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Healthy Ways to Manage Stress

Our daily lives encompass so much, from work to family and other time commitments. Even when things bring us joy, experiencing too much at once can often lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Plus, add in the recent coronavirus pandemic and trying to keep it away from you and your family, and it’s enough to raise anyone’s stress levels. Unfortunately, stress can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. Taking the time to manage stress and allowing your mind to relax is essential, and there are plenty of healthy ways to do so.

Start Stress Management Right

While we may not be able to prepare for every stressful situation, there are some things that we encounter regularly, such as the daily commute, or times that invoke feelings of stress, like meeting with your boss. The first part of any stress management plan is understanding what it is that usually triggers those feelings. You can easily start to manage stress on a day-to-day basis by avoiding unnecessary stress, change the way you behave in certain situations, adapt your expectations to regain a sense of control, and understand that there comes a time to accept what cannot be changed.

Healthy Stress Management Activities

Once you’ve started thinking differently about stress, try implementing some different activities in your life to help you release any feelings you may be holding onto. Here are some healthy ways that have been shown to help manage stress:

  • Participate in Physical Activity. This can be anything from dancing to your favorite music in the living room or taking a walk around the block to a full gym workout when quarantine recommendations are lifted. Exercise and activity release endorphins that naturally make us feel better, and being physically active can also provide a welcome distraction. It’s recommended to do 30 minutes or more of regular exercise, but start where you are comfortable and increase from there.
  • Spend Quality Time with Others. Taking the time to be around friends or family in person that make you feel safe and understood creates a natural stress relief – and can help with anxiety and depression. While the coronavirus has put a damper on this, you can still spend time together using Facetime or Skype. Don’t look for them to give you advice on fixing the stress, but they should be good listeners when you need them.
  • Make Time for Yourself. It can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but making time for yourself is vital. Everyone needs a physical and mental break from it all, so set aside that time just for you. Add in an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s playing an instrument, painting, or reading.
  • Try a Relaxation Technique. Activate your body’s relaxation response by doing yoga, meditation, or deep breathing. These activities decrease stress levels while calming and centering your mind and body.
  • Follow a Healthy Diet & Kick Bad Habits. This tip is more about helping you cope with stress better. Steady energy and balanced nutrition will help your mind stay clear throughout the day and improve your sleep, which is essential for stress management. Don’t turn to alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to cope with stress as it is a temporary relief that will only mask the problem – and they’ll often leave you feeling worse.

Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives, but not every management idea is right for everyone. It may take some trial and error to figure out what you enjoy best, but keep trying!

Because stress can often lead to other health concerns, it’s important to take control. If you’re worried about how stress has been affecting you, visit one of our Midwest Express Clinic locations today. We can help ensure physical health with an exam and provide you with more ways you can manage the stress in your daily life.