7 Creative Ways to Tackle Stress
Everyone feels stressed. Whether you feel it when trying to get to the office in the morning, while arguing with your kids to get dressed for school, when looking at family finances, or mounting to-do lists, chances are you probably feel some form of stress every day. If not kept in check, stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body.
Stress is your body’s response to the challenges and demands of life. You might recognize it as a rapid beating of your heart, tension in your muscles, or a clouding of your thoughts. Other symptoms of stress can include reoccurring stomaches, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, skin conditions, digestive issues, and more.
By recognizing symptoms of stress and learning ways to manage stressful situations, you can prevent these feelings from causing further harm to your mental and physical health. April is Stress Awareness Month and a perfect time for the counselors and therapists at CW Psychological Services in Pennsylvania to share some creative ways to tackle stress.
If you struggle with managing stress, don’t wait. Reach out to a mental health professional who can help to provide coping tools and solutions for a more stress-free life. Counselors and therapists at CW Psychological Services are available.
Here are 7 Creative Ways to Stress Less:
1.) Take Care of Your Temple:
You have probably heard the phrase, “your body is a temple,” before. It’s true. Food and drink are fuel for our bodies. Be mindful of what you are consuming to optimize your body’s response to stress. Healthy greens, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains, are all good for your body. Try to minimize things like alcohol, which may feel like a stress reducer at the time but can actually lead to more inflammation of your body and increased symptoms of stress. Caffeine can also mimic stress in your body causing you to feel worse long term.
2.) Move it, Move it:
Moving your body is a great way to take care of your physical and mental health. Next time you feel overwhelmed, try stepping away and going for a walk. You can get creative by climbing the stairs at your office building or walking to your next meeting rather than driving. Incorporating stretches and breathing exercises like yoga and meditation can also be a huge stress reliever.
3.) Color it Away:
You may be thinking, “I am not a child anymore, only children color.” That is not true. Lots of adult coloring books are available from bookstores and online stores. The act of coloring can be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. If you are feeling overwhelmed or highly anxious, step away and pull out a coloring book to help ground your mind and find calm.
4.) Practice Breathing Techniques:
It is always good to have some stress relief tools in your toolbox. Box breathing (counting in and out as you breathe) can be a huge stress reliever. If you notice your mind or heart racing, stop what you are doing and breathe. Focus all your energy on your breath and a calm mind will follow.
5.) Cut Out Toxicity:
Is there something or someone that frequently gets you going? Cut them off. You don’t have to be around toxic people or part of toxic relationships. If your job is causing you frequent stress it may be time to reexamine your career or consider a different path. Does watching the news cause you stress? Turn it off. Loud music? Shut it down. Cooking dinner? Consider one of those pre-made meal services. There are solutions for almost every stressful trigger. The first step is identifying those triggers and figuring out some potential solutions.
6.) Do What Makes You Happy:
How are you spending your days? Are you making time for at least one activity that makes you happy? Whether it be a type of exercise, a hobby, taking a class that you care about, writing stories or poems, playing a sport, baking, knitting, reading, etc. Make sure you are fitting in at least one thing a day that makes you happy. The act of doing something you love will release feel-good hormones and help with managing stress in other areas of your life. If you are spread too thin, to begin with, it is hard to manage stress.
7.) Say “No”:
A big part of reducing stress is learning to be assertive. Stand up for what you want in life. If you are feeling rundown and like all you want to do is curl up on the couch and binge-watch Netflix, then turn down that invite for dinner out. If you want to skip the party or the family get-together, it is ok. If you don’t want to volunteer for PTA or team mom, then don’t. Saying “no” is a form of self-care.
Make Stress Management a Top Priority
No one is stress-free all the time but by making stress management a priority you can help to relieve stress before it leads to greater physical or mental harm. Learn to recognize what you need and desire and take time out of your days to make those things happen. Sleep in when you feel rundown, skip the outing when you feel like you need alone time, take the mental health day when you feel overwhelmed, set boundaries, and stand up for yourself.
If you need help managing stress, the counselors, therapists, and associate-level clinicians at CW Psychological Services can help teach you tools and develop a stress-management plan that fits your life.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Counselors and associate-level clinicians at CW Psychological Services are professionally trained. We have openings for online, or telehealth, therapy appointments. Email us at [email protected] or call at (610) 308-7575. We are here for you.