How do we Identify & Manage Stress 

Stress can show up in your life in lots of different ways. Here are some of the common changes that might indicate that you are stressed. If these changes last for more than 1-2 weeks, it is important to try to figure out why the changes are happening and what you can do to address them. Consulting can be a place to start your exploration.
Things you might experience if you are stressed:
  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Sleep issues; either sleeping too little or too much
  • Appetite changes
  • Stomach issues like indigestion, stomach cramps, diarrhea or constipation
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Lack of motivation
  • Increased heart rate, sweating
  • Withdrawing from friends & family
  • Difficulty concentrating
Ways to Manage Stress:
  • Care for your body. Exercise and eat regularly. Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.

  • Watch out for stimulants & depressants. Avoid excess caffeine, tobacco & vaping which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation. Also avoid illegal drugs & alcohol.

  • Relax. Learn relaxation exercises (abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques).

  • Learn practical coping skills. For example, break a large task into smaller, more attainable tasks.

  • Find the upside. Your outlook, attitude, and thoughts influence the way you see things. Is your cup half full or half empty? Decrease negative self-talk: challenge negative thoughts - with alternative, neutral, or positive thoughts. "My life will never get better” can be transformed into "I may feel hopeless now, but my life will probably get better if I work at it and get some help.”

  • Focus on Progress, not Perfection. Learn to feel good about doing a competent or "good enough” job rather than demanding perfection from yourself and others.

  • Make time for fun. Take a break from stressful situations. Activities like listening to music, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, or spending time with a pet can reduce stress.

  • Talk it out. Build a network of friends who help you cope in a positive way.

  • Be kind to yourself. Practice Self-Compassion. You can do this by taking time each day to write down 3 things you were good at or 3 things you accomplished that day. Talk to yourself kindly. The way you would to a friend in need. Be realistic with yourself. And do something fun for yourself each day.

  • Stretch. Do a 15-minute stretch routine.

  • Don’t Multitask. Doing several tasks at once may seem like an efficient use of your time, but multitasking actually wastes time and reduces the quality of your work.
If you want to delve further into understanding stress and creating a personal plan for managing stress, I have attached a great resource that explains some of the science behind stress and guides you in building a stress management plan. Link to Handout