According to the American Psychological Association, (APA), one-third of Americans are living with extreme stress and nearly half of Americans say their stress has increased over the past five years. Stress is a major factor in many divorces and separations. Overeating, smoking and drinking are often a byproduct of stress.
To manage stress, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) offers these tips:
Understand how stress affects you. Everyone experiences stress differently. How do you know when you are stressed? How are your thoughts and behaviors different from less stressed moments?
Identify your sources of stress. What events or situations trigger stressful feelings? Are they related to your children, family, health, financial decisions, work, relationships or something else?
Learn your own stress signals. How does your behavior change when you are stressed? Is there a lack of concentration or inability to make decisions? Is there anger, irritability, lack of self control? Do you experience headaches, muscle tension or lack of energy?
What coping mechanisms do you use to deal with stress. Do you smoke, drink, over eat or under eat? Do you make unhealthy choices as a result of feeling rushed and overwhelmed?
How to fix it:
Find healthy ways to manage stress. Try meditation, exercise or talking things out with friends or family. Don’t try more than one technique at once. Focus on changing one behavior at a time.
Take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise. If necessary, change your environment. Take regular vacations, short breaks and days off. Slow down enough to read a book or listen to music.
Reach out for support. Help from supportive friends and family will improve your ability to manage stress. Don’t feel ashamed to talk to a therapist. A professional Home Care Nurse can also help you to manage stress by offering assistance as needed.