Stress is one of the worst things you can do to both your mind and your body. Not only does it make you anxious and makes it seem impossible to focus on anything else but what’s causing you stress, it also has physical side effects like exhaustion, irritability, and worse, a depleted immune system. Lots of things in life can stress you out, whether it’s personal issues, a matter within your family, or something at your job, and the most important thing to remember when you’re stressed is that it’s temporary and if you learn to cope with it you can work towards relieving some of it from your life. There are lots of ways of coping with stress, and some are healthier than others. Smoking, drinking, or overeating are just a few of the unhealthy ways of coping with stress. Instead of slipping into a bad mood and finding yourself indulging in one of those ways, try a few of these healthy ways of coping with whatever’s stressing you out so you can try and get those stress levels down.
Start a Stress Journal
If you’re already keeping a journal, great! You’re familiar with the idea of setting some time aside each day to write in your journal. If you’ve been keeping one for a while then you’ve probably been writing about what’s stressing you out, but you might not be doing it in the healthiest way. If possible, set time aside to keep a journal specifically focused on your stress. It sounds counter-productive at first because it seems to suggest that dwelling on the stressor is going to help you, but that’s not the case. It’s more than that! Keeping a stress journal involves trying to isolate the source of your stress and writing about it (don’t worry, it’s okay to make a guess if you’re unsure what has you feeling so stressed out) as well as how it specifically made you feel. Talk about physical things and emotional things, since stress affects you in different ways! Talk about how you acted in response, too, and how you came back from it. What did you do to make yourself feel better? By writing all of these things out you’re dealing with your stress in a healthy and safe way and hopefully by rationalizing what had you so upset, you’ll be able to move past it.
Set Aside Relaxation Time
Too much relaxation can in fact be a bad thing. If you’re coping with your stress by spending all of your free time sleeping to the point where it seems like you aren’t getting anything done, that’s not coping with stress. That’s pushing it away and trying to deal with it in an unhealthy way, which is only going to make it worse. Setting aside relaxation time is a little more structured. Make it so that a part of your day is devoted to relaxing, whether that’s taking a warm bubble bath, reading a book, going for a walk or jog through the woods or playing with one of your pets. It’s all about what makes you feel better. You’ll be able to clear your head and calm down and it will help you cope with the things that are stressing you out because you’ll be able to approach possible solutions rationally. Make sure you don’t overindulge, though, and end up spending too much time doing nothing. That’s not relaxing, that’s just being lazy and avoiding the issue! Setting a specified beginning and end time can help.
Make Some Connections
Although it seems like the easiest and most logical thing to do when you’re stressed is to isolate yourself from everyone else, that’s not a good way to deal with stress at all. It’s only going to make you feel more alone and that’s the last thing you want. A great way to cope with stress is to reach out and make some connections with someone. If it’s a family member you haven’t had time to talk to because of something that’s stressing you out at work, give them a phone call or drop by for a visit. If family situations have you on edge and stressed, try phoning a friend that you might not have seen in a while and catch up. Talking to people and making those human connections is so important because it lets you know that you’re not alone and you aren’t suffering through your stress all by yourself. Besides, there isn’t anything that can beat the good feeling that comes from truly having a meaningful conversation with someone.