Anxiousness, irritability, fatigue, headaches, trouble sleeping. These symptoms will probably sound familiar to anyone who’s been over-stressed at work (who hasn’t?). While a little bit of stress at work can keep you on your toes and help you meet new challenges, too much can be bad for your health.
“When you feel stressed, your body automatically goes into survival mode, releasing adrenaline and preparing you for a fight or flight situation,” said Kathy Dutridge, MA, LPC, CRC, Mental Health Counselor at Valleywise Health. “This reaction can save your life if you’re running from a wild animal, but your body can’t tell the difference from when you’re simply feeling overwhelmed at work. Keeping your body in that stressed state for long periods of time takes a toll on your body and mind.”
Kathy Dutridge, MA, LPC, CRC, Mental Health Counselor at Valleywise Health
Stress happens to all of us. They key is identifying what stresses you out the most and being prepared with stress relief tactics when it happens.
Here are some helpful ways to manage stress from the National Institute of Mental Health:
- Recognize the signs of your body’s response to stress, including difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, irritability, feeling depressed, and having low energy. Keep a journal of situations that caused stress to identify patterns and triggers.
- Talk to Your Doctor. Ongoing stress can lead to anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Make an appointment with Valleywise Health to monitor existing or new health problems.
- Get Regular Exercise. Just 30 minutes of physical activity each day can help boost your mood and reduce stress.
- Try a Relaxing Activity. Relaxation looks different for everyone. Schedule time each week for activities that make you happy and relieve stress, such as meditation, being in nature, reading a book, or joining a group of people with similar backgrounds and interests.
- Set Goals and Priorities. Decide what must get done, what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if they are creating too much stress. Note what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you didn’t do.
- Stay Connected with people who can provide emotional and other support. To reduce stress, ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations.