Sometime life navigates chaotic, stressful times – like a wild ride on a runaway roller coaster. You become depleted due to relationship issues, or problems that erupt due to your children (no matter how old they are). Perhaps you’re sagging due to a festering illness, either your own or an illness of a close family member – a parent, a sibling, or a child. Or you face the sting of losing your job, your home or even your adored pet. Your mind is galloping, your world is reeling.
How can you carry on when you face drastic changes in your life and a grave sense of loss? Debilitating fear envelops you. As a result, many people fall into negative behaviours such as excessive drinking, gambling, binge eating or illicit drugs to banish troubles in order to cope. These tactics, initially a way of bolting from the problem, eventually culminate in other devastating problems later on.
The following are some strategies to keep you balanced, calm, even in times of extreme stress and chaos. No, you will not banish stressful events, however, your coping abilities and confidence will be strengthened and enhanced as you become more grounded, in control and in charge.
7 Effective Stress Management Tips for a Calmer You
- Realize you can’t control everything. Some things have a life of their own and must take their own course. Pray, cry, shriek or stamp – then reflect upon what you can and cannot control. Notice the underlying root of your stress – is it fear, anxiety for the future, a feeling of ‘it’s not fair!’, or is it grief?
- Embrace help from someone you trust. Call a professional psychologist, a good friend or relative, a religious leader or your doctor or other health professional. Know you will be okay no matter what happens.
- Don’t hibernate. If possible, get outside for a walk and envelop nature. Immediately stress chemicals are dissolved when you move your body and surround yourself with natural elements.
- Instead of drinking coffee or alcohol that tend to dehydrate, overexcite or make mayhem – drink water or green tea to energize you. Instead of binge eating, protect your immune system and banish bad moods with a protein snack paired with a carbohydrate such as cheese and crackers, a turkey sandwich, eggs and toast, nuts and fruit. The amino acids in the protein will pleasantly reward your brain as well as nourish it. Pairing protein with a carbohydrate will revive and calm you at the same time and help you plot your course of action. Carbohydrates include potato, rice, whole grain bread or cracker, vegetables or fruit.
- Luxuriate with deep breathing techniques to overcome muscle tension and relax the mind and body. Sit quietly, with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Notice your breath going in and out. For further repair and relaxation, take a slow, deep belly breath. Count to 4 slowly as you inhale and exhale. Think “I Am Calm” as you breathe out, giving your mind the vacation it needs. Repeat for a few minutes. Music that soothes you enhances the relaxation.
- Other ways to relax include rejuvenating with a massage or soaking in a tub. Slow down and renew by being more mindful of all your actions, especially when driving. Recoup by resting when you’re tired.
- At this time, resolve to review your commitments. Pare them down to protect yourself against feeling suffocated or overburdened. Practice saying “NO”. Don’t self-destruct with overcommit, even if it makes you feel guilty! Enlist help. When you’re in a chaotic period in your life, suppress the urge to do everything yourself.