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How to Manage Stress and Relax More
Whether you have work, school, or family obligations (or a combination of all three), you might feel like you don’t have enough time in your day to complete everything you need to do.
Over time, you might feel worn out and stressed. You don’t feel like you are able to accomplish your life goals because there’s always something in the way.
You might be wondering how you can begin managing stress and relax a little more. After all, living a balanced life is key to staying healthy.
Don’t get stuck in the vortex of feeling like you can’t overcome your situation. Here are five tips to help you manage stress in your life.
Understanding the Source of Stress
The first step to managing stress is identifying the source. Your stress can come from anything, whether that’s trying to find a new job, dealing with a conflict, or just being overwhelmed with the amount of responsibilities that you have.
Stress can more broadly be defined as a feeling of emotional tension as the result of a challenge or demand.1 When we feel stressed, this response puts our body into a state of high alert.
However, having stress for long periods of time is unhealthy. This type of stress is called chronic stress, which is prolonged stress that affects your health by keeping your body tensed at all times.2
Chronic stress can affect you physically and mentally if you don’t receive proper treatment in a timely manner because your body never relaxes. You’ll want to know if you have chronic stress to help manage and relieve it.
- Headaches or dizziness
- Appetite and weight changes
- Sleeping problems and tiredness
- Aches and pains
- Trembling, shaking, or muscle tension
With all of these symptoms in mind, you’ll want to take a step back and identify the source of your stress.
Tips for finding the source of stress
In order to find out why you feel stressed, you’ll want to sit down and identify the causes of it. Once you know what you need to do, you can make a plan to manage stress by setting the goals you need to succeed.
Identifying the source of your stress can be challenging because there might be a combination of events that may be causing it. However, you’ll want to work through what you think could be contributing to your stress.
If you have been stressed for a while, chances are the source of your stress isn’t coming from just one place. That’s why you’ll need to find out why you’re always feeling overwhelmed.
Here’s some tips for identifying your stress:
- Think about how you feel regarding your daily responsibilities. Write down everything you need to do in a day, from work to taking your kids to their activities. Then next to each item, you’ll want to write down how you feel about each obligation. This can help you identify where you may be stressed.
- Consider what you’re always worrying about. Another way you can find the source of your stress is by figuring out what always keeps you up at night. Are you always trying to mend your relationship with someone? Or maybe you’re constantly thinking about how to save up for your next big expense. This may be the cause of your stress.
- What gets in the way of taking time for yourself? Another reason to consider what is causing the source of your stress is your relaxation time might be taken away. You might have obligations or responsibilities that are preventing you from having time to take care of yourself.
- Is there anything you do to cope with certain responsibilities? If you have a hard day at work, maybe you go get fast food for lunch. If you find yourself repeating unhealthy habits as a way to cope with stress, you might want to consider what events lead you to indulge.
With these strategies in mind, you’ll soon be able to identify the source of your stress and begin taking steps to overcome it. Managing stress isn’t easy, but the first step is knowing what causes you to be stressed.
Make Time for Hobbies
Another way to help overcome and manage stress is by consistently making time for your favorite hobbies. Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities you have each day, but making time for your passions can help you relax and unwind.
Did you know that engaging in a creative hobby can help reduce your stress? According to a study cited by the Australian Government Department of Health, scientists in New Zealand found that creative hobbies such as songwriting, art, and musical performance leads to an increase in wellbeing that lasts into the next day.4
That means if you take time for your hobbies every day, you’ll have a positive mindset that lasts into tomorrow.
You’ll want to take some time each day to pursue your favorite hobbies. Even if you think you don’t have any time, consider trying to take an hour in the morning or evening to take your mind off of what you need to do.
Here are a few hobbies that can help you relax and manage stress:
- Going for a walk outside
- Watching a movie or television show
- Play a board game
Even though there are more hobbies than this you can do to relieve your stress, you can start by trying some of the ideas on this list. All of these hobbies can help engage your mind and help you overcome stress.
Meditate More Often
With everything coming at you, meditation might be a way to help you release stress. Meditation has been practiced for decades and decades, and is now commonly used to help people relax.
Meditation is also relatively easy to incorporate into your schedule and can be done on a daily basis. You can make meditating part of your daily routine to help manage stress.
Meditating helps combat stress because it is the opposite of it – while stress puts us in a “flight or fight” response, meditating relaxes the mind and relieves this response.5
There are many different styles and techniques for meditating. Meditating is about clearing and focusing your mind, and you can utilize the type of meditation session that works best for you.
In order to meditate effectively, you’ll need:
- A quiet space. You don’t want anyone to interrupt you while you’re meditating. You will want to choose a place that is quiet so you won’t lose concentration.
- A timer. Your meditation session shouldn’t be too long or too short, so you’ll want to set a timer. The length of time you meditate will depend on your schedule and interest, but we recommend meditating at least twenty minutes so you don’t have a session that’s too short.
- A comfortable place to sit. Whether that’s a chair or somewhere on the floor, you will want to make sure that you are able to relax. You don’t want to think about where you are sitting while you meditate, so choose a place you can be still for a short time.
- Comfortable clothes. Another part of having an effective meditation session is wearing comfortable clothes. You don’t want to be distracted, so make sure that you are wearing something that you won’t focus on.
- Optional: a meditation app. There are apps designed to help you track your meditation progress and goals. If you find that meditation helps you and you want a way to reflect, these are a great way to bring your meditation to the next level.
Consider incorporating a meditation session into your day to help relieve your stress. Meditation is an easy way for you to relax after a long day.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Another way to help relieve and manage stress is by getting enough of sleep at night. When you don’t get enough of sleep, you might feel fatigued and overwhelmed by the amount of obligations you have.
Tiredness could potentially be contributing to your stress. After all, if you go through your day feeling like you need rest, you might be unable to complete everything you need to.
According to the American Psychological Association, the amount of sleep you get each night may be influenced by stress. When the adults in this study didn’t get enough sleep, 21% said that they felt more stressed.6
Your stress may be caused or amplified by the amount of rest you get each night. That means you’ll want to start getting enough sleep to help reduce the stress you feel during the day.
Some tips to get better sleep include:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time
- Relax before going to sleep
- Sleep in a comfortable environment
- Reduce noise when you sleep
- Don’t eat foods with caffeine
For more tips on how to get better sleep, check out our blog post.
Talk to someone
Another way to help relieve your stress is by opening up to someone. Whether that’s your significant other, a family member, or a good friend, find someone with a sympathetic ear who can listen to your problems.
Talking to someone can help you put your stress into perspective. They might be able to give you some helpful advice on managing your stress and even give you some insight on the situation.
Here’s a few ways you can open the conversation about your stress with someone:
- Find someone you trust. When you talk about your stress, you want to find someone that you know will be open and honest with you. Try to pick someone that’s close but will also be willing to provide valuable insight.
- Provide details. Let your loved one know what has been stressing you out and how it’s affected you. Don’t be afraid to mention specifics about how you may have been both physically and mentally stressed by your situation.
- Listen to their feedback. Keep an open mind to what your loved one may tell you. Think about the advice they present and how you can utilize it to improve your situation.
Speaking with someone can help give you peace of mind. Avoid turning your talk into anger or venting, since you might feel even worse than before.
Are you ready to start relaxing?
Now that you have some newfound strategies to help you relieve stress, it’s time to put them into practice.
Try some of these ideas to begin reducing your stress today.
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Saber Healthcare provides skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities designed to help the residents in our communities thrive. That means we’re always looking to help our residents no matter what medical conditions they may have.
Our Personal Care for senior programs are designed to help our residents thrive. To learn more about these services, check out our Personal Care page.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Stress and Your Health.” ADAM Health Solutions, Medline Plus. Accessed December 1st, 2020. Link: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003211.htm#:~:text=Stress%20is%20a%20feeling%20of,danger%20or%20meet%20a%20deadline.
- Scott, Elizabeth. “What is Chronic Stress?” Dotdash, Very Well Mind. November 19, 2020. Accessed December 1st, 2020. Link: https://www.verywellmind.com/chronic-stress-3145104#:~:text=Chronic%20stress%20is%20a%20prolonged,work%20or%20by%20traumatic%20situations.
- “Stress.” Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org. Accessed December 1st, 2020. Link: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress
- “Purposeful Activity – Health.” Australian Government Department of Health, Head to Health. July 11th, 2019. Link: https://headtohealth.gov.au/meaningful-life/purposeful-activity/hobbies#:~:text=Research%20shows%20that%20people%20with,skills%20and%20relationships%20with%20others.
- Scott, Elizabeth. Monahan, Megan, ed. “An Overview of Meditation.” Dotdash, Very Well Mind. June 30th, 2020. Accessed December 1st, 2020. Link: https://www.verywellmind.com/meditation-4157199
- “Stress and Sleep.” American Psychological Association, apa.org. 2013. Accessed December 1st, 2020. Link: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep