September 24, 2021

Stress Management & Self Care

Jenny Vanessa Reyes

What is stress? According to Google, stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. According to Glazer and Gasser (2016), stress affects everyone at some point in their lives, brought on by life events, emotional trauma, or environmental factors and can be interpreted differently across cultures. Not only does stress affect your emotions, but it can have serious physical effects such as sleep difficulties that are associated with obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and gastrointestinal disorder (Glazer and Gasser, 2016).

What are the physical signs of stress? WebMD lists the following as the cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms of stress:

Emotional symptoms of stress include:

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
  • Avoiding others

Physical symptoms of stress include:

Cognitive symptoms of stress include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Being pessimistic or only seeing the negative side

Take a moment and carefully consider whether you have felt or are currently experiencing any of these symptoms. Now, think about what you have done to manage this stress. The reason for this question is to determine whether your coping habits are healthy or not. If you are using the following coping mechanisms, consider how they could negatively impact your health, social life, and/or financial situation (The 8 Worst Ways to Cope With Stress, n.d.). These harmful coping habits are:

  1. Drinking too much alcohol
  2. Taking drugs
  3. Smoking cigarettes
  4. Comfort eating
  5. Sleeping too much
  6. Withdrawing from loved ones
  7. Taking stress out on others
  8. Increasing your screen time

In contrast, healthy coping skills are ways to deal with daily stressors or stressful events that may happen by helping you gain better control of your life and feel more at ease (Glazer and Gasser, 2016). The following are tips from the CDC on how to cope with stress:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. While it's good to be informed, hearing about traumatic events constantly can be upsetting and stress-inducing, especially because these events are generally outside of our control. Consider limiting your news intake to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from your phone, TV, and/or computer screen for a while.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Make time to unwind. Talk to others. Connect with others.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
  • Avoid using drugs and alcohol excessively.
  • Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.

Utilizing stress management techniques is a form of self-care. What is self-care? According to Google, the definition of self-care is the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider. Another definition of self-care is doing things to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well. The image below gives an idea of how to start mapping the coping skills that best suit you. It is also important to keep in mind that you can seek professional guidance to help you find the coping skills that work best for you. For example, the life coaches, case managers, and counselors at Thaddeus can help you manage your stress by determining which coping skills are right for you. Thaddeus also offers tutoring for children and teens and other helpful services that can assist you in managing life stress. Feel free to explore our website to learn more!

References

Coping with stress (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/about/copingwith-stresstips.html

Glazer, Sharon; Gasser, Courtney E.; In: APA handbook of clinical psychology: Psychopathology and health., Vol. 4. Norcross, John C. (Ed); VandenBos, Gary R. (Ed); Freedheim, Donald K. (Ed); Pole,Nnamdi (Ed); Publisher: American Psychological Association; 2016, pp. 461-475. Retrived: https://eds-a-ebscohost com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=bf55e6b5-6507-4d98-b8f1-5d28ce78661d%40sessionmgr4008

Picture. Self-care: Develop a routine that works for you. SoundGirls.org

Stress definition. Google search www.google.com

The 8 Worst Ways to Cope With Stress. https://www.painscale.com/article/the-8-worst-ways-to-cope-with-stress

Webmd search. https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body

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