It is my pleasure to officially welcome you into the month of September.
For us at Talk Mental Health, we have tagged it “Stress Free September”.
We are all about taking charge of those things we can and not being anxious of the things we can’t control.
It is barely 3 months to the end of 2020, I know you might have checked your goal list to do some evaluation. If the report is okay by you, well done boss. If it is not, don’t start getting worked up and stressing over it all.
Just breathe and try to be objective.
Stress is your body rising to any occasion that poses as threat or demand (real or imagined) on your physical or mental well-being.
Imagine sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting. For every negligible move the car makes forward, you watch the minutes tick away. You are probably shifting in your seat getting uneasy. Here’s what is happening in your “headquarters” i.e. the brain: Your hypothalamus, a tiny control tower in your brain sends out the order: ‘Send in the stress hormones!’. The stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency (e.g a lion that strays out of a zoo..lol) by preparing you to react quickly.
Stress can be a good thing as it helps you stay alert, motivated and focused on the task at hand. The negative side of it is that it can make existing mental health problems worse!
No one is immune to stress, it is a normal part of life. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis or the death of a loved one can trigger stress.
But when we experience stress too often or for too long, or when the negative feelings overwhelm our ability to cope, problems will arise.
So, here are 3 major ways to effectively cope with stress:
- Take charge
While you cannot control or eliminate stress from your daily life, you are in control of how you would respond. Let’s be honest, some of those deadline stress we feel is as a result of our own procrastination and perfectionism and not the nature of the job. Ways you can take charge is by: being more assertive, learn to say No!, try to delegate task (you’re not God, you can’t do it all), create weekly to-do lists and then break them down to smaller chunks of achievable tasks.
2. Have a positive mindset
“The mind can go either direction under stress—toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.”― Frank Herbert, Dune
Train your mind to handle stress by trying to reframe the problem at hand, have a positive mindset (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yeah?). So, next time you’re stuck in traffic, why not grab it as a time to listen to that audio book you’ve been postponing, or calling that friend you’ve been meaning to. Is it about the still unchecked boxes on your goal list? First show gratitude for the ones you’ve been able to accomplish, re-analyze the remaining list to be sure they are S.M.A.R.T. enough and start taking the baby steps to handling them bit by bit. Don’t forget to celebrate every small win.
3. Practice self-care
All the #selfesteemchallenge geng in the building, say “yaaaay”. If you’re not in this geng you’re missing! You can join the waiting list for the next edition here
We don’t play with self-care at all.
To us nurturing is a necessity, not a luxury. Take out time to travel, get away from your phone and go for a walk, get a massage, curl up with a good book, watch comedy, or if you’re like me, listen to music. Just do anything you find pleasurable.
This life is too short to be spent stressing over everything everyday.
How have you been coping with stress this year? Share with me in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you.