According to the Mayo Clinic stress can cause heart disease, sleep problems, obesity and memory impairment along with a host of other issues. If you have been procrastinating about dealing with the stress in your life, stop right here and decide to make some changes now. Stress can escalate if you don't have adequate coping skills for dealing with a variety of situations. In addition, if you aren't coping well with one area of your life, chances are that this will spill over into other areas so it is better to just nip problems in the bud when they start. Realize that you are important and that your life is of value. You can make changes to improve the quality of your life and address stressors at work and at home.
Create a Support System
If you don't have friends and family that support you, then start making efforts to develop social relationships at work and at home. You need people in your corner that you can go to in times of stress. Sometimes just talking to someone you trust can alleviate stress and give you a different perspective. If you are feeling completely alone, this may be adding to your stress. Start reaching out to people and socializing more. This may sound counter intuitive during a stressful time but isolating yourself will make your situation more stressful. Call friends you haven't talked to in awhile. Reach out to family members that you know you can trust. Attend new events in an effort to widen your social circle.
What You Eat Affects Your Health
You will be tempted to turn to comforting fatty and sugary foods during times of stress. That entire pint of icecream will call out your name and you may not care enough to resist just to get that short term sugar high and that feeling of relief during a stressful situation. Stop before you start. Get to the gym the moment junk food starts to call out to you. Find a book to read. Watch a movie. A stress filled overeating episode will affect both your short and long term health. If you really can't avoid reaching for comfort food, go for some Greek yogurt instead of icecream or a bowl of oatmeal instead of pasta. Reach for a hot steaming cup of herbal tea instead of a big cup of coffee. Make little healthy decisions that will add up to a healthier day.
Address the Cause of Your Stress
Write down the list of your stressors that affect you throughout the day. Is your work or home situation toxic? Do you need to make a big change? Have you been putting off making a particular decision? What weighs on your mind the most? Identify your biggest stressor and list out how you can change your environment so the stressor is either eliminated or minimized. Make decisions and changes quickly. Simplify your routine. If you can easily eliminate certain sources of stress, get rid of them completely. Look at the big picture of your entire day. Is your commute too long and adding to your stress? Is it stressful to do certain tasks? Can you consolidate all the minor tasks that are stressful and get them done on one day of the week so that the rest of your week is less stressful? Figure out all the ways you can make your life easier on yourself.
Dance the Stress Away
Add sources of fun and relaxation to your life. Take a dance class. Put on your favorite music and dance around the room. Go watch a movie with friends. Add activities that you enjoy and that make you feel special and most like yourself. Sometimes just writing in a journal can give you an outlet and a way to address daily stress levels.
Coping with stress can be difficult if you constantly feel overwhelmed and out of control. This is where assertiveness skills come in handy. Create clear boundaries and structure for yourself and stick to it until you regain a sense of control. Talk to your colleagues and family members and let them know when you are absolutely not to be disturbed. Make time for yourself on a daily basis and make that a nonnegotiable appointment. You can deal with stress in ways that are healthier on a daily basis.