A little bit of stress can be healthy, but too much stress is dangerous. I’ve already explained what happens to your body when you’re stressed. Now I’d like to explain how to deal with too much stress. There are three important steps to getting your nervous systems back in balance: recognise how much stress is too much stress, walk away from stress and calm down.
- Recognise how much stress is too much stress
The most important part of dealing with stress is learning how to recognise when a situation is getting too stressful. Everyone’s bodies have different ways of signalling stress. For me, my heart starts racing, I get headaches and I crave unhealthy foods. Next time you’re over-stressed, try to notice what’s happening to you. Take note of these signals for future reference. The next time you feel them, you can easily recognise your stress signals.
- Walk away from stress
Now that you know that you’re in a situation that is causing you too much stress, you need to step out of it. This is often the hardest part. We’re conditioned to keep on going, to say we can sleep when we’re dead and so on. This is a very unhealthy mentality. Accepting what you can and cannot handle is not showing weakness, it’s showing a strong commitment to your health. So try to be brave enough to tell your boss you cannot take on that extra, last minute project. Feel free to tell your friends you cannot meet up because you need me-time. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to take care of yourself. Next time you realise your stress levels are getting too high, step out of the situation and let it go. You’re doing what’s best for everyone. No one benefits from you burning out.
- Calm down
You did the hard part of walking away, now it’s time to reward yourself with some calming you-time. It’s time to chillax! When you’re relaxed, your brain receives signals that the “danger” is over and that your nervous systems can go back to being balanced. So what’s a good way to relax? Ask yourself what you loved doing so much as a child that you completely forgot about time. That activity is a good place to start. You should do anything that brings you peace and helps you focus on the present moment.
Here are a few ideas:
- Exercise (whether that’s gardening, running or boxing)
- Meditate (or do breathing exercises)
- Practice yoga
- Write in a journal
- Make art (I personally love adult colouring books)
- Thoroughly enjoy the whole process of making and drinking a cup of tea or coffee
- Give yourself a facial or take a bath
- Watch a fun movie or read a book
Once you’ve found what helps you to relax, schedule time for it in your agenda. And if you think you’re too busy to chill, you should absolutely schedule time for it. Remember, everyone benefits from you being healthy and relaxed.