Taking Steps to Stress Less
While stress is an inevitable part of life (and isn’t always a bad thing), finding ways to deal with stressful situations is an important part of living a healthy, positive life. We spoke with Dr. Katherine Sanchez, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington, to help us better understand the impact of stress on overall health and to provide some practical ways to help manage it.
Identify Your Triggers
While it’s often impossible to cut out stressors completely, identifying the triggers of your stress is a key first step. Do you feel triggered when you sit down to watch the news? When you spend too much time on your phone? Dr. Sanchez suggests, “When you feel that tightness in your neck, stop and ask, ‘Why am I feeling this?’” Identifying stress sources will make it easier to avoid them.
Don’t Betray Your Boundaries
Trying to manage time effectively is something most of us face. Pressures at work, school and home overlap. Carve out space for yourself by establishing mental and physical boundaries. If you’re working or studying at home, shut the door of your workspace when it’s time to be done. “This will remind you that work is work and home is home, and help you be more present,” Dr. Sanchez shares.
Stay on the Move
Regular movement and exercise can go a long way to managing stress. Take advantage of a nice day and get outside! Sunlight is great for boosting vitamin D. Just a quick walk in the neighborhood or around the office can help. “Even if it’s a 10-minute walk around the block, being outside is so important for your mood,” says Dr. Sanchez.
Note: Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that‘s right for you.