Why Setting Aside Time To Relax Is Crucial For Your Wellbeing
Do you struggle with stress? For those of us who reside in the United States, the answer is most likely “yes.” Statistically speaking, well over half of the adults in the United States are impacted by stress. There’s a wealth of research on the connection between stress and adverse mental and physical health concerns, but the statistics on stress remain astronomical. Most people are quick to agree that their health comes first. So, why does it continue to be so hard for so many of us to prioritize stress reduction?
The Impact Of Stress On Health
Understanding just how impactful stress can be is a wake-up call for a lot of people to begin prioritizing relaxation. Here are some of the potential health effects of stress:
Higher blood pressure
Stress can also increase tendencies toward irritability and agitation, which can negatively affect both your work life and your interpersonal relationships. The good news is that it is possible to decrease the stress in your life, no matter how much you may fear that it’s an impossible feat.
Why Is It So Hard To Stop Thinking?
It is hard to combat stress, worry, and overthinking, especially when we tend toward and are used to stressing out. We’re taught that it’s normal and that everyone is stressed out, so we should “just get over it,” but that is not the case. For some individuals, it’s hard to stop worrying and stressing out because you simply have too much on your plate. For others, an underlying health condition may be the cause. For example, yes, you may have a busy job, but if you have an anxiety disorder such as OCD or generalized anxiety disorder, it may cause you to ruminate and hang onto maladaptive thoughts or worry even more. If you find yourself getting sick over deadlines or all of your general obligations, whether or not you have a mental health condition, you may consider counseling or therapy.
Coping Skills And Techniques
Here are some evidence-based ways to decrease stress in your life:
- Spend time in nature.
- Prioritize social connections. Even if your time together is remote or digital due to the coronavirus, it’s important to take time for your loved ones.
- Learn and use mindfulness skills. You can look mindfulness skills up online, attend group therapy or individual counseling to learn mindfulness skills through dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and other forms of treatment, or listen to guided mindfulness meditations, many of which can be found online for free. Sometimes, you’ll even be able to find a free support group that offers mindfulness skills.
- Engage in physical activity such as taking a walk, going for a bike ride or run, playing a sport of your choice, or practicing yoga. Movement should be enjoyable and accessible, so whatever works for you is excellent.
- Journal, whether you do it using a blank journal or a guided journal, such as a gratitude journal. It can help write out your feelings and let it all out, especially if you struggle to get in touch with emotions and are working up to feeling more adept at verbalizing how you feel.
- Make a list of what you are grateful for on a regular basis.
- Learn and use time management skills to plan ahead and tangibly decrease life stressors.
Permission To Relax
Sometimes, we simply need permission to relax. If you’re reading this, here’s your permission to take time for yourself and relax. If it’s not possible right now, set aside time to decompress sometime in the near future. Your health is worth it. After all, your well-being is one of the few things in life that is truly irreplaceable, so give yourself the authority to put it first. If you struggle with relaxation, mental health, relationships, or stress, you may consider reaching out to a mental health professional.
If you can’t seem to combat the stress in your life, it is okay. For many, stress management is a process that takes time. If you struggle to manage stress on your own, reaching out to a licensed mental health professional such as a counselor or therapist can help you. Online therapy is a convenient and affordable option for mental health care. You can get started with BetterHelp by visiting the BetterHelp website or looking for the app on the Google play store. The counselors at BetterHelp are adept at helping people with a variety of concerns, including stress, relationships, and mental health conditions like anxiety. Whether you choose to see a counselor in person or online, know that help is available and that you don’t have to let stress impact you negatively anymore.