Eight Steps Aid Autumn Stress Management
We’ve all enjoyed the summer months, but heading into Indian Summer and autumn, we may be challenged with anxiety and stress. This season is busier—school, kids’ activities, work projects with year-end wrap up looming, less daylight and all those activities linked to preparedness for cold weather in some parts of the country.
We all experience stress which the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) classifies in three forms. They are:
- Routine stress, the type that is created by daily tasks at work or at home. Sudden stress can be the result of unexpected events such as relationship adjustments, job changes or loss.
- Traumatic stress, which can result from a serious accident, illness or life threatening danger.
They can each have a significant impact on physical and mental health and by discounting their importance you can set yourself up for serious health issues. Some of these issues include depression, high blood pressure and heart disease. When faced with stress, acknowledge it. You‘re your best advocate and can easily implement tactics to manage your stress.
Speak Up: Communicate that you are setting boundaries, prioritizing and saying “no” when you need to. By taking these steps, you can prevent yourself from being pulled in different directions. Focus on the highest priority, and limit activities to minimize being overwhelmed.
Create Time-Out Space: Carve out time for yourself. This will allow you to take yourself off the grid. Set aside a regular time to do something you enjoy, without interruptions or distractions. Plan to spend at least one hour each day on your time-out; you’ll be surprised at how energized you feel.
Exercise: This is a tremendous stress buster. Whether it is ten minutes or 30 minutes, moving your body will create a sense of well-being, and give you more energy. Exercise also increases the production of feel good endomorphins, self-confidence, and can aid in improving your sleep.
Talk Don’t Text: Have traditional conversations with friends and family members, sharing what is going on in your life or what may create emotional distress. Though the digital age has benefits, texting is not the same as talking it out with friends, family and other members of your support team.
Gratitude Affects Attitude: Reflect on the positive and think of the things you can express gratitude for. We often feel put upon and may neglect to be grateful,—remember there is something in everyone’s world that can be a challenge.
Adjust Eating Habits: Make wise food choices. Add fruits and vegetables to your diet along with whole grains, nuts and legumes. Reduce the number of fried and/or high fat foods. By making a few adjustments to choose wholesome foods, you can minimize self-induced stress about what you are eating.
Stay Hydrated: All of the organs in the body need water to work at optimal levels and if water consumption is lower than it should be, this will put stress on body organs. When faced with routine stress, low water consumption and poor hydration can magnify the situation. Drinking an extra glass or two of water is an easy fix.
Get Enough Sleep: I talked about sleep deprivation just a month or so ago. Getting enough sleep is essential and beneficial to the body’s organs. Ample sleep will reduce the stress hormones in the bloodstream. Long term higher levels of stress hormones are not good for the heart and can elevate blood pressure.
Take Away: You can reduce stress and improve your well-being by being proactive and managing stress in your life. Choose any of the steps in today’s post to stride toward your goal to lower stress.