Updated: Nov 14
We live in a time of increased stress in the world today. American Heart Association discovered that one in two U.S. adults reports that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health. Whether is the stress resulting from bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job, unexpected money problems, or work-related, these can have a negative impact on your mental health. Research has shown that people affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health. It is also possible that positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion, or going on holiday, can be sources of stress.
It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during traumatic events such as mass shootings, natural disasters, or pandemics. But if you are living with high levels of stress, you are putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress disrupts both your emotional equilibrium and your physical health. It limits your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and have fun in life.
It may look like there is nothing you can do about stress because the bill never stops coming, the days will never be longer, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more power than you think. So don’t freeze in your tracks, start small and relish your success as you progress. Take out time to focus on practical solutions that could help you cope with the stressors in your life.
Remember that your response to stress will have an overall effect on your total well-being. Below are ways that you can help yourself reduce stress for a healthier version of yourself.
Regularly Take Breaks from Social Media
Taking regular breaks from the noise of social media, and the pressure it exerts on one’s life to live up to a particular standard has tremendous benefits on mental health and well-being. In a 2020 study, it was discovered that the fear of missing out, also known as FOMO, causes sleep disturbances and difficulties due to nighttime usage of social media.
Another study in 2021 involving 132 people found that limiting social media use for a week improved well-being by preventing sleep problems. Further, another study showed that abstaining from social media for a week reduced stress in both typical and excessive social media users.
Research has also shown that abstaining from social media for a week boosts mental well-being, eases anxiety, and prevents depression, anxiety, and psychological distress.
When you begin to get frequently annoyed or frustrated with other people’s posts, comments, or trending topics; when you tend to compare your life, body, career, well-being, relationships, or other comparative indices, with that of other people; when you start getting into arguments on social media; feel overwhelmed by social media posts; then it is time to take a break.
Take Breaks from Reading, Watching, or Listening to News Stories
Aside from taking a break from social media, it is also important to eliminate all but very select news from your life. Reading or watching gloom and doom headlines make us begin to feel as if the world is headed into a ditch. One minute we have our hopes up, the next minute our hopes are shattered, just by reading, watching, or listening to the so often questionable news stories.
Take Proper Care of your Body to Function at Optimal Capacity
A healthy and well-balanced meal can support a healthy immune system and the repair of damaged cells. A balanced diet provides the energy you will need to deal with stressful events in your daily activities.
Conversely, foods like polyunsaturated fats including omega-3 fats and vegetables, and, getting plenty of sleep can significantly decrease cortisol levels and restore equilibrium to the body’s system.
Connect with your Community and/or Faith-Based Organizations
Community and faith-based organizations have been found to aid in handling stressful events. There have also been reports on spirituality as care for depressive symptoms, including the use of faith and prayer.
Whatever form your spiritual beliefs take, growing evidence shows that faith can be a powerful stress buffer, thus, enhancing your ability to cope with life’s more serious stresses. Faith can also help you cope with illness, provide meaning for your life, strengthen stress-effective values, provide hope and acceptance, unite you with others, and calm you.
Make Time for Leisure Activities
Try taking some time to do activities you love as this would help you unwind. In a recent study, it was discovered that people who do leisure activities and are distracted by these activities report sleeping better, and have fewer depressive symptoms.
Avoid Substance Use
Alcohol, cannabis, and even some prescription drugs may seem to alleviate your stress, but they often create additional problems in the long run. ALWAYS seek emergency help with thoughts of suicide or severe depression or hopelessness. Remember, you are never alone.
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Please take advantage of all we can help provide for you and be sure to ask for help with lifestyle, home, and self-care systems!
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