It’s not new news that we’ve been living in unprecedented times with chronic stress. Chronic stress is being stressed over an extended period of time, while feeling like you have little to no control. Being in chronic stress can have negative effects on both our physical and mental well beings. After what feels like years of being in chronic stress, while we may not be fully out of the woods yet, there are a few things we can do to ease that stress and start building back our mental wellness.
Exercise and Eat Well
We’ve always been told to eat healthy and get lots of exercise, but that doesn’t mean you need to start drinking protein shakes and hitting the gym 5x a week. Doing physical activity that is just strenuous enough that it gets you short of breath will do the trick; just be sure to rest afterwards to allow the stress hormones you build up during exercise to calm down.
Like we mentioned with exercise, you don’t need to go to the extreme. Simply focusing on eating whole foods like leafy green vegetables and whole grains, while cutting out processed sugars and fried foods can make a world of difference in how you feel after eating.
Categorize Your Stressors
While there is such a thing as “good stressors”, those that help us keep improving and give us direction, it’s important to recognize the negative stressors; the ones that don’t push us forward or have a clear goal. When you think about what’s stressing you out, start thinking about whether or not that stress serves you and your goals. If it doesn’t, start to sort out how you can minimize that stress in your life rather than ruminating over it and allowing it to take over your thoughts.
Journaling is a great way to help manage your stress and improve your mood. By physically writing down what’s on your mind, any fears, stress, or concerns, it gives you a safe, personal outlet to talk it out. It also allows you to “get it all out” so that you can move your thoughts from your mind to paper, which frees up more of your brain space.
Connecting with others, whether professional or personal, is one of the most powerful ways to decrease stress. Humans are hardwired to need to connect with other people, and over the last 18+ months it’s one of the biggest things that changed - being able to connect with others. So whether you just need to hash it out with a girlfriend, or need professional help diving into deeper issues, reach out!