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3 Ways to Combat Stress


3 Ways to Combat Stress

There are a million and one (if not more) reasons why we all feel stress.  Life brings with it many challenges and although some people may seem better equipped or able to handle it than others, that does not mean they are not handling it in some form or fashion.  Add to life’s day to day stresses the reality that your relationship is ending and everything becomes that much harder to handle.  Stress can begin to overwhelm and interfere with many things including work, family relationships, and your own health and wellbeing.  It is up to each of us to manage our wellbeing and to the extent we manage it well, is to the extent that we will be ok.  

First and foremost, are you sleeping well?  I have begun to the hear the term sleep hygiene from clients and other medical professionals and appreciate how this frames the idea that sleep is something to be tended to, just like other aspects of our hygiene.  Research generally says that approximately 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is needed for our ability to function normally.  How you go about getting yourself to sleep can help or hinder the quality of the sleep you have and should be tended to just like flossing or brushing your teeth.  The more you rely on natural methods to induce sleep the better.  Sleeping in a room that is completely dark and well ventilated is best.  Avoid exposing yourself to high levels of stimulation right before bed.  Stimulants like caffeine can negatively affect the quality of your sleep so pay attention to your intake through the day and follow recommended guidelines suggested by your doctor.  Create a routine for bedtime to help improve your ability to fall asleep and consider speaking to a professional about ideas to help your quality of sleep if you find your having trouble.  

The research behind the benefits of exercise is overwhelming and consistently shows that with regular exercise (min 3 times a week of 30 min of cardio) there is a marked: reduction in anxiety/stress, elevation in mood, and improvement in quality of sleep, among other benefits that exercise can provide.  I can tell you from personal experience that I experience these benefits in addition to gaining a sense of accomplishment and mastery when I achieve a specific exercise goal.  Devoting this time for yourself feels great and certainly is an effective strategy to buffer the effects of stress that we can all experience.  

Connecting with people, friends, or family can also help to provide you an outlet and healthy distraction from the stresses of life and in the context of a break-up.   Make a commitment to share at least a few hours on a weekly basis to connect with good company.  Commit to not talking about stressful things when together.  That is not to say that reaching out for support from friends and family isn’t helpful once in a while to talk about the things that you are struggling with.  However, balancing stress with fun is important and the most satiating kind of fun is typically experienced in the context of other connecting with others.  We are a social species and thrive in relation to others, so finding time to connect, and enjoy each other’s company can boost your sense of support, encouragement that things will be okay, and re-energize you to face another day.  

If your struggling with stress in your own life, but don’t know if you can handle it all alone, feel free to reach out to me for a free 15-minute consultation and we can discuss if therapy may help.

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Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapy Professionals.
817 South University Drive, Suite 121
Plantation, FL 33324