We all face problems in life, but it’s the way we handle these problems that defines us. You may be thinking that you need to take some time off work or cut back on your responsibilities at home. Or perhaps you’re under enormous strain, caused by some recent crisis.
Whatever the reason, there’s no shame in admitting that things can get overwhelming sometimes. If you learn how to deal with stress better when it happens, then you can live a happier, more fulfilling life.
1. Don’t run away from stress.
Stress can be a powerful emotion that leads to negative thoughts. When stress becomes unmanageable, it can lead to worry, anxiety, depression and fatigue. Stress can also leave you feeling numb and empty.
If this happens to you often—or even occasionally—it may be time to learn how to manage the situation by seeking professional help from a GP or licensed therapist. They will help guide you through the process of managing stressors in your life so that they no longer affect who you are as an individual.
Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. It can dampen the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other common infections. It can contribute to asthma, digestive disorders, cancer, and other health problems. New research even supports the notion that high levels of stress somehow speed up the aging process.https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/stress
2. Recognize that your distress is not a permanent condition.
Stress is a normal response to a situation. It’s not always bad, and it can be managed.
When you’re under a lot of stress, it’s important to recognise that this isn’t something you have to live with forever.
I know that feeling of being overwhelmed, it’s a normal reaction when we’re in crisis. But once the crisis is over, then you can start to get back on track and work out how to move forward.
When I was first diagnosed with depression after a major stressful event, I felt like my whole world had been turned upside down. I was worried about my future, I was worried about my relationships and I didn’t know what to do about it all.
But now nine years later, things are much better than they have ever been before and there are lots of things that make me happy and grateful every day.
3. Take it one day at a time.
One of the best things you can do is take one day at a time, and do what you can. The most important thing is to take a deep breath and focus on something positive. You could try talking to someone who understands what you’re going through, or exercising—anything that makes you happy will help keep your mind off of the stressors in life. I love going to the beach, in summer, at least once a week. This helps me feel grounded and have a sense of calm in what can be a chaotic life. I also love taking deep warm relaxing baths. My favourite is to have an Epsom Salts bath. It relaxes my tense muscles and reduces stress.
If certain tasks or responsibilities are stressing you out right now (for me, it’s not getting on top of my housework), it may be helpful to take care of that task as soon as possible. For example, if my housework is out of control, I will reschedule my day so I can complete just an hour or so of cleaning before doing other planned activities. This reduces at least some of my stress levels.
Don’t be afraid to reschedule your plans or activities so you can deal with whatever is stressing you out first. Only when we are less stressed can we be better, happier versions of ourselves and truly enjoy other aspects of our lives.
4. You are not alone if you feel stressed out. And there are things you can do to help yourself.
- Get some sleep. It’s simple, but it can make all the difference in your mood and ability to cope with stressors. Try going to bed at a reasonable hour, or even earlier if possible—it’s not healthy to stay up late too many nights in a row (or wake up early). If that doesn’t work for you, consider taking naps during the day. I often do this when my toddler has multiple overnight wake-ups. I know that if I don’t nap during the day, I will become stressed from being overtired which will lead to stress in my marriage and my ability to cope with daily tasks.
- Make sure you connect with a friend or someone you trust regularly. The ability to download to a friend and have them validate your feelings may be all the therapy you need. Sometimes it’s hard to schedule these catch-ups; however, when we do set aside time to stay connected with our friends it can help put things in perspective and give us an avenue for venting our frustrations. I find that if I share what is troubling me, it feels like I’m letting some of it go so I have more emotional and mental capacity to deal with the problem and its associated stress.
Complaining might get a bad rap, but it’s not always a bad thing to vent your feelings out — especially if you’re stressed. Eva Stubits, PhD, a Houston-based clinical psychologist who specializes in stress management, says that talking about how stressed you are can help you get it out of your system, so to speak.
“[Venting] helps take the feelings out from inside of yourself, it helps you to process them,” she says. “It’s kind of like the pressure cooker analogy: If you don’t open a lid periodically, the steam can build up and cause you to feel even more stressed. If you let it out, it can help you process whatever it is you’re worried about.”https://www.refinery29.com/amp/en-us/venting-talking-to-someone-benefits
As we’ve seen, there are many different ways of coping with stress. The good news is that you can find a technique that works for you and stick with it—even if it takes time. And once you get to know yourself better, you’ll be able to recognise when your stress levels are high or low and make adjustments accordingly. Remember: the key to managing stress is recognising it in the first place!