Do you often feel tired before the week even begins? Have you been experiencing insomnia or having disturbing dreams at night? Suffer from frequent headaches or stomach aches? According to the American Institute of Stress, these are common signs and symptoms of stress. A few years back, I suffered from severe migraines and debilitating stomach pain on and off for about 3-4 months. After trying to ignore/or live with the pain, I made an appointment with my doctor. Within a week I was seen, tests were run and eventually I was told these symptoms were due to stress.
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I wasn’t surprised, at all. Back then my life was a lot less organized than it is now and I was not making self-care a priority. I knew I had to make some lifestyle changes if I wanted to be healthier, so I started trying different ways to deal with my stress. Unfortunately stress is inevitable, but it is something that can be managed. Here are 7 practical ways to deal with stress.
1. Express Gratitude | It sounds crazy, but expressing gratitude is a great way to get your mind off of the things you’re stressing about. If you’re busy counting your blessings, you don’t have much time to think and stress over the things you don’t have or can’t change. Try it.
2. Journaling | Sometimes all you need to do is put pen to paper and write whatever it is your’re feeling. Getting that stress out of your head and on paper is truly cathartic. Journaling also forces you to unplug from the world and focus on yourself. Lastly, keeping a journal allows you to reflect and look back at your patterns. This can be helpful when trying to pinpoint the cause of your stress.
3. Social Media Detox | Social media is such a helpful and necessary tool, especially for brands, businesses and entrepreneurs. However consuming too much social media content can become stressful. When you’re constantly bombarded with images, memes, video clips and tweets it can become overwhelming, thus causing your stress level to heighten. Taking time “off” from social media is one of the best ways to quiet the noise, de-stress and refocus. Trust me, you won’t miss much.
4. Listen to Music | Listening to music has always been my go-to whenever I’m stressed out. It’s a great escape, if only for a few moments. I actually have a “Chill Mode” playlist on iTunes, as well as Spotify. Some of the artists on the playlists include Ella Mai, Boney James, Mali Music, Kehlani and more. I also turn to one of my Spiritual playlists at times. If you’re looking for some songs to add to your playlist, check out mine below.
5. Learn to Relax | As I mentioned earlier, I have not always made self-care a priority. I think many of us believe the act of self-care is selfish when in actuality, self-care is extremely necessary. Studies have shown that self-care actually makes you more effective and energetic. Avoiding things that make you feel good can be damaging to your self-esteem and confidence. Plus in order to take care of and be there for those importation people in our lives, we have to take care of ourselves first.
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6. Go to Bed | Getting enough sleep is probably one of the easiest ways to help keep your stress in check. Creating a nighttime routine and setting a bedtime for yourself is great place to start. If you have an iPhone, I suggest trying the Bedtime Feature. You can set your bedtime and wake-up time for the week, as well as during the weekends. This feature lets you know 15-minutes before bedtime that it’s time to shut down. It even tells you how many hours you’ve slept.
7. See a Counselor or Therapist | If your stress is becoming too much to handle on your own, I definitely suggest finding a counselor or therapist to talk to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a counselor, therapist, or even a pastor/spiritual advisor. Sometimes we need an outside person to give a fresh perspective on what’s going on with us. I truly believe God gave certain people the knowledge and skills to help others navigate through tough times. I’ve gone to my pastor during stressful times more than once. Talking through my issues and getting sound advice on how to deal with certain situations helped tremendously. So the next time you’re feeling stressed and nothing else seems to be working, don’t be afraid to ask for help. After all, we’re not meant to do this thing called life alone.
So tell me, how do you deal with stress? Let me know!
Until next time, be blessed and stay safe…XO!
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