Managing stress in the best of times can be a grueling prospect, but with the ongoing pandemic and the uncertainty it causes, carving out some time for personal wellness is more difficult than ever.
Stress can also intensify underlying ailments and amplify everyday aches and pains. For many Americans, stress creates a dizzying cycle of unhealthy coping mechanisms leading to greater stress.
UAB Medical West reminds us that stress is more than just mental. Stress can increase blood pressure, cause difficulty sleeping, compromise the immune system, and lead to frequent headaches.
To tackle your stress, try one or more of these simple tips.
Tips To Manage Stress
Too many of us think of exercise as a 3-mile jog or an intense, 45-minute weight training routine. Thankfully, when it comes to managing stress, exercise can be interpreted broadly.
Walking for just 30 minutes can have a profound impact on your stress levels each day. Other at-home exercise options can be just as beneficial. Yoga, pilates, push-ups or planks--whatever your preferred at-home method, taking some time for physical exertion each day can do wonders for your mood.
Consider your diet
For many of us, stress can cause unhealthy eating habits and poor dietary choices. Food can be a comfort, but eating too close to bedtime or choosing less nutritious options can increase, rather than reduce, our stress.
Less nutritious foods can cause heartburn or indigestion, while eating too closely to bedtime inspires tossing and turning.
Even so, It doesn’t have to be all carrots and kale. Small studies have shown that eating a little bit of dark chocolate each day reduces stress.
“Sleeping better” may be more easily said than done. But by exercising daily and considering your diet, you put yourself in a better position to sleep through the night.
Fatigue complicates our ability to cope with stress, and stress keeps us up at night, creating a feedback loop that’s difficult to cut off. But by sticking to a sleep schedule and reducing your exposure to blue light before bedtime, the loop can be broken.
Try something new
If you, like many Americans, have tried managing stress in the typically suggested ways, it may be time to shake things up a bit.
Meditation may seem like something only frequent practitioners can do, but by taking a moment each day to focus on one thing--even just your breathing--you can recenter your thoughts and balance your emotions. Other methods, such as tai chi or mindfulness can be done anywhere at any time without purchasing special equipment.
You’ll find dozens of online tutorials teaching alternative coping mechanisms at every level. Find just one and try it out.
Managing stress and managing your daily obligations and responsibilities go hand-in-hand. By simply arranging your day-to-day activities, you can regain a sense of control and free up time for relaxation.
Keep a calendar, use a digital assistant, set reminders on your mobile device, or organize your desk--by taking one thing off your mind and putting it somewhere else, you’ll become more efficient, present, and capable.
You don’t have to live with stress
Med West can help you manage stress and its manifesting physical symptoms. Stress and anxiety can lead to serious health issues and take years off your life.
Stress may seem like an unavoidable part of modern life, but for every modern problem there is (or can be) a modern solution.
Visit UAB Medical West to learn more about stress management
Stress is a killer and ignoring it only makes it worse. Poor sleep, unhealthy diets, lethargy, and disorganization can be treated, but by taking the first step yourself, you empower your response to stressors in your life. See your primary care physician for more ways on how you can manage stress. Looking for a new primary care physician? We're happy to help! Call our Physician Referral Line today at (205) 996-WEST to schedule an appointment. Serving Hueytown, Hoover, Bessemer, McCalla, and Vance, UAB Medical West is here to help.