on chocolate chip cookies. No time to cook? Check out the many online services that can help you out at mealtime such as Top Chef Meals. http://topchefmeals.com/ or Home Cooking For You http://www.homecookingforyou.com/
Make time to exercise. It’s been shown that physical activity can reduce stress. Hate going to the gym? Find another activity that is more enjoyable. The plain truth is that you might have to push yourself just a wee bit but the results will be well worth it. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
Seek professional help. Sometimes you can’t manage your stress alone and the best step is to seek the advice and help of a professional. There are stress management specialists, life coaches and therapists who can help you find your way to a better place.
Avoid drinking to excess. Drinking excessively can provide short-term oblivion but will do nothing to solve the stressful situation and, in most cases, will simply exacerbate an already difficult time.
Be grateful. One of the best ways to manage stress is to stop thinking about the negative and be grateful for where you are or what you have. Friends, family, good health, your job, your home, your pets and so on. No matter how desperate the situation may be there is almost always something for which you can be grateful.
Remember to laugh. We all know that old cliché, “laughter is the best medicine.”
Well, it’s true so try to maintain your sense of humor and keep your “stressors” in perspective.
Schedule time to do something that you enjoy. I know that we’re all very busy but it’s important to find time each day, even if just for 15-30 minutes, to do something that you enjoy and that will relax you. A hobby, a hot shower, gardening, cooking, it doesn’t much matter what it is except that it gives you pleasure to be doing it.
Of course there are other things that you can do as well to manage your stress but the key is to recognize the situation and then take the actions necessary to make things better.
As Nike says, “Just do it!”