Q: I am starting to feel more stressed by my responsibilities at work and home and I don’t know how to deal with it. I am having difficulty relaxing at home and accomplishing the things I want. What can I do?
A: Stress is an experience you may have in response to both positive and negative events in your life. It is not always possible to remove yourself from a stressful situation, but you can work on improving your reactions, thoughts, and emotions related to the event. It is important to develop healthy coping strategies for handling stress, as long term exposure to stressful events could impact your physical and mental health.
Relaxation is a key component in managing stress. Exercises such as progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation help to calm your mind and body. Check your local library or bookstore for relaxation CDs or DVDs that guide you through relaxation exercises, take a class in your community, or research relaxation exercises on the internet.
Physical exercise can also help to improve your mood, increase energy, improve sleep, and help combat health conditions. Try and incorporate some physical activity into each day. Whether you choose to run, swim, play sports, or walk, find something that helps to keep you active.
Ask for help or assistance, whether this be from a family member, friend, co-worker, or community program. Everyone can benefit from the support and compassion of others so utilize the resources available in your life or community.
Lastly, seek professional consultation for your increased level of stress. If you find you are not coping with the stressors in your life, you can seek advice from your primary care physician, Employee Assistance Program, or through a local counseling center. These professionally trained individuals can help you to identify healthy ways of coping with your stress and how to decrease it.
By Breanna Vonck, licensed mental health clinician, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, Menasha.