Fill in the Blank…It’s the Most __________ Time of the Year.

If your answer was “wonderful,” I like your positivity, but we’re not singing a song today. We’re talking about stress! With the holidays approaching the answer is “stressful.”

Do you have Stress in your Life?

If you answered no, that’s great! However, I think you need to dig a little deeper. Do you drive to work? Do you sit in traffic? Has anyone ever cut you off while driving? How is your home life? How many hours do you sleep at night? How’s work? There are so many ways we feel stress and sometimes don’t even realize it.

What is Stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to pressure or a threat. When you are stressed you may feel tense, worried, overloaded or nervous. If stress becomes chronic, it can be very harmful to your health. But don’t get me wrong not all stress is bad! Let’s look at the different types of stress.

  • Types of Stress
    • Acute– Short-term stress that gets your heart beating and palms sweating. This could be a rollercoaster ride, meeting a deadline, giving a presentation or getting in a car accident.
    • Episodic– Feeling acute stress on a regular basis and finding it difficult to find relief.
    • Chronic– Stress that’s not exciting or thrilling, this can be dangerous and unhealthy. Examples of chronic stress include an unwanted career, an unhappy marriage, a chronic illness in you or a family member, etc. If the stress isn’t identified and treated it can lead to serious illnesses like a heart attack, stroke, cancer and psychological problems.

Identifying Stress

Stress affects each person differently. Some people may notice physical symptoms right away and some people may not realize it until it becomes a chronic issue. It’s important to identify where your stress originates in order for you to take action.

Take this quiz from Psychology Today to identify your stress triggers. This quiz will give you some direct tips for managing your stress.

Quiz: What are your stress triggers?

Other Tips for Decreasing your Stress Levels include:

  1. Exercise! Exercise is the best medicine! If you can get out and exercise for at least 30 minutes, most days of the week, you’ll get those endorphins flowing. Are you meeting the minimum?
  2. Meet the recommendations for sleep. Aim to sleep between 7-9 hours per night.
  3. Eat a well-balanced diet. Healthy foods fuel our bodies and minds. Focus on increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. Try cutting back the sugar.
  4. Say no! We all put too much on our plates when it comes to work and social lives. You have to learn how to find time for yourself so you can relax.
  5. Plan ahead. Whether it’s meals for the week, your tasks for the day, setting up your clothes the night before, etc. Make lists and try not to push everything to the last minute.
  6. Take a break. It’s important to realize when you need to step out and take a deep breath throughout the day. Just walking outside for 5 minutes will help clear your head.
  7. Mediation/yoga. Don’t have time for a class? There are many YouTube videos for yoga or try the HeadSpace app for meditation!