Life is full of stress. Family, deadlines, bills … Not all stress is a bad thing – though it might be hard to believe that when dealing with any kind of stress. It is also true, however, that pressure can increase your focus and can help you finish tasks.
Chronic stress is another matter altogether. High stress over long periods of time can put your physical and mental health in danger. Chronic stress can cause health issues like insomnia, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.
The good news is that you can often manage and reduce chronic stress. Try these steps, but also talk with your doctor. You don’t have to go it alone.
List the projects and commitments adding stress to your life. Are there tasks you can let go? Give to others? Delay until life is calmer?
Cut the Caffeine
If you can, cutting out caffeine, or at least limiting it, can help you have better sleep, less heartburn, and feel more relaxed.
Walking outside or gardening can provide “green” therapy, which has been linked to less anxiety, depression and lower stress levels.
Sleep is Key
Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep is a significant way to fight chronic stress, but it can be difficult. Try going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding heavy meals or intense exercise before bed, and winding down an hour or more before with relaxing music or meditation.
Having a positive, but realistic, attitude can lower feelings of being overwhelmed. Expecting a good outcome at the start can put your stress levels in check.
Ask for Help
It’s never too soon to ask for help when you feel stressed.