As I have been trying to figure out how to deal with my stress-related chronic illness, I have tried to find any means possible to get relief. Some things work, some things don’t work, some things work some of the time and not others. The whole journey has been a difficult path, but one that I needed to take; otherwise, things would just get worse.
At this time, I want to capture what I have learned. For the most part, this is to remind me of what I have learned and cannot afford to forget. If this can benefit you, so much the better, but remember that I am just sharing work works for me. Each must find their own way; I can only share my experience.
Things I have found to help me relieve or deal with stress:
- Stay positive – There can’t be enough said about a positive attitude when it comes to stress, illness, and life. Your mind has incredible healing strength and when your mind believes, your body will often follow. Many books have been written on this subject, so I will not attempt to capture here what has already been said so well by others.
- Take a few deep breaths – I learned this simple technique from a guided imagery recording where you take six deep and slow breaths in through our nose and out through your mouth. When you inhale your stomach goes out and not your chest. You do this with your eyes closed and focusing fully on what you are doing. This seems to really help me when I feel stress closing in on me and is quick and easy to do.
- Chill out – This might not always be possible, but you have probably noticed, there are frantic people and there are calm people in every environment, even stressful ones like work. Try to be more like the calm ones. Don’t let things agitate you, relax a bit and go with the flow, let things go, focus on what really matters, choose your battles.
- Less multitasking – I know we all think we can multitask, but we really cannot and the effort to try to keep track of all the things we try to do at the same time can be overwhelming. Simplify your life, complete takes so you can forget about them, and move on to the next one.
- Ask yourself if it really matters – There are a lot of things you can worry about, some are worth worrying about, some are not. Let some of the things that are not worth worrying about go. The less you are trying to do, the more you can focus on the things that really matter and reduce your stress.
- Message your neck – A lot of stress is carried in our neck and upper back. If you can just message your neck a bit, it will relieve some of the tension and stress.
- Get a message – A message can free up the stress collected by the body and rejuvenate you. If this is not an option, try a hot tub or hot bath. These might not be as wonderful as a message but can still help.
- Take a walk – A walk is relaxing but still gets the blood pumping and muscles moving to help alleviate your stress. Take a walk along a nature trial away from traffic and noise. If you do not have easy access to a nature trail, consider taking your walk in a quiet neighborhood or park. It can be even better to go with someone, so you can talk and take your mind off of the stressors in your life.
- Work out – There are lots of benefits to working out as related to stress reduction. A work out improves your physical well being, which helps you take better handle physically stressful situations. Working out can also take your mind off of stressful things. Finally, working out gets your blood pumping and releasing chemicals that aid in relieving stress.
- Listen to guided imagery – Letting someone talk to you using relaxation techniques and positive affirmations can be a great rejuvenator. Some guided imagery routines require you to lie down. Others can be done walking waking. Some are for daytime and some are for sleep.
- Listen to relaxing music – Relaxing music often means sounds of nature, such as rain, birds, ocean waves, or the wind. These invoke thoughts of peaceful and tranquil places that help calm our stressed minds.
- Meditate – Meditation is one of the most common solutions to stress you will find if you search the internet. I honestly think this is one of the most powerful stress reducing techniques, but I don’t feel I have even come close to mastering it. However, even with my feeble attempts to do this, I find some relief for my stress. In my searches, mediation is often synonymous with yoga, so if you want to learn more, research meditation and yoga.
- Take a nap and get enough rest – If you do not get enough rest, your body is weakened and much less able to handle the demands placed on it. Sometimes you might feel there isn’t enough time to sleep sufficiently or you have trouble sleeping; this all leads to stress and makes it more difficult to sleep the next time you try. If possible, during your lunch break or after school, take a quick nap. A five or ten minute nap can go a long way.
- Do something fun – All work and no play leads to a stressed out and unhappy person. Make time to have fun. A bow that is always strung loses its spring.
- Take a break – Whatever you are doing, especially work, take an occasional break to get a drink or rest. Not only will you find that the break reduces your stress, but you will come back with more energy to resume your task.
- Get proper nutrition – Improper nutrition can physically stop your body from being able to deal with stress. I will not go into the details, in part because I only partially understand them, but if your body is missing key nutrients, such as certain vitamins or minerals, your body will not be able to handle stress. So, make sure you have a healthy diet with all of the key nutrients.
- Deal with the stress as soon as you recognize it coming on – It is a lot easier to deal with a little stress than a lot of stress, especially if the lot of stress results in physical illness.
- Do yoga, Tai Chi, or stretch out – These are common physical ways to relieve stress. I think much of the benefit comes from relaxing tight muscles and bringing a sense of peace to the mind and body. I do a bit or yoga and stretching out and it certainly helps with tight muscles, but I haven’t gotten to the level where it brings peace to my mind.
- Take time out for yourself – This might be an hour during the day, a day on the weekend, or a vacation. Your mind and body need a vacation from your stress filled life.
- Have a hobby – Make sure the hobby takes you away from the sources of your stress. Some people like to garden, work in the yard, quilt, or learn a new fun skill. The key is there is something you look forward to doing for yourself and that takes you way from the stressors in your life.
- Go out with friends – Friendships can be very cleansing and relaxing. Make sure you make time for friends.
- Create a to do list – Stress can come because we feel we have so much to do and worry about forgetting something. if you create a list of things you need to do and refer to it, you don’t need to worry about forgetting things.
- Get out in the sun – Don’t underestimate the power the sun has to help you relax and feel better. I like to take a few minutes to get away from my work and just sit on a grassy area or bench and absorb some of its warming rays of the sun.
- Take action – Stress is sometimes due to something we need to do that we are uncomfortable doing or unsure about, so we “stress’ and stew over it. In these cases, action might be the best remedy. Either do something or don’t’ think about it, but don’t just think about it. Once the situation is dealt with, the stress can go away.
So, I want to say that I am not an expert at this, which is why I have the problems I do. This is just what I do or have learned and am trying to do. I am not suggesting or recommending any of these. What is best for you might be very different. I think each of us needs to find what works best for our bodies and our situation.