Stress is a part of everyone’s life, whether the problems are financial, health, or relationship issues impacting yourself or a loved one.
1: Realize what is in your control and what isn’t.
Sometimes just doing that is easier said than done, but you can’t control what you can’t control, no matter how hard you try. You can control your response to a situation, and you can control your behavior. Coming to grips that not everything is in your control can be difficult, but also freeing.
2: Allow yourself time every day to feel your pain.
Rather than ruminating all day and night on what is wrong with your life, allow yourself time every day to really feel your feelings. Put it on the calendar. Just sit with your feelings, even if it feels like a weight is pressing on your chest. Put on some loud music and sing at the top of your lungs, hit some pillows, cry, scream, or get under the covers and hide. But make sure you set a timer for the end of your pain session, and then get on with your day.
3: Connect with people.
Talking, emailing, and meeting with friends and family can be both a distraction from the stress of life, as well as a way to talk through problems and get support. Make sure the people in your life are truly supportive, and not invalidating or intolerant of your need for support. And be sure to offer support to your loved ones as well, because giving of ourselves is one of the best ways to relieve our own suffering.
4: Try to maintain good self-care.
Eating healthy meals, sleeping on a regular schedule, and exercising are the keys to keeping your body healthy. Of course, this can be very difficult when you are facing a stressful period in your life, but you should make this one of your priorities. Ask friends and family to help out – meeting for healthy meals and going for walks or gym classes together can help you stick to your routine.
5: Seek help.
If you find yourself unable to maintain a functional daily routine, depressed to the point of isolation, or abusing alcohol or drugs, please seek help from a professional. There is no shame in seeing a therapist or counselor, and talking with a nonjudgmental mental health care provider can be immensely helpful, both to get the feelings out, and to get practical life strategies.