It’s a stressful time of year for many of us. The stress of a new school year, activities, schedules: it’s tough. So, this month, we’re focusing on a few tips and tricks that can help you and your loved ones combat stress together.
First, let’s talk about two different kinds of stress: short-term stress and long-term stress.
Short-term stress is exactly what it sounds like: it lasts for a time, but then goes away. Think of this type of stress as those first-day-of-school jitters. Will I find my classes okay? Who will I sit with at lunch? What if I miss the bus? Stressful, yes, but in time, these types of stressors should dissipate and even disappear.
Long-term stress is usually more concerning when it comes to your overall health. When you get hit with one stressful thing after another, over and over again, it starts to take a toll. People under long-term stress often have difficulty sleeping, irritability, and can develop depression.
How to deal with stress
It depends. Each of us are different and each of us deal with things differently. Below are several suggestions you can follow that have been proven to help.
Exercise has proven effective at reducing stress. So, get out and get active. If you love sports, play sports. Ride your bike, walk or run. Even better, find friends to join you.
A good diet will make a huge difference. Toss the energy drinks and sugary snacks. Eat real meals, with good food—proteins, fruit, veggies, etc. Good eating habits ensures your body has the fuel it needs to support your brain and your bones.
Get enough sleep
We’re all super busy. Sometimes that means late nights or early mornings just to squeeze in everything that needs to get done. But cutting sleep hours has a detrimental effect on your body’s ability to ward off illness. Your friends or coworkers may be able to get by on 6 hours of sleep each night, but you may need 9 hours. That’s okay. Good, regular sleep patterns will help you fight stress and have the energy to get through the day.
Don’t forget to take time to do something relaxing. Hanging out with friends, playing games, meditating, or reading might all be helpful ways to give your mind a break from the stressors you face. You may also want to talk with your friends or family about the stress you’re feeling. They may have ways to help.
If you feel completely overwhelmed, it’s okay to talk to someone. Your family and friends love you. There’s no shame in asking for help or support. You’ll be surprised at how quickly people rally around you and help.
If you or a loved one is experiencing long-term stress and having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).