How many times have you felt the need to get out of town for the weekend to recharge and feel like yourself again? In today’s fast paced society we are stressed more than ever before and often do not do enough to reset and recharge. At some point in our life, we must cope with stress. You cannot always anticipate when something will make you feel overwhelmed. Often, the best you can do is to use the healthy coping skills that you have developed throughout life to help you manage your current stressors.
Managing stress comes in all shapes and sizes. In times of change, you want to realize and understand your perception and interpretation of the situation that determines how change affects us. You want to change toxic and irrational thought patterns, such as “I must be competent at all times!” and replace absolutes with “I am not perfect- I am doing the best I can do.”
Stress does not always have to be negative. Some aspects of stress can be both healthy and rewarding, such as engaging in a sport or recreational activity as well as working hard to complete a project. Work stress can also be seen as positive. Too many times the stress one encounters at work does not stay there which can negatively affect our relationship with others and yourself. Work stress can help one grow and change. Work stress forces one to learn new skills and creative ways to think to solve problems. Practicing self-care techniques improves the body and the mind. Remember how important it is to meet the physical and psychological needs for exercise, rest, good nutrition, and recreation. Disconnect from the screens we are connected to and try new activities!
It is important to remember to focus on what you can control, not what you cannot control. Do not attempt to control the uncontrollable! Change can be overbearing. A way to make change more bearable is to break the change up into smaller steps and short-term goals. Remember to welcome feelings, both good and unpleasant, and learn to cope well with the “bad” ones. When you are stressed and experience unpleasant feelings, the best thing is to recognize and accept them. Unpleasant feelings are unavoidable and normal. They grow and intensify when you push them out of sight. Those who do not judge their feelings and accept their own doubts and limitations will have less stress and enjoy their lives more.
No matter how stressful things can be, do not forget to laugh and use your sense of humor. Reach out and connect with others, so you do not feel alone. When you develop good, supportive relationships change is easier to understand. It is important to not keep your feelings in and isolate yourself. Remember you can seek professional help when you feel over-stressed. It is not a sign of weakness; it shows strength and courage to realize that help is needed.
There are many ways to manage stress. A few good rules include:
- Do not take responsibility for the things you cannot control
- Take care of yourself, or you can’t take care of anyone else
- Rushing can increase stress, remain in the present
- Be accepting of yourself, don’t ignore feelings and needs; accept limitations
- Limit the “should’s”
- Be accepting of others
- Ask for support when you need it
- Accept, Alter or Avoid a negative situation
- If you never make mistakes, you’re not learning anything
- Life is not fair or a contest, do not compare
- One has to begin where one is