Stress has been a hot topic for a while now, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone knows that the world is full of potential stressors and also that feeling stressed out can be very bad for mental and physical health. What’s often less clear is exactly how you can deal with those feelings of stress effectively in order to avoid burnout and other negative consequences. With that in mind, read on to find out more about why stress can be so damaging – and get some top tips on how to handle it.
What is stress, and why is it harmful?
It’s tricky to define exactly what stress is because the word is used to talk about both the cause and effect. However, you can think of it as anything that makes you feel threatened or under pressure, triggering the body’s natural fight or flight response. Sometimes this can be helpful, for instance, by enabling us to avoid danger or find the motivation to cope with life’s many hectic demands. At other times it can be damaging, causing long-term negative health impacts such as headaches, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and even heart attacks. Consequently, if you are unable to remove the causes of stress from your life, then it’s important to learn how to handle them.
What are some of the most effective ways to deal with stress?
Stress looks different to different people. For example, you might get a thrill out of public speaking, whereas your best friend turns into a nervous wreck just thinking about it. Therefore it’s natural that everyone will all have various ways of coping with stress too. The following ideas are intended to give you some inspiration to find out what works best for you:
Take the time to pamper yourself with a massage, facial toning device, manicure, or any other beauty treatment you enjoy. Make sure to also avoid falling back on negative habits such as drinking too much alcohol, eating lots of junk food, or smoking, and focus on what can aid your self-care efforts. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep (try a sleep mask, sleep stories, or a weighted blanket if this is something you struggle with).
- Exercises help
Engaging in intense exercise to burn off steam, for example running or martial arts is a great idea. However, doing some deep breathing exercises or meditating (Calm and Headspace are both great apps for beginners) is also a great form of exercise that may help.
- Find something you love
Take part in a hobby you love, whether it’s chess, drawing, climbing, reading or video games. Or sing like no one is listening and dance like no one is watching – both are guaranteed to lift your spirits. You can find the when you spend time using an adult coloring book it reduces your anxiety.
- Get Outside Alone or with Friends
Take a long walk in the countryside by yourself, as being out in nature is great at boosting mood and creativity. Alternatively, combine the effect of spending time with friends with going outside by going together or using the time to give them a phone call while walking. Spending quality time with friends and family can improve your mood.