April is Stress Awareness Month, and we all know how difficult it can be to overcome stress. A number of factors play a part in how much stress we experience, as well as how we handle it. Here are a few well-known, yet effective ways to de-stress.
It’s probably easier said than done if your job is based on Internet usage, or if you work in a creative field that essentially requires you to be on social media for a good portion of the day. You should find some time to unplug, whether it’s for half an hour or an entire weekend, and whether it’s from one application or every digital gadget. Constant notifications, refreshing, and the need to share can be overwhelming. Unplug and use that time to do something else you may enjoy, like starting that creative project you’ve been putting off for weeks or reading that book that’s been sitting on your shelf for months.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
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Meditation and yoga practices can be helpful to not only keep your mind away from stressors, but to also help you learn how to handle those stressors. Keep in mind that meditation, yoga, and mindfulness are not about ignoring the problems. They are meant to help calm you down while also teaching you to be aware of the issues you are facing. With the warmer weather slowly returning, activities like Yoga in the Heights are a great way to get in a refreshing yoga session. There are also plenty of yoga studios including Sattva Yoga in the Heights, Jivamukti in Downtown, and Sacred Souls in Journal Square. You can also stop by Modern Sage for meditation-based events, or visit an acupuncturist like Acuworx for a healing experience.
The overall goal is to breathe.
Talk to a Friend
I find that one of my favorite ways to de-stress is hanging out with a friend and talking to them. I have friends who call me during the week if they want to vent or if they just want someone to talk to, and they’ll ask if we can hang out if they need quality time with people they care about. I once spent a weekend in Princeton with a friend because we both needed to relax after a stressful semester. Sometimes, spending time with a friend can be the best thing.
Try to Find Balance
Again, easier said than done. It’s not an overnight process to find balance in your life. In fact, it’s a constant struggle. The key here is to understand that while work is important, it is also important to give yourself breaks. Too much of anything is bad for you, and that definitely goes for the workaholic who drowns themselves in several projects at once until they are overwhelmed. Take a moment, sit back, and try to find a way to balance your work and personal life in order to make things less stressful. Try different schedules, consider different work environments, and see what works best for you.
Exercise and being physically active in general is known to release endorphins, which lessens your perception of pain while also triggering a positive mood. During your lunch break, considering taking a walk rather than rushing to grab lunch or sitting indoors. Before/after work or on weekends, join a class or set up a routine to get your workout in. Join a kickboxing program, go for a jog at the park, or attend a cycling class – whatever works for you.
Remember Everyone is Different
Something that tends to stress people out is constantly comparing themselves to other people they see online, at work, at school, anywhere. You can be as confident as possible, but it’s natural in this society to constantly feel like you’re competing and this competition can easily cause you to diminish your value. Try to keep in mind that your value is NOT dependent on your successes in comparison to the successes of others. Success is relative to each individual and everyone has different goals. Your growth is yours alone, and you shouldn’t compare it to the people you see on social media or the people you work with.
Consider Visiting a Professional
If you have the resources to do so and are open to it, consider visiting a mental health professional. There is no shame in visiting a professional to determine what your stressors are and to determine if there are deeper roots to those issues than you may be familiar with. It’s important to remember that stress is not always as simple as having too much work to do. Stress can also be caused by the loss of a loved one, financial issues, and more. If you find that you’re extremely overwhelmed or looking toward outlets that may be harmful to your body or overall health, a mental health professional can help you.