There are a variety of ways to handle stress, but all of them depend upon the individuals’ willingness and ability to make some significant changes in their lives.
• Exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Just 30 minutes a day can make you feel better mentally and physically and reduce stress.
• Explore other ways to cope with stress such as meditation, yoga, tai chi or other similar types of programs that are both physical and contemplative.
• Set priorities; decide what you can do and what you are unable to do. Say no when asked to take on another task if it will add too much stress to your life.
• Stay in touch with those who provide your support network whether it’s family, friends, church associates or community organizations. Ask for help if needed to relieve stress from family obligations such as caring for an elderly parent.
• If you cannot cope with all the stress in your life, seek help from your family physician or a qualified mental health professional, particularly if you are using alcohol or drugs to cope.
• If work is your biggest stressor, instead of a “coffee break,” take a short walk; go out to lunch and avoid talking about work; try to make a clean break from work at night and on the weekends.
• If you have a health problem or condition, don’t ignore it as the stress in your life may make it worse. Make sure that you get enough sleep and that your diet is a healthy, nutritious one.
• Make time for relaxation and schedule activities that you enjoy.
• Reach out to a good friend and talk about the stress in your life. Sometimes just sharing your worries and concerns with someone you know and trust can help relieve some of the stress and increase your ability to deal with it all.