Stress and Self-Care
The stressors of everyday life can have a profound effect of our lives. With the looming presidential election, unstable economy, raising unemployment and our new friend COVID-19 things can seem to spiral out of control very quickly. How does one deal with all this stress and still maintain a level of sanity? That is not a question that can be easily answered because when stress hits it can affect one mentally, physically, spiritually and psychosocially.
Stress is defined as ‘a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.’ Stress can result from a stressor like unemployment, bills piling up, sickness, threat of losing one’s home or loved one, and car and health insurance. Many people do not know how to truly deal with stress. This year COVID-19 truly affected and continues to affect the world on a massive scale. Worldwide we went into a panic as the virus spread rapidly. We were forced to shut down; restaurants, large companies and small business owners were forced to close their doors as the seriousness and danger of the virus set in. While the American dream was put on pause, some people were forced to stay at home with no source of income coming in, as the bills continued to pile up. Small businesses owners scrambled, as they relied on every day and new customers to keep their businesses afloat. Stress for everyone was at all-time high, as the unknown was inevitable. And almost, as if to add fuel to a burning flame, it’s election year.
This year truly tested everyone, especially mentally and physically. Mentally as people were forced to isolate, staying at home for days, weeks, and months at a time; something many were not used to. Physically as the virus showed no mercy or discrimination, affecting all ages and ethnicities. There were stressors everywhere, affecting everyone. Believe me, no one could have foreseen the year of 2020 occurring, but we are here and living in it. The question now is, how does one deal with the stress that is bought on by these stressors. Keep in mind, that when one is stressed mentally it can trickle down to you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Here are a few things one can do when stress occurs:
1. Meditation- There are also meditation apps and even videos on YouTube that can help.
4. Breathing exercises
- Breathe- Many times we carry the stress on our shoulders. This can lead to bad posture, and even headaches. When you feel yourself so stressed out, stop whatever you are doing and take a deep breath and try to completely relax.
For physical stress:
- Rest: sit outside in the sun and enjoy the fresh air and nature or take a nap
- Relaxation – music, reading, meditation, playing a game, playing with your children or grandchildren.
· To give you an example, music has been used for many different things in this world. You would be surprised how music can affect your mood. Turn the volume up as you listen to your favorite album and sing your heart out like no one is watching.
And overall, look at the smaller things in the picture, not just how big the picture is. This just means to separate things in your mind. Try not to look at is as “I have all these bills to pay”, or “Nothing is going right”. Try to look at is more so as “I may have a lot of bills but I am going to pay the ones that I can right now” or “Those situations may not have went the way I wanted, but I am going to keep trying.”
When one is stressed to the point where it affects you physically, spiritually, or socially, it’s time to speak with a someone. It can be a faith leader, a trusted friend, or a doctor. If you reach this place there is no shame. Seek the help that you need to get back on track. Life can be hard, but there are people and resources out there that are available to you. These are a few ways to cope with the negative stressors that affect our lives. Life will always throw you curveballs and things will sometimes happen unexpectedly, but we must stop take a breath, and think of our challenges positively. It will not be easy, but you can do it; just one step at a time.