As summer begins winding down and things like back to school shopping move to the top of the to-do list, it’s important for Albertans to look for ways to reduce their stress levels.
“Stress is a fact of life for most people,” states Alberta Health Services (AHS). “You may not be able to get rid of stress, but you can look for ways to lower it.”
According to AHS, stress doesn’t have to be caused by a traumatic or unsettling event. Everyday occurrences can build up to make an impact on one’s physical and mental health. Sometimes, AHS said, these stresses may not appear right away – which is why it’s important to manage your stress level before it becomes an issue.
Manage your time. According to AHS, learning new time management techniques can help you get more done with less stress. Think about which things are most important, and do those first.
Find healthy ways to cope. AHS suggests taking a look at how you have been dealing with stress, and be honest about what works and what doesn’t. Think about other things that might work better.
Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat well, don't smoke and limit how much alcohol you drink, AHS recommends.
Try new ways of thinking. When you find yourself starting to worry, according to AHS, try to stop the thoughts. Or, write down your worries and work on letting go of things you cannot change. Learn to say "no."
Speak up. Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse, AHS said. Assertive communication can help you express how you feel in a thoughtful, tactful way.
Ask for help. According to AHS, people who have a strong network of family and friends manage stress better.
“You will feel better if you can find ways to get stress out of your system,” AHS states. “The best ways to relieve stress are different for each person.”
According to AHS, some of the more common techniques include exercise, writing, doing volunteer work or engaging in a hobby, and practicing breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
Still, despite our best efforts, stress can sometimes become too much to handle alone. While AHS said talking to a friend or family member may help, some people may also want to see a counsellor. Call Health Link at 811 if you need help, or visit myhealth.alberta.ca