Excess stress at any time of year is never welcome. And when it does come, it’s frequently linked to feeling like we are losing control. Regardless of what’s triggering it, feeling stressed drives our bodies to release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which over the long-term, can be highly damaging. While living through a global pandemic has made is more difficult than ever to keep our stress levels down, there are things we can do to prevent it ruining our health and well-being in 2021.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Be sensible with how much you drink. It’s crucial to understand that while excessive alcohol consumption appears to help in coping with the symptoms of stress in the short-term, it actually makes it worse.
Learn to Say No
Be true to yourself, and get used to politely and assertively just saying “no,” when you need to. You are not obliged to meet everyone’s demands and requirements, especially at the expense of your own mental health.
Be mindful of the proven fact that nicotine is a stimulant which gives you temporary relief from the stress, followed by increased stress over time. That’s aside from the fact that the negative health ramifications cause their own stress.
Ensure that you do some form of exercise every day, even if it’s just taking a 20 minute walk when the sun is out, or spending 10 minutes twice a day on a stationary bike while you are reading, or on the phone. You could also join an aerobics class. Aerobic exercise has been shown to release endorphins (natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude) and reduce stress. So check out your local gyms, and you may find that they also offer spa facilities such as steam rooms and saunas, also helpful in calming you down and reducing stress.
Look up a simple relaxation technique such as meditation or deep breathing, and practice it at least once a day. Combine opposites; a time for deep relaxation and a time for aerobic exercise is a sure way to protect your body from the effects of stress.
While we may not necessarily associate stress with being treatable through therapy, when one’s stress appears to be persistent and excessive, even when the source of the stress seems to have gone away, the culprit may actually be anxiety. Determining whether what you’re experiencing is stress or anxiety may require help from a professional therapist. Finding one to consult with is easy and may be truly live-altering.
Keeping a diary or journal where you express your thoughts and feelings can help with stress management as well as assisting with processing other emotions. This should include writing out lists of all your stressors, be they at work or at home, and taking a step back and putting them in perspective.
There are a number of ways that can help you reduce your stress. The important thing is to be proactive, regardless of which options you try first. So start off 2021 the right way by focusing on your well-being and taking the necessary steps to lower your stress levels.