Stress, my friends, is something that touches us all. It’s not something to just accept as part of everyday life, either; stress can have a pretty significant impact on your well being, including your mental health.
Whenever you find yourself just a little too frayed at the edges, here are some things you can try.
Get some sleep
Many of the fundamentals of good physical health are the same for good mental health, especially sleep. As noted by the Sleep Foundation, a lack of sleep can make the body’s response to stress worse (https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/stress-and-insomnia). In fact, not sleeping well can actually add fuel to the fire as a source of stress itself!
Now is the time to take your sleep more seriously. Get yourself on a regular schedule and aim for at least seven hours each night. Limit your nightly screen time as those bright lights before bed have been known to disturb sleep. Don’t do things that rev you up close to bedtime, such as exercising and consuming caffeine. Do something relaxing right before bed, such as reading or drinking a cup of caffeine-free tea.
Make time for meditation
Whether you’ve tried meditation before or not, it can help with stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, many forms of meditation have been shown to reduce stress (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858).
You don’t need to find a yoga mat or join a class to get the stress-busting benefits of this ancient practice. Breath work meditation is simple and can be done anywhere. With the simple “4-7-8” method, all you need to do is simply inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds and then exhale for eight seconds. Repeat the cycle for at least two minutes, and try to work your way up to five minutes.
Put on your positive face
Overshadowing stress with positivity is possible. As reported by Harvard Health, being positive and expressing gratitude have actually be shown to make you happier (https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier).
One way to be more positive is by doing what is known as “savoring.” Look for a part of your everyday life that you normally ignore, stress over or rush through that could bring you some joy. It could be making breakfast with your kids or partner, folding the laundry or walking the dog. The next time it happens, savor what is good about this activity and try to make it last. When it’s over, celebrate the fact that you re-framed a negative experience into something more positive.