How to deal with chronic stress?
STRETCH AS A PART of LIFE
Everybody experiences stress at one time or another. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed at work, frustrated by interpersonal problems, or helpless trying to keep up with the daily stresses of school, work, childcare, chores and finances. These types of temporary stress are not usually a problem for serious health issues. However, if stressors are persistent, it is possible to develop potentially dangerous forms of chronic stress. Many people experienced chronic stress during the COVID-19 epidemic. Chronic stress can harm the body and mind, especially chronic. Chronic stress can lead to decreased tolerance for emotional discomfort, difficulty regulating emotions, irritability, anxiety, depression, worsening concentration, outbursts or tearfulness, fatigue, increased blood pressure and more frequent illnesses, headaches and physical pain.
THE STRESS PARTS THAT ARE IMPORTANT
Stress does not necessarily mean that you are weak, incapable, or a failure. Stress is normal to a certain extent. Your body and mind are natural responses to threats. Your stress response system alerts you when something is affecting you. It allows us to notice, slow down and ask for help. If stress is recognized and addressed, it can be helpful. To better function and thrive, it is important to become more aware of how stress affects us.
LINKS IN THE STRESS CHAIN
Stress can be triggered by a variety of biological and environmental factors. It can be helpful to identify if our internal experiences and behaviours affect our stress levels. This will help us determine if we can do anything to reduce stress. Sleep can have a significant impact on our mood. The mood can impact our self-esteem. How we feel about ourselves can impact how we relate to others. How we relate to others affects our thoughts and emotions. How we think and feel about ourselves can impact how we care for ourselves. How we take care of ourselves can impact how we eat, sleep, or exercise. You can find ways to break the negative cycle. You can identify areas where you would benefit from paying more attention to your body and mind.
7 WAYS TO STRETCH
Stress can affect the mind and body. Therefore, it is important to address both sides of stress when you are trying to relieve chronic stress.
1. Mindfulness can be practised. It is the ability to set intentions, shift our attention to the present and not judge our experiences. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and improve emotion regulation. Include self-compassion scripts in your mindfulness practice.
2. Pay attention to your present and what you can control right now. If your mind starts to think about the worst possible scenarios, it is important to remember that the likelihood of something happening is more important than what might happen. Try to think more balanced thoughts, e.g. Things are hard at work right now. I finished the assignment on time and maintained good working relationships. Things are hard at work right now. “If I fail to complete these assignments, my job will be terminated.”
3. To reduce tension in the body, do a body scan, progressive muscles relaxation, yoga, massage or acupuncture to activate your parasympathetic nervous (relaxation system) system. To release stress hormones from the body and promote a better mood, engage in pleasant activities and exercises.
4. You should be focusing on sleeping. Make a relaxing routine to wind down before you go to bed. Warm up, shower, and then massage your soles with calming music. To reduce insomnia and nighttime stress, write down your worries a few hours before bed. Keep a consistent bedtime. Reduce the number of naps taken during the day.
5. Disconnect. Make a time in your day for electronic devices to be put away. Spend some time in nature during that time. Outdoors can improve our mood and make us more active in our environment.
6. Write down your daily routine. This can help you visualize your day. You can have a consistent routine from day to day or a specific one that focuses on tasks we need to complete each day. Be flexible with your daily routine, but keep to the timeframes. Include enjoyable activities into your daily schedule. A daily routine can create predictability in our lives. Predictability can reduce stress and anxiety, and it can help you feel in control and mastery.
7. Reduce tasks into manageable steps. This increases the chances of achieving what you set out to achieve. These small achievements can be celebrated as they move us closer to our ultimate goal.
It is crucial to continue these steps even when not feeling stressed. These steps can be used as a buffer to prevent stress from developing or reduce stress’s impact when it does occur.