Tips for Coping with Stress
Stress is a normal reaction in the body that happens when change occurs. Stress responses can be positive – keeping us alert, motivated and ready to act on certain situations. Stress responses can become a problem though when stressors continue for an extended time without periods of relaxation. It’s important to check in with yourself and recognize when you are stressed or overwhelmed so that you can take care of your mental wellness.
Here are some tips for coping with stress:
- Acknowledge that having some fear and anxiety is normal.
You are not alone in what you are feeling. Whether it be fear of starting a new chapter in life, anxious thoughts over the uncertainty of a situation, or stress from the demands of your personal life, we all have moments when we feel overwhelmed. The most important piece is recognizing when you are stressed and taking the proper steps to manage your stress levels.
- Know when to take a breather and disconnect from the task at hand.
When you are flooded with racing thoughts or emotions, struggling to concentrate, or you feel like you are overwhelmed, it is important to know when it is time to give yourself a break. If you cannot step away from what is troubling you, it may be beneficial to take a few moments of silence and try some deep breathing to disconnect. This might mean closing your eyes & taking 5 deep breaths to calm your mind and connect with your body. Small mindful moments can make a huge difference in your stress levels. If you have a bit more time, head outdoors for a few minutes to connect with your breath and get some fresh air.
Here is a quick and easy breathing exercise for when you need to gather your thoughts: Inhale for 3 seconds, hold your breath for 3 seconds, and exhale for 3 seconds. Repeat this 5x. When you’re done, tell yourself a positive affirmation then re-approach your task.
- Reframe your negative thoughts.
Reframing is a technique used to replace intrusive thoughts with more balanced thoughts. Once we recognize that the negative thoughts in our mind are not a concrete part of us, we can see them in a different light. For example, if you are thinking that you are going to fail and not accomplish your fitness goals this year, you should question why you are thinking negatively about your goals and think about how you could reframe your thoughts more positively. For example, “I’ve set big fitness goals for myself this year but if I do not achieve every single one, it won’t ruin my overall goal because every step counts. It takes small sustainable changes to lead to the big changes overtime and every ounce of work I put in will make a difference in the end.” This type of reframing will keep you motivated to do your best and will also reduce the negative stress you’ve put on yourself to achieve these goals.
Click here for a resource sheet on how to challenge your worries and anxious thoughts.
- Incorporate relaxation and mindfulness into your daily/weekly routine.
Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Taking a few minutes to slow down, taking deep breaths, and being present can all help to reduce your stress. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday such as, meditation, yoga, nature walks, and much more. Check out our recent blog post to learn about a man’s guide to mindfulness.
- Move your body.
Movement is one of the best ways to cope with a stressful situation and it doesn’t have to be a big-time commitment to be effective! Every little bit of movement counts and if you don’t have time for a long walk or workout, try to squeeze fitness snacks in throughout the day to move your body. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Go for a 5-minute walk around your workstation or building
- Do a 10-minute stretch before bed to calm your mind
- Schedule a walking meeting with your coworker or head out for a walk on your lunch break
- Go for a 15-minute bike ride
- Try an at-home fitness class on YouTube (e.g., 20-minute strength workout)
Click here to listen to our ‘Mindful Music’ Spotify Playlist.
If you are looking for more information for coping with stress, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/lifestyles/your-health-mental-health-coping-stress-health-canada-2008.html
Coping with stress and anxiety. (n.d.). CAMH. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19/coping-with-stress-and-anxiety