Whether it’s finals, friends or work, stress affects everyone at some point. While stress is normal and can even be healthy in small doses, too much can lead to mental and physical anguish. Learning to cope with day-to-day stresses can make life a lot easier and improve your health in the long run. Take some time to learn the signs of stress and try our tips the next time you feel overwhelmed.
Your body may be giving you signs about what's causing your stress, so pay attention to anything out of the ordinary. You might notice that your heart is racing, you have a stomachache or headache, you're clenching your jaw or you feel shaky and dizzy. If you notice a particular symptom repeatedly, pay close attention to what's happening around you. You may realize that you get a stomachache whenever you head for swim practice or you feel dizzy before exams. Recognizing these stressors in your life can help guide how you react to and cope with stress. Try some of the tips below when you're feeling stressed, or start incorporating them into your everyday routines.
- Exercise - Carve out time for physical activity. If you can't make it to the gym, go for a walk or even dance to your favorite song.
- Get outside - Spending time in nature can have a positive impact on your mood. Enjoy a walk around your neighborhood or meet a friend at the park for some outdoor time.
- Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness has been proven to improve mental wellbeing, so spend five or ten minutes practicing meditation.
- Sleep well - Getting eight to ten hours of sleep a night can be a game changer. Try to limit screen time before bed for the best possible sleep.
- Let it out - A creative outlet can help manage stress. Drawing, writing poetry, dancing or writing in a journal can all be methods to let your feelings out.
- Relax your body - Telling your body to relax can help your mind relax too. Lean back and take deep breaths or take a few moments to stretch before a stressful event.
Everyone deals with stress, but if you feel consistently overwhelmed or you think your health is suffering due to stress, reach out to a trusted adult for help.
These tips were adapted in part from the American Psychological Association.