There’s no question that this year has been a challenge. We understand what it feels like to be stressed out, but what are the long-term physical effects of dealing with stress? How can we deal with stress before it overwhelms us?
Physical Signs of Stress
Simply put, stress is our response to pressure. It can be caused by a specific situation, including living through a pandemic. Though what triggers it and how each of us reacts to it varies. Stress can cause difficulty sleeping, eating changes, sudden irritability, anxiety, or lack of motivation. Low-level irritations such as a headache or upset stomach are common reactions. Though more serious issues such as palpitations or ulcers are also possible. Dealing with stress right away helps prevent bigger health problems. Let's face the uncertainty that lies ahead with healthy ways to cope.
Structure Your Life
A personal schedule can help you manage the stress that comes from feeling a lack of control. Prepping your day with consistent but flexible times to eat and sleep helps create a sense of normalcy. It also helps to define spaces for work and relaxation and commit to respecting those boundaries.
These days, we’re more plugged in than ever. That’s why it’s important to disconnect from the news. Step away from the laptop and the TV, and put down your phone. Do your mind a favor and leave current events behind for as long as you can.
Lighten the Load
There’s always going to be more work you could do, but doing more can be counterproductive and can certainly contribute to burn-out. And more stress. Plan a movie night, try a new recipe, lose yourself in nature, play a game, or return to a hobby you love.
Shake off self-isolation by visiting a friend or relative outdoors for a socially distanced hang out. Better still, find out where you can safely volunteer in your community.
Multiple studies have shown that exercise can brighten your mood. A recent study even suggests that cardio is good for your brain. So give those restless thoughts a rest, focus on your body, and sweat your stress away.