Stress. We all deal with it. Sometimes life can be a lot more stressful than other seasons of our lives. You might find that right now, during the pandemic, you are a lot more stressed or not.
First, let’s take a nice deep breath. Breath in all that oxygen and give a big sigh to release. Do that a couple more times. Breathing is very beneficial to help reduce the accumulating stress in our bodies.
The external and sometimes internal things that cause tension are called stressors. Stressors are going to be present in your life regardless of how great things are going, whether they are considered good or bad. In terms of understanding stress, stress is the physiological response to those stressors. (1)
When our bodies are experiencing a lot of stress, our mental and physical health are compromised. Your blood pressure increases, your heart beats a little more, your mind is racing or avoidant, your endorphins change… it is all to help you survive what you’re going through. However, when you are in a chronic state of stress, that can interfere with your overall health.
We all have different ways to cope with stress. If you’re reading this, my hint is that you eat when you are stressed. And that’s okay. I want to acknowledge that you used something to help you cope when you may not have had any other resources. It’s okay. But let’s begin to find different ways to cope.
Because we cannot always remove the stressors from your life, it is crucial to find different coping mechanisms on how to deal with those stressors.
First things first, if you are biologically hungry and stressed at the same time, eat! Your body needs that nourishment to be able to tackle the stress you’re feeling. However, if you are not, let’s figure out ways you can cope without using food.
What are other ways you can process through those emotions/stress? Can you go for a mindful walk, journal about how stressed you are, reach out to a family member/friend to vent, get out in nature to clear your mind, scream into a pillow?
Make a list of different strategies you can do to help during those stressful times. You can call it your self care list or stress toolbox, whatever you would like. Have it be in your phone or on a piece of paper so you are able to look at it whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Taking care of yourself during those stressful circumstances is the ultimate form of self care.