Are you stressed out?
You’re not alone. According to a national poll conducted by NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health, 1 in every 4 individuals reports dealing with a lot of stress in the previous month.
It’s not unusual, even in the summertime, to experience anxiety over travel plans, summer cookouts, and family get-togethers. But, sometimes, it’s the just the overtime at work that gets to people. Here’s how you can reduce your summer stress at home and work and start enjoying yourself.
Keep A Journal
Journaling is a simple way to release stress because it gets your thoughts down on paper. Identifying your negative or anxious thoughts is a technique very frequently used in therapy.
In essence, you’re managing negative thoughts by analyzing them. This process is called “countering,” and it’s one of the best ways to deal with the stress of everyday life.
Don’t worry too much about what you write. Just make sure you get all your thoughts, emotions and behaviours down on paper. Then, ask yourself why you feel the way you do. You may be surprised by the answers you get. Give this some real thought, and you may be able to reduce your stress in an uncomplicated manner.
Keep A Positive, But Realistic, Attitude
A positive attitude is important, but you also need to be realistic about what you can accomplish at work and at home. If you are juggling multiple responsibilities, for example, work, kids, household responsibilities, social commitments, you might not be able to do it all. Time is your limiting factor. Maybe you need to delegate some tasks, ask for some help or prioritize the tasks which maybe more important.
Given our busy lives, a common stressor for couples is often that they don’t see enough of their partner. What can you do to make the most of the time you do have together? You could schedule in a date night every week, make a concerted effort to eat dinner together at the dinner table instead of in front of the T.V., mange your work hours, schedule to do chores together, all in an effort to maximize the time you are able to spend with each other.
There are some great medication apps out there if you’re willing to try meditation. One of the best (and simplest) is called Headspace. It’s an app you download to your phone or mobile device. You can choose areas of your life to focus on, or take general meditation sessions. Each session lasts between 2 minutes and an hour. You choose how long you want to spend meditating with options for both guided and unguided meditation.
So, if you’re stressed out about your home life and relationship with your partner, you can take a meditation series on strengthening your personal relationships. If you’re stressed out at work, take a series on productivity.
Get More Sleep
Research shows that more sleep equals less stress. Most people don’t get enough sleep, either. During the summertime, for example, it’s common to want to stay out late, party, and have a good time. While partying seems like it’s a stress-reducing activity, the lack of sleep can actually be stress inducing.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45% of individuals said poor sleep affected their daily activity at least once during the past 7 days. If you’re one of those people, try slipping into bed a little earlier so you can sleep later.
A 10 p.m. bedtime doesn’t sound too sexy, but it might make you feel less stressed out during the day.
Stress doesn’t have to control your life. Believe it or not, you can win the battle. All you need to do is take the first step in a new direction. Whether it’s meditation, journaling, or some other strategy or technique, the important thing is to take action now.
Dr. Ahmed is a clinical psychologist that specializes in providing services for both individuals and couples. With the belief that each client seeks therapy with their own set of expectations, she aims to foster a genuine, non- judgmental and empathic relationship with each client to explore their concerns and develop strategies to meet their unique goals. Dr. Ahmed aims to provide an opportunity for clients to develop and work on their clearly defined goals and to facilitate the development of skills that can be applied long term.