Coping with Stress
Learning how to deal with stress is an integral part of everyday life. Stress occurs at all stages of life and can come in several forms. During the duration of the past few years, the pandemic has been a source of stress for many individuals globally. By working on healthy coping mechanisms for stress, you will become more resilient in dealing with problems and can help yourself and those around you.
When stress is happening, it can manifest itself in different ways. Some ways that stress may affect one physically, mentally and emotionally are:
- Irregular eating patterns (overeating or undereating)
- Change in interests, energy, and desires
- Challenging time making decisions and concentrating on tasks
- Trouble sleeping and/or nightmares
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, stomachaches, aches and pains, or rashes
- Intensified chronic health issues or mental health conditions
- Increase in use of substances (alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs)
- Feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, and numbness
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and signs, it is a good time to take a step back and focus on helping yourself and others deal with stress. Here are some healthy coping mechanisms to combat stress:
Limit checking the news and using social media
While it is important to stay up to date on world events and check in with family and friends, the news and social media can also serve as stressors, especially when there is bad news being shared. By allowing yourself to take breaks, watching the news and utilizing social media becomes less stressful, and allows you to control your media consumption.
2. Take care of your body
Being sure to keep an eye on your physical health is crucial. Some simple ways to implement this into your everyday routine are to go to sleep at the same time every day, eating more fruits and vegetables, adding more physical activity into your daily life, meditating, and following up on regular health appointments. With these small additions, your body will begin to feel better and more relaxed.
3. Create time to unwind
Whether your daily tasks involve working in person, virtually, or anywhere else, it is important to remember that your body and mind need to de-stress at the end of the day. Allowing yourself to take time to do activities you enjoy allows for relaxation and periods of rest.
4. Connect with others and your community
Other fulfilling ways to try something new can be to spend time with those close to you and engage in activities around the community. Connect with those closest to you by spending time together, sending a simple message, or having a phone call. Ways to get involved in the community could be visiting local parks, attending a community theater show, trying a new restaurant, or using the free resources in your area, such as a library.
Overall, stress can be an overwhelming part of life. By understanding how it impacts us, we can understand ourselves better and know what tools and resources we need. Focusing on healthy coping mechanisms may not diminish stress entirely, but it will help you be able to balance daily life more effectively.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, March 25). Coping with stress. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 20, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/stress-coping/cope-with-stress/index.html