Feeling stressed out? If your daily life feels like a whirlwind of kids, career, chaos and commitments, it’s time to take control. Taking care of yourself now, can reduce your level of stress and help you to stay cool, calm and collected later when stressors hit.
Know Your Stress Symptoms
Before you can start reducing your level of stress, it’s important to know how stress is linked to a broad range of physical and mental issues, including:
- Changes in sex drive
- Chest pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Mood changes, including increasing feelings of anger, sadness, or anxiety
- Overeating or undereating
- Substance abuse
Make a To-Do List
Recognize any stress symptoms? Let’s start to fix them now. Each morning, write down tasks you face that day. As you make a schedule for the day, budget ample time to do carpools, go to the supermarket, prepare meals and do work and other responsibilities. Be sure to include on your list some alone time in your schedule – you need a reprieve to counter stress.
If you find that you have more tasks scheduled than time available, rewrite the list and prioritize the projects that must be done. Put the less important projects or activities at the bottom of the list. These can wait until another day or you can delegate them to others. Sharing the load is crucial as you learn to balance your day without excess stress.
Say “No” On Occasion
Saying “no” is often a very difficult thing to do, but saying “no” can really reduce the likelihood of getting stressed. If a new commitment will make you feel uptight and anxious, say no. Be your own bodyguard as you eliminate extra commitments that cause you to feel stressed out.
Take Care of your Health
One of the best ways to keep stress to a minimum is to practice good self-care. Exercise and a healthy diet are essential to keeping your mental and physical health at its peak. Take advantage of the natural mood boost that accompanies a good workout. Schedule in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day on most days of the week. Also, avoid overeating, particularly sweets and salt, which most people crave when stressed out. Remember STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backwards! Get in control.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is critical to good health, especially during times of high stress. When you get enough sleep at night, you reduce your risk for several chronic health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes. By getting enough sleep, you can also maintain a healthier immune system, reducing the chances of getting sick with a cold or the flu.
Be Good Enough
Relax! You have permission to be good enough. Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself time on the weekends to dress down and enjoy your life. Take walks. Watch the sunset. Enjoy the little things life has to offer. By giving yourself permission to be “less than perfect”, you can learn to enjoy life more and feel a lot less stressed. Remember, life is a journey to be enjoyed – not a race to be won.
Do you need a primary care doctor? Call the Queen’s Referral line at 808-691-7117 to find one.