Let’s face it, your life is full of responsibilities and you probably feel overwhelmed. Add to that, we’re living in such uncertain times, that our mental capacity is literally being tested every day! I know, for me, the struggle has been real as I’ve talked about in my Changes and Control post!
With National Stress Awareness Day being tomorrow, April 16th, I wanted to take a second to talk about stress and mental health.
Truth be told, our mental health is something we all need to have in the best possible shape we can, especially given that it affects so many elements of our lives. Its impact can affect our ability to sleep, our relationships, our mood, our general performance whether at school or work, and the list goes on.
To that point, in 2019, statistics showed that Americans were among the most stressed people in the world! Many expressed feelings of stress, anger, and worry which contributed to the highest levels in a decade registering at 55% compared to 35% globally.
Worldwide, people reported they were going through more negative experiences as well, with all-time highs of instances of physical pain, worry, sadness, stress, and anger.
Given the stats, it really highlights one of the many reasons why caring for our mental health is just as crucial as caring for our physical health. Case in point, when we experience stress, our brain produces hormones that tell our body to prepare to respond to a threat. Serious stress can not only compromise our mental health, but it can also cause physical symptoms like high blood pressure, various heart conditions, headaches, ulcers, and so many other conditions.
Some things that can help you to control your stress:
DISCLAIMER: You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.
How much should we be exercising? It’s recommended that we get 30 minutes of physical activity a day, minimum! Even small steps like going for a walk (with pandemic restrictions you may have to settle for a couple of times around a couch), practicing yoga, or dancing can really make a difference in keeping us healthy.
This is especially true since hormones like endorphins and serotonin get released and help our body deal with pain, stress, as well as balance our mood.
Take away? An active body is a healthy body!
Having plenty of fruits and veggies daily, in addition to combining them with lean proteins (fatty fish like salmon, beans like lentils, and complex carbs like whole grains or sweet potatoes) are a few ways to start eating healthier.
Not only does the fiber in a healthy diet keep our digestive and excretory system running more smoothly, but color choices of fruits and veggies also do some good for your vision and organs by providing us with rich antioxidants that stave off cell degeneration!
GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
I’m super guilty of this one #teamnosleep! But in all seriousness, getting a good night’s sleep should be at the top of all our to-do lists!
Studies show that most of us need a good 7-9 hours of sleep per night in order for our brain and body to relax and regenerate. As we relax we’re much better prepared for life’s stressors.
Without it, you might even find yourself grumpier than usual, anxious, unable to focus, and can actually start to experience more serious health issues.
BUILDING YOUR SELF-ESTEEM
Self-doubt, worry, and negative thoughts can really bog you down. Things like journaling with prompts, uplifting spiritual-quotes, vision boards, and positive affirmations can all be great motivation.
So from now on, let’s commit to quieting our inner-critics and be our biggest cheerleaders instead! You? Got? This!
MAINTAINING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Non-toxic zone please! If your circle doesn’t include people who bring positive energy, encouragement, supportive care, plus and openness to genuinely receive it (yeah, that’s important too) then they’ve got to get relegated to the end zone!
It’s so important to know that regardless of where you are in life’s ups and downs, you’ve got a crew who aren’t finger wavers or debbie downers. Constructive feedback is one thing, toxic behavior is another.
MEDITATING & FOCUSED BREATHING
I’m sure you’ve read about all the benefits of meditation. You may have even but you thought that a) either don’t have time for it or, b) it’s just not for you. That was me for the longest, and I wish I would have given it a go earlier.
Deep breathing, mindful meditation, (again) yoga, or even a visualization exercise are all ways to relax our minds. Finding a method that works best for you is the key to helping bring your mind’s focus to the present moment, decrease stress, and bring a sense of peaceful calm.
UTILIZING YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK
Similar to having a positive circle it’s equally important to have someone you trust and feel comfortable confiding in. Whether that be friends, family, a therapist, psychologist, doctor, you name it.
Especially if you feel like you need outside help, never be afraid to ask for it.
Without a doubt, stress is a fact of life in today’s society. How we handle and deal with it can tremendously affect our mental health for better or for worse.
One of the most important things is continuing to have conversations like these and end the stigma around mental health is a taboo. Because at the end of the day sometimes it’s okay to not be okay! As long as we’re working towards helping ourselves that’s the best we can ask for!
Want some more self-improvement articles? Check out some of my other posts:
- 7 Ways to Boss Your Morning Routine
- Why We Don’t Keep New Year’s Resolutions and How to Stick to Them
- 3 Ways to Include more Self-Love in Your Routine
I’ve been meaning to get into meditation!
It’s helped me so so much!
This pandemic situation has been stressful for most of us. Since I have PCOS, my hormones are on fire and I seldom sleep making me almost lose my sanity. To ease my anxiety, I do journaling, exercise, deep exercises and watch cartoons than news. ❤
It so has! I can only imagine how hard it must be for you! I’m with you on the cartoons, Disney+ has been my safe space 😊
I manage my stress by trying to eat well and exercise…A Lot!!! I have been pretty stressed lately though, I miss my support network in person!!
Well, I’ve definitely been eating…and binge snacking, lol! Exercising is so important and I’ve gotten back on track with that and have noticed that the routine, oddly enough, brings down some of my frazzledness.
I totally understand! That in-person connection is really needed sometimes!
I definitely am! I work full time as a 911 Dispatcher, it’s exhausting. I know I need to eat better and exercise. I needed this thanks!
I can only imagine how stressful and exhausting being a 911 Dispatcher is, and given that my knowledge comes from dramatized TV shows I’m probably way off ?!
Thank you so much for all you do! You’re so appreciated and a big part of all of our communities that saying thank you isn’t even enough? !
Sometimes it’s the helpers that spend so much time lending a hand that they they forget to take care of themselves too! So girl if you can, get a good day of self-care in and try and hit that reset button ?.
Literally so happy that this was able to help a little bit ?! Keep staying safe and healthy out there ?!
A support network is so important. We’ve been home for the past 1 month now and I really miss adult interactions with my gal pals!
I 100% agree! It’s so great to have your people in your corner!
Totally missing my gal’s and our shenanigans too ?!
I needed this. I’ve actually been checking your blog since I last came on here and I find it so relatable. I love this post, I really needed something to validate how I have been feeling and you did that. Thanks so much!
I’m about to Oprah cry? This is the sweetest message! Omg, your blog is super relatable too, and I love the layout and format of it!
I always say stress looks different for everyone, and the best thing you can do is realize it’s okay to not be okay then work towards getting back on track. With the current pandemic, my emotions have been all out of wack and some days I’m perfectly fine and other days I’m in full-on anxiety attack mode.
I think finding that perfect mixture of what calms you down is the best way to minimize/control stress. So glad this was able to help a little!
Don’t worry we got this girl 💪🏽!
Yes! Thanks to my support network for keeping me sane.
Support networks are so important! They for sure can help get you through those tough moments!
I definitely am, I’ve been at home for over 7 weeks and I’m definitely starting to really feel it, I’ve been trying to listen to a lot of calm music
Calming music is such a great tool! I’m a big fan of the mediation Playlist on Pandora! What are you listening to?
I’m on week 3 and I’m starting to go a little stir-crazy, so I can’t imagine! But huge thank you to you and everyone else doing their part!
Disney piano music actually ?
I love Disney piano music! I constantly forget about it but whenever I hear it I get all nostalgic and calm!
This is great! We have similar suggestions to not be stressed
*happy dancing* that you liked it!
Girl, I am so there! Thanks for a useful, well thought out read!
Table of stress for two? LOL ?.
Stress is at an all-time high right now, so I love sharing tips for ways to manage it. Glad you liked it!
I needed this! Thank you.
The stress train is going around town! Glad some of the tips can help!
I for one am definitely stressed…I miss my girl gang..
Double yes! Missing physically being around my friends too! I found skyping and face-timing help a bunch!
I know I am. I just make sure to slow down and do something I enjoy. Like reading. Being home all the time with kids is not easy!
I can only imagine! Shout out to you and all the other strong mamas! Slowing down and finding things you enjoy really do help! I’ve been on a baking kick and that’s mellowing me out!