April is National Stress Awareness Month, designed to bring attention to the negative impact of stress. Managing stress is essential for maintaining mental and physical well-being.
Here on the blog this month, I have shared many different tips and ideas for managing stress:
- Certain activities, such as doing puzzles, taking a walk, or spending time with your beloved pet, can reduce stress and help you relax.
- Better organization lowers stress and is a good part of mental health since less physical clutter is less brain clutter. It will curb frustration and boost your productivity.
- Bringing more positivity into your life is a valuable tool for lowering stress, as much as it is for your overall well-being and mental health.
Managing Stress in Daily Life
Today, let’s look at our day-to-day living to see where we can minimize stress. It’s a familiar story for women: we are so busy caring for other people and work that we put our physical, mental, and emotional needs on the back burner. Feeling overloaded, we have lost a part of ourselves, or we feel stuck and can’t move forward.
Women have extraordinary talents for juggling many things at once. But that isn’t always a healthy trait. For many Gen-X women (like me), it is not just a struggle to balance work and take care of family. Caregiving for elderly parents can be added to the mix. This can bring on a whole other type of stress.
Studies show that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of stress. Long-term stress is more likely to cause problems with moods and anxiety in women. This can create daily symptoms we often dismiss, such as headaches, upset stomach, and insomnia.
Ask These 10 Questions Daily to Help Lower Stress
If you are feeling weary and burned out, ask these questions to see if you are taking time to care for yourself:
Am I letting other people control my time?
Am I adding exercise to my week?
Am I taking the necessary vitamins?
Am I drinking enough water?
Am I eating a balanced diet and staying away from junk food?
Am I taking time to do something creative?
Am I staying away from vices?
In addition to taking care of ourselves physically, we also need to consider what will help us emotionally and mentally. Think about these questions:
What am I grateful for today?
What is one small thing I can do that is only for myself today?
What is one thing I can do to make me feel accomplished today?
We all know that looking out for ourselves is equally important as caring for others and work. Yet to do so, it may mean some self-evaluation to see where changes can be made.
As a writer, I attempted to write three to four days a week to make progress. While this was my intention, it never seemed to happen. After discussing my writing goals with my husband at the beginning of the year, things changed. Now I have more support and have set “office hours” at home, allowing uninterrupted time for writing and blogging. My husband and sons know I am unavailable during those hours, just as if I was working away from home.
Knowing that I have uninterrupted blocks of time to myself for writing has lessened frustration and improved my mood. This decision has prevented me from feeling that I must have obligations at home done first (which we know is never ending) before going to my office to write.
Changes you make may not be immediate, but over time can make a difference in your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
And you are worth it.