When you are stressed, it is precisely the time to give yourself a little attention, be kind to yourself, and give yourself a break, even if it is in small ways. So, how can you give back to yourself when your life's bucket is overflowing or is about to overflow? Check out these tools to help you cope more effectively with stress.
- Take a break for YOURSELF. Sometimes just taking a moment to step out of the situation, breathe, and relax can help you to calm down and be able to go back to a challenging situation with a fresh perspective.
- Move those muscles. Get out and take a walk or do some other form of physical activity. By moving your muscles you can activate your body’s own natural endorphins which can boost your mood. Remember, this doesn’t have to be long---start with 5 or 10 minutes. You may find that once you get moving you will want to keep going for longer. But even if you don’t, that’s okay too!
- Take care of you--do something that is soothing. Sometimes people listen to music, read a book, draw or color, take a hot bath or shower, sip some tea, or get a massage. Think about what makes you feel more relaxed and make some time to do that, even if it for only 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes all you need is a little break!
- Reboot your sleep routine. Sleep has a big impact on mood. Check out our sleep hygiene tips and join the #SleepRevolution
- Make time to eat. Pack snacks and schedule meals just like you schedule other activities. Refuel — you can’t run on fumes! Hunger has a big impact on mood and mental functioning; being stressed and hungry tend to build off one another.
- Try relaxation techniques. People who regularly stretch, practice progressive muscle relaxation, do deep breathing exercises and/or engage in other mindfulness techniques have shown reduced physical symptoms and psychological distress, enhanced daily functioning, increased well-being, and increased quality of life.
- Talk with family, friends, or important others (e.g., clergy, counselor). We all need to support from others when stressors hit. People you are close to become “pillows” to fall back on---a place where you can find comfort and support as well as practical help to cope with your stressors. Think about who you will turn to for support and set up some time by phone or in person to talk. Texting may not be enough!