Between working, shopping for groceries, paying the bills, participating in hobbies, exercising, and trying to maintain a healthy social life, stress is around every corner, and managing it can seem an insurmountable task. Throw in back to school with extracurricular activity schedules and varying pick up and drop off times, and sometimes it feels like you’ll never experience relief from stress.
While we know you can’t ignore credit card bills that need paid or work that needs done, we also know you don’t want the stressors of life to affect your ability to sit around the dinner table with your family, laugh with your friends over coffee, or practice self-care routines to energize yourself. That’s where effective stress management tips come in!
As your partners in healthcare, we are advocates for not only your physical health but your mental and emotional health, too. While we can’t make stressors in your life go away, we can offer our top practice tips for how to manage them when they come.
Keep reading to find Avance Care’s 6 practical tips for managing stress – especially for those with busy schedules.
1. Get Active
Research continues to grow and build on how effectively exercise improves mental health. Exercise specifically reduces stress hormone levels like adrenaline and cortisol. That means exercising literally reduces the stress being held in your body. While busy schedules can make it difficult, consider replacing time spent scrolling on your phone with physical activity. Try to incorporate walking, stretching, or doing small exercises at home to easily fit exercise into your schedule.
2. Connect with People
Social interaction and talking with other people actually reduces stress hormone levels in your body. Make sure you choose to talk to someone who will encourage, laugh, and support you so the conversation doesn’t leave you feeling drained. In addition, studies have shown smiling and laughing also help reduce tension and release stress you’re literally holding onto with your facial expression!
3. Get Enough Sleep
While it can be difficult on a busy schedule, especially if you have young children, getting enough sleep is a crucial piece to providing your body with what it needs to tolerate stress. If stress is what’s keeping you up at night, make sure you’re implementing other stress management methods, such as meditation or yoga, to relieve stress during the day and provide rest for your body.
4. Leave the Stressor Behind
While it isn’t possible to run away from every stressor, try swapping them for something easier or more energizing. If doing the dishes adds stress, consider paper plates! If scrolling on social media presents feelings of worry or comparison, take a break from social media. If pick up makes your schedule complicated, see if you can coordinate pick up with another family in your neighborhood or on the same sports team as your children.
5. Watch What You’re Eating
Stress will never disappear, so a large focus should be providing your body with the support it needs to physically tolerate and manage the stress its under. Cortisol levels can be greatly affected by foods, especially stimulants such as coffee, processed sugars, and alcohol. However, a diet of whole foods can help maintain healthy cortisol levels. If your body is already inflamed and tense, it will be even more difficult to manage and tolerate stress. Your gut and mental health are closely connected, so it’s important to give your nutrition the proper attention if you’re hoping to improve your stress levels.
6. Get Professional Help
If negative thoughts and worry are consuming every moment of your day or inhibiting your ability to make positive changes, consider getting professional help. More and more people have learned effective and helpful methods for coping with stress, worry, and anxiety by speaking with a professional therapist. Avance Care Behavioral Health has in-person and virtual care options available! Call 919.237.1337 to learn more or schedule an appointment with one of our behavioral health therapists.
Learning how to manage stress effectively won’t happen overnight. We recommend trying one of these methods at a time for a week, and see if it feels effective for you and your lifestyle.
To talk with a healthcare provider about your lifestyle and health factors that may be inhibiting your ability to tolerate stress, find an Avance Care location or provider near you, or visit our online scheduler and set up an appointment today.