Stress is an adaptive response that is the consequence of any action, situation, or event that places special demands on a person. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, which rouse the body for emergency action.
I was recently in the hospital for having some issues breathing. Aside from having asthma and other lung issues, the doctors said my stress levels were extremely high and that I needed to "relax" before I killed myself. RELAX? How in the world am I supposed to relax? Motherhood, being a wife, running businesses, and LIFE is stressful. So HOW am I supposed to "simply", relax?
As women, stress takes a serious toll on our bodies. It can cause weight gain and/or weight loss (if we're lucky), our hair can fall out, we can become depressed, have insomnia, panic attacks, high blood pressure, become impatient/short tempered, our bodies are more prone to diseases, and the list goes on and on. It's easy for others to say "Stop stressing, relax a little." But how?
Here are a few tips that I know of to help deal with stress, I hope they help you too!
1. PRAY I know what some of you are thinking "Oh Boy, 'God' and Bible stuff" but honestly a simple prayer can ease so much tension and help give you an instant sense of comfort and relief. - 1 Thessalonian 5:17 says "Pray constantly" - Matthew 6:34 says "So never to be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles."
2. MEDITATE Meditation is a relaxation technique used to quiet or ease the mind or to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time. Play some soothing music or find a quiet peaceful area in your house or car (I use my bathroom and car) and just turn off the lights, sit down and breathe. Try to take this time to clear your mind of anything negative and just enjoy the few moments of peace, think of things that make you happy or think of nothing at all.
3. SLEEP I think this is the hardest one for me, yet it's one of the most important. Sleeping is so vital for our body and brain and yet it's one of the things we get so little of. I can't just randomly take a nap, and when I put my kids to bed I don't want to SLEEP! I want some ME time or some me and hubby time, but I have to learn to make sleep more important to me and actually go to bed at a decent time every night whether I want to or not. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you're sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It's forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. If you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior. Bottom line, get some rest!
4. DON'T RUN Running from your problems only makes them worse. Although at the time it may seem difficult or impossible, facing and resolving issues as quickly as possible will help relieve stress sooner.
5. AVOID BINGE EATING I LOVE FOOD. I want ice cream when I'm happy and sad. But seeking comfort in food can eventually lead to unwanted weight gain, believe me, I KNOW.
6. PAY ATTENTION TO STRESSORS One of the best ways to modify or reduce stress is to identify and eliminate your stressors. Now most of us know EXACTLY what stresses us out, but for those who don't, buy a journal and write down everything that causes you stress or gives you anxiety. Having knowledge of what stresses you out allows you to know what to avoid.
7. DO ONE THING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY Simple, every day do just one thing that is solely for you and makes you happy! Aside from doing little things every day that bring me joy, I go to a spa once a week every Thursday night and enjoy some personal me time! (I'll tell you more about it in another post)
8. STRATEGIZE Okay, so you figured out what's causing your stress and there's nothing you can remove from your life but everything needs order, right? That's where I am. Come up with a strategic game plan that helps organize your daily, weekly, and monthly life. Giving you an opportunity to see what you need to do and put in the time for yourself.
For example, there's nothing I can do about my husband, kids, bills, work, etc. however, I can plan out how I will make time for me and figure out what it is about all of those things that stress me out, then I'll work towards adjusting the way I'm handling them while also making sure it's not driving me CRAZY!
9. CHANGE If you know what causes your stress and you can change it, change it. If your job is stressing you out, revamp that resume of yours and search for a new one! Money isn't worth your happiness or health. If your man is stressing you out, reevaluate your relationship, compare your pros and cons and see what you need to do to change your situation. If the state you live in is depressing, make the necessary preparations to move!
10. SEEK HELP Stress comes in multiple forms, whether yours is physical and physiological i.e. heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, or cravings, or emotional and behavioral, like having severe anxiety, depression, or difficulty concentrating, if you are having trouble dealing with stress DON'T LET IT GET THE BEST OF YOU! Seek help. Don't be afraid or ashamed to say to someone you trust "I need help!" It is okay to want and need help and should be encouraged and praised. It takes a strong person to say "I am not okay.".
What do you do to deal with stress?