Sarah Cloud, MSW, LICSW, Director of Social Work
Most Americans feel stress in their everyday lives but do not pay much attention to its consequences. The impact can cause chaos in our minds, bodies, relationships, and overall health and well-being.
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth’s Director of Social Work, Sarah Cloud, gives some advice on how to combat stress.
STEP BACK AND ASSESS THE SITUATION
Whether it’s struggling to finish your taxes, dealing with a high-stress job, or juggling multiple tasks every day, taking a breath every once in a while is the best thing you can do for your overall health.
If you suffer from chronic stress and can't influence or change the situation, then you'll need to change your approach. Be willing to be flexible. Remember, you have the ability to choose your response to stressors, and you may have to try various options.
- Recognize when you don't have control, and let it go.
- Don't get anxious about situations that you cannot change.
- Take control of your own reactions and focus your mind on something that makes you feel calm and in control. This may take some practice, but it pays off in peace of mind.
- Develop a vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal growth, and set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.
RELAX AND RECHARGE
Be sure to carve out some time to relax and take care of yourself each day—even just 10 to 15 minutes per day can improve your ability to handle life's stressors. Also, remember that exercise is an excellent stress reliever. Everyone has different ways they like to relax and unwind. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Take a walk
- Read a book
- Go for a run
- Have a cup of tea
- Play a sport
- Spend time with a friend or loved one
- Do yoga
While you can't avoid stress, you can minimize it by changing how you choose to respond to it. The ultimate reward for your efforts is a healthy, balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun.