We’re all going through it. Everyone is on edge and stressing out. However, I have some tips to help you with stress management.
First thing first, you’re not alone. Like I said, we’re all feeling it. So as you feel all the feelings, keep in mind that you’re not crazy. It’s not just you. You’re normal, and it’s all of us.
Next, I invite you to reframe how you deal with stress. Think beyond stress management.
See, stuff happens. You can’t control others or external forces. In essence, you can’t really manage stressors, but you can manage your reaction to them.
The following tips take you beyond stress management. I want you to get to a point where you can master it, by mastering how you respond to it. Let’s get started.
Get Mental Health Help
Let’s be frank. It’s not that easy is it?
Unless you have employer-provided health insurance, acquiring mental health assistance isn’t so easy because it isn’t so affordable. I have pretty good employer-subsidized insurance, but even I am paying $75 per visit out of pocket.
If you have no insurance, the cost for hiring a mental health professional can be $150-$300 per visit. It’s like mental health therapy is a luxury, not a necessity.
I implore you to investigate your options. If you have health insurance, please use your benefits and begin the journey of finding a therapist.
It took me two weeks to find mine. Those were a frustrating couple of weeks, but in the end, all the effort was worth it. My therapy has done wonders for my mental health and me. I have grown and healed so much.
If you don’t have health insurance, research these possiblities:
- Local mental health professionals who charge on a sliding scale
- Local universities and colleges that offer low-cost services so students can acquire hours to apply toward their degree
- Call the National Alliance on Mental Illness hotline at 1-800-950-6264.
- Try Talkspace. Sessions normally cost $150.
It sounds stupid, right? I swear it works.
The moment you find your jaw tensing, heart racing, head turning hot, stop and…
- Take a deep breath through your nose.
- Hold it for a moment.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth.
Repeat that sequence, but this time count to three, four, or five as you inhale. When you hold it, count again, slowly. As you exhale, also count slowly.
Continue to repeat this and notice how you calm down. Additionally, pay attention to your posture, too. Sit or stand straight but not rigid. Relax your shoulders.
While you calm yourself, consider visualizing images or scenarios that make you happy, such as someone you love, puppies, clouds, etc. You could also imagine the situation that caused you stress suddenly changing and going the way you want it to. Write the narrative you desire in your head.
Learning to control your breath not only assists with stress management, it’s a great gateway to meditation. If you haven’t tried meditation yet, now is the time.
Are you new to meditation? I recommend finding help from experts before you begin.
You could start with a book or a YouTube video. There are also probably meditation classes conducted in your area. Check with your local yoga studios, crystal shops, and salt rooms.
My meditation practice includes books, guided meditation from experts that I know about, and solo practice with a YouTube video of crystal sound bowls playing in the background.
Regular meditation leads to improved sleep. True story.
Cut Back on the Booze (and Drugs)
It’s been almost a year that I’ve been mostly sober or sober curious. I think I’ve had about five drinks this year so far—spread out, not all at once.
Because alcohol and pot are depressants, cutting them out of my lifestyle has made it SO much easier for me to manage, mitigate, and master my responses to stress. Why? Because without those elements in my system, my brain is better able to produce the happy hormones.
When you’re stressed, it seems like drinking a bottle of wine is the answer. I get it. I used to think that way, too.
In the end, however, booze and drugs do more harm than good when it comes to adequate stress management because they inhibit your body’s ability to naturally produce the hormones that help you keep calm and at peace.
Take a Break
Interpret that direction in any way you like.
- Step away from the computer.
- Turn off your ringer.
- Mute your text messages.
- Delete the social media apps from your phone.
- Go on vacation.
These are all forms of taking break. Discover yours and implement it.
This is the essential action of it all, isn’t it? The goal is to relax. The above tips will help you achieve that.
Be mindful and aware. Are your shoulders tense? Relax. Are you grinding your teeth? Relax. Nails digging into your hands? Relax.
Breathe. Take a break. Meditate. Talk to a mental health professional. Relax. You can do it. We all can.
- Drink a glass of water. In fact, during times of stress, increase your daily intake of water completely.
- Get more rest than you normally do. Take naps. Get plenty of sleep at night.
- Laugh. Watch a funny movie, comedy special, or visit with a friend and keep the conversation comical.
- Soak in a tub.
- Increase your orgasms. I’m dead serious.
- Get a massage.
- No matter how frustrated you are, never skip your workouts. In fact, either increase them or add a new type of workout, such as yoga or dance.
Wait! One More Thing…
Stress is detrimental to your health. If you already have high cholesterol, which has an adverse effect on your heart, guess what. Stress adds to that effect on your heart.
From high blood pressure to headaches, diabetes to dementia, stress makes your existing health problems worse. That’s just another reason to master how you respond to stress.