Stress is important in our life. It motivates us to overcome challenges and be productive. However, when stress becomes too much, it causes many adverse effects on your health and wellbeing. It can make you frustrated, exhausted, and may cause difficulty in concentrating. Too much stress may even affect your immunity and leave you more vulnerable to infections.
Effects of Too Much Stress:
Whether your stress is work-related or because of some personal problems, it will affect your health and performance. Here are the common symptoms that may indicate you are under too much stress and need to relax:
- Disturbed sleep or difficulty falling asleep.
- Frequent headaches
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Feeling depressed, lonely, and worthless. You may feel like withdrawing into isolation.
- Moodiness, increased anger, and irritability
- Loss of interest in activities
- Increased tendency to worry
- Increased use of alcohol or drug use
- Difficulty in concentrating.
As you can see, too much stress can cause you many problems. That is why it is important to manage your stress. Here are some simple ways to help you cope with stress.
Tips to cope with stress
Recognize the stressor:
Before you can beat your stress, you need to know what is causing it. So pay attention to your day-to-day activities and see what’s making you stressed. Keeping a stress journal may help you do that. Often there is more than one reason leading to an unhealthy increase in stress. Make note of all of them. Once you have recognized your stressors, sit down calmly, and plan how you can avoid or face them in a better way.
Try for better work/life balance:
If you are facing work-related stress, then try to attain a better work/life balance. Success is great. But if it comes at the cost of your health, then it is too expensive. Try to relax, spend more time with your family and friends, allow yourself an occasional time-off, and give as much importance to your life as you give to your work.
You may feel you are too tired to even move a finger. You may think you have no energy to spare for exercise. But you should include regular exercise in your daily routine. You will find exercise makes you feel more energetic. It will improve your mood too and make you feel more optimistic. And if you exercise with a partner or friends, it will help you relax and feel rejuvenated.
Eat Well to cope with stress:
A healthy and nutritious diet is important for your health. A well-nourished body is better able to face the challenges of life without getting stressed. So reduce your intake of unhealthy food like processed foods and sugary snacks and drinks. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Munching on seeds and berries is much better than snacking on fried chips or other fast-food items.
Limit Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Stimulants:
Stress may make you lean too much on alcohol, cigarettes, and other stimulants. However, these will only harm you in the long run. So avoid using these as crutches to beat your stress. Make healthier choices.
Reach out to Supportive People:
Choose your friends well. Negative people will make you feel more demotivated. So, it’s better to interact with supportive people who have a positive outlook. And don’t keep all your problems bottled within you. Share them with your family and friends. They might offer constructive suggestions to reduce your problems. If nothing else, social interaction will make you feel better and less alone.
Take up a hobby to cope with stress:
You may think you are too busy to have a hobby. But hobbies are not just for time-pass. They can help you relax. By engaging in activities that give you joy, you can reduce your stress by almost half. Whether you take up a creative hobby, a leisure activity, sports, or just chatting with your friends, it will make you feel relaxed and happier.
Practice Meditation, Yoga, or other relaxation strategies:
Meditation, Yoga, and such relaxation techniques can activate a state of restfulness, counterbalancing your body’s stress-induced fight-or-flight hormones. These hormones can make it harder for you to feel relaxed. By practicing relaxation techniques, you have a better chance to reduce your stress.
Take sufficient sleep:
Sleep is very important for ensuring better health and mood. So guard your sleep zealously. If you don’t get sufficient sleep, you will feel more exhausted, frustrated, and stressed. You will find it harder to concentrate on your work, which may lead to mistakes and more stress. So take seven to eight hours of sleep every day. For better sleep, avoid staring into the screens or eating heavy meals just before going to bed. Remove all disturbances from your bedroom. If you continue to have difficulty falling asleep, consult your doctor.
Reduce the noise:
Even too much noise can make you feel stressed. Avoiding work-related sounds may be hard. But try to limit the noise pollution in your home, at least. Lower the volume of the TV or music system. Take a quiet break. Walk in a park, your garden, or your balcony. If nothing else, sit alone in a room and just listen to your breaths. You will be amazed at how relaxing even 15 minutes of total quiet can be. You can also relax by listening to some calming sounds like birds chirping, sound of rain, etc. Here are some apps and websites for pleasant ambient sounds that can help you relax and sleep.
Take a Vacation:
Vacations are important to help you recuperate from the strenuous work schedule and feel rejuvenated. Vacations can help you spend quality time with friends and family. It can take your mind away from work problems. So don’t sacrifice on your vacation days. You have a right to go on holiday. So do it and enjoy!
Consult a specialist:
If you feel your stress is getting too much for you and you are not able to cope with it, seek professional help. Consult a Counselor, Coach, or Therapist. Their expert advice can help you deal with your stress better.
Stress is an unavoidable part of your life. Even children feel stress. But that does not mean you must suffer from it. With care and a few precautions, you can learn to cope with stress in a better and healthier way.