Are you feeling stressed lately? These days, it’s hard not to when we are all trying to keep up with our busy lifestyles. Between fast-paced jobs, the whole pandemic, and just the daily grind of being a human- we can quickly feel, well, REALLY stressed out.
And while stress might be a new normal for many of us, the side effects on your mental and physical well-being should have you rethinking your stress management skills.
Why Should We Care?
It’s easy to dismiss stress as a daily part of life, but that’s half the problem. Our bodies were not designed to be under stress all of the time. Our fight or flight response is produced to protect us in life-threatening situations. You know, mountain lions, dinosaur attacks, that kind of thing. Jokes aside, our bodies cannot decipher the difference between stressing about bills versus being under attack.
When your body moves into fight or flight mode, a few things happen.
- Your heart rate increase
- Your senses increase
- Blood flow changes
- Breathing increases
- Hormone levels rise
As you can see, this works great when you are in immediate danger. However, when you are just dealing with daily stress, this becomes a problem.
What are the side effects of stress?
Along with the flight or fight response, long-term stress can cause a long list of symptoms and side effects.
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart attack
- Lowered sex drive
- Hair loss
While this is not an extensive list, it is enough to make you rethink ignoring your stress. While you can use low-level laser therapy at home or take medications to lower your blood pressure- this does not address the root cause of your daily stressors.
How Can You Simplify Your Stress?
While it’s easy to get stressed, it’s sometimes harder to find a stress management routine that works for you. The good news is, we are more aware than ever of the effects stress can have on our bodies, so the options for reducing stress are accessible and affordable.
Declutter Your Space
Your home, office, car, and wherever else you spend your time should be uncluttered and relaxing. While this is easier said than done, decluttering your space has tremendous effects on your mental health. Clutter has been found to cause depression, stress, and tension- among other side effects.
While minimizing and decluttering can be time-consuming, the after-effects are worth it. There are several free videos and affordable books available to help you get on the right path to a decluttered space. Just remember to take it slow and work through your stuff at a pace that feels good.
You probably expected this one, but meditation is a popular way to reduce your stress and improve your reaction to future stressors. Meditation doesn’t have to be chanting or breathe work. It can simply be ten minutes of quiet before bed, guided meditation in the morning, or a local class for a more hands-on approach.
This one is hard, but know that being plugged into your phone all the time is not doing you any favors in the stress department. Science tells us that social media and our constant notifications can wreak havoc on our stress levels. Your phone can even increase adrenaline and cortisol levels! While being plugged in can have its benefits, it might be time to rethink your screen time habits if you feel out of balance.
Not sure if you need to cut back? Turn on your screen time feature on your phone and use it for a week as you usually do. This can be a pretty eye-opening way to know when you need to take a break. Once you are ready to enjoy a little digital detox, here are some ways to ease the transition.
- Set screen time limits
- Take a full day off without social media
- Turn off your notifications every night
- Go rogue and delete your social media accounts
While you don’t have to disconnect all the way, a little break, even for an hour or so a day, will work wonders for your mental health.
Make Yourself a Priority
If you have a family, work too hard, or dedicate a lot of your day to everyone else, don’t forget to make yourself a priority. Whether that’s something as simple as a hot bubble bath or sneaking in a daily workout- make self-care a part of your daily to-do list.
Some ways to add a little self-love to your routine and take care of yourself are:
- Working out
- Eating healthy
- Taking a night off
- Grabbing a laser hair growth cap
- Getting a massage
- Making a spa appointment
Taking care of your stress shouldn’t stress you out. That’s kind of the whole point, right? So take it slow and find a solid stress management routine that feels good and is easy for you to stick to.