Stress and What to Do About It

Stress and What To Do About It
by Karen M. Bermel, MC, LMHP

Stress occurs in everyday life for everyone. It's a natural part of our daily experience. Over the past year, I have been asked to speak to different groups regarding stress - from a 6th grade class preparing to enter junior high, to a nationwide workers' compensation company. Even more recently, I was asked to speak on KFAB radio regarding stress in relation to the economic concerns we are all experiencing at this time.

Stress, in general, can take a toll on us in many ways - physically, emotionally, behaviorally, and spiritually. Our own way of responding to stress may differ, however. We may notice changes in our sleeping or eating patterns; we may find that we are increasingly irritable, or unable to focus as well on our work or school assignments. Additionally, we may have increased physical symptoms, such as headaches or backaches. If you are noticing any of these changes, you may be on stress overload. Here are a few ideas to help manage this overload:

1. Get plenty of rest.
2. Eat nutritious, well-balanced meals.
3. Practice some deep-breathing exercises.
4. Get outside and enjoy some fresh air.
5. Prioritize tasks - take one thing at a time.
6. Read something inspirational. Enjoy some quiet time.
7. Create a manageable schedule and stick with it.
8. Enjoy your loved ones - hug your children.
9. Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake.
10. If necessary, reduce TV news and information that increases anxiety.

It's important to remember that stress is a normal part of our lives. The goal, however, is to reduce the impact stress seems to have on our day-to-day lives. The above-mentioned ideas may help in managing the daily stressors, big or small, that may be impacting life today. Staying positive and increasing self care may be all you need. If you find that you are still struggling with stress overload, a referral to a mental health provider may be beneficial.

Please feel free to call (402) 717-HOPE for a referral.