Dealing With Stress of 2016
All these things matter. It’s not easy. We get that. Along with Dr. King, we believe that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We also believe that in times of challenge and controversy, we must choose to do something rather than just stand on the sidelines. Burying our head in the sand, doesn’t work. We want to move forward and equip people, their families, and their communities to do so as well.
Today, we’d like to focus more on what to do personally with all the stress and junk that we’re faced with 24-7. If you just try to get by without dealing with things, stress can turn into long term anxiety or depression. Cause and effect.
Signs that you’re over-stressed may include
- Lowered ability to fight off colds and infections
- Insomnia and sleep pattern-interrupt
- Increased breathing and heart-rates, which could lead to chest pains
- Upset stomach and a host of gastro-intestinal issues such as diarrhea or constipation
- Frequent, long lasting headaches or migraines
- Pain in your neck, back, shoulders, or jaw.
- Poor eating choices
If we don’t do anything with that stress, the physical things can build up and become worse. In the same way, our physical symptoms and how we deal with and carry our stress can cascade into lowered mental and emotional health. If we don’t deal with both the outward as well as the inward signs and symptoms of stress, that’s when long-term depression and anxiety can appear.
Signs Of Mental And Emotional Stress
- Loss of appetite or increased appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Increased forgetfulness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty finding motivation to do hobbies or recreational activities
- Wanting to stay in more.
When that happens, it’s time to start employing coping skills to a greater degree, even if you don’t feel like doing it. Often, the feeling comes later after you’ve put the work in. It’d be great if it were the other way around and we could all be motivated, follow-through, and get even better results, but it just doesn’t work that way. Otherwise, more people would keep their New Year’s resolution to go to the gym more.
Ways To Cope With Stress
- Creative projects: Do something with your hands, whether it’s painting, drawing, building, playing, or organizing. Get rid of clutter and do create something new with that free space. Don’t know where to start? Pick three items from the garbage (don’t dig too deep!) and make something with them. A little tape, maybe some glue and scissors. Don’t like it? You can still throw it away, don’t worry.
- Volunteer: Become a solution for helping people who need help. Go to an animal shelter and take a dog for a walk. Although unconventional, some people choose to live their lives by the mantra, “give away what you need the most.” They seem pretty happy, so why not try it for a little bit?
- Speaking of Mantras: Find one! Do something artful or creative around it. Make a collage with words and pictures that reflect your mantra. “I think I can,” “We’re all in this together,” “The story isn’t over yet,” “There’s always hope.” Don’t know where to start? Ask someone else what inspires them and what keeps them going when things get rough. Google mantras from famous people or athletes.
- Get outside: Visit a park or walk around the block. Being outside, getting sunlight, and enjoying the “cool of the day” can help unwind and find some enjoyment in the natural world. There’s always something to enjoy. You can make it a regular habit with a loved one, family member, or a friend. Get to know your neighbors. It could be just as easy as saying, “Hi, my name is _____.” No plan needed after that. Do it once a week and grow your community through your own actions.
- Name it out loud: Whatever it is that’s stressing you name it out loud. Do some breathing exercises. Name 3 things that you’re thankful for today. Do it everyday with a loved one or as part of your family dinner ritual. Recognizing the positive, especially when we’re willing to name those positive things, will help us to remember to be thankful for the good things in our lives.
- Journal: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Writing things down helps us to process and release the stress. Write down your feelings, even if it’s just a list. Think that’s a little overwhelming to name them? Sometimes, it helps to see a list that you can choose. Here is a Feeling Wheel that can help name what’s going on inside.
More than anything else, we just want you to know that we care for you personally and individually. We care a lot for our community and for those afflicted by the negativity. We want to be a source of comfort and compassion. We want to help. If you’re not sure where to start, but you have the feeling that you should start somewhere, we’d love to be a part of your journey towards a healthier, happier life. That doesn’t mean escape from the stress, but learning how to deal with it better, improve your relationships, and improve yourself. If that’s you, please don’t hesitate to reach out today! We accept most major insurance carriers and want to make it as painless for you as possible.