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What is Stress & How to Deal With It

Stress is that too-familiar, chest-pounding, awful feeling we get when our body detects some kind of a threat or change. Stress can come from a million different places - like our jobs, finances, traffic, relationships, or just being busy. These stressors can send our body into the same response of an actual life-or-death threat. Unfortunately, being in this stressed state too often, and for too long, can have some negative health effects - to both your body and mind. Some warning signs of stress overload include:

- Apathy

- No longer finding joy in the things you used to enjoy

- Irritability

- Difficulty concentrating

- Being mentally tired

- Avoiding dealing with your problems

- Anxiety or depression

- Nausea

- Migraines

But how do I become less stressed? This is where problem solving, assertiveness, time management, and self-care come in! With these techniques, you can knock out current stress and prevent future stress:

1. Problem solving can help you eliminate some of the issues that are causing you stress. To do this, you need to first acknowledge the problem(s). Next, brainstorm possible solutions to this, and weigh your options. Really evaluate the options, and think about the possible outcomes. Choose the best option with the best outcome, and come up with a plan. Then, tackle your plan!

2. Assertiveness is defending your own rights in a positive and calm way, without diminishing the rights of others. This can mean saying no to a favor asked of you, speaking your mind, stating your opinion, or standing up for yourself. Always express yourself honestly, and be candid with your words. It’s okay to act in your own best interest sometimes - you have to look out for yourself, too!

3. Time management and planning can help prevent some future stressors by making sure that you’re able to get everything done in a timely manner. To manage your time better, clarify your priorities first. Stop spending your precious time on things that waste your time. Use a planner or calendar and plan out your day or week with those priorities in mind. Divide your plan into manageable goals/tasks, and don’t forget to reward yourself for meeting your goals or accomplishing your to-do list. Most importantly, make sure you allot an appropriate amount of time for each of these tasks!

4. Self-care is vital to your mental health because it is effective at reducing your stress. You have to take care of your body and mind to be able to get everything done that’s on your to-do list. This can include regular exercise, decent sleep, proper nutrition, good hygiene, and relaxation. Now, you may be thinking, “but I have no time!”. There are plenty of ways you can squeeze this into your day, like bringing healthy snacks to school or work, taking the stairs when you can, saying “no” to something asked of you, putting on a face-mask while doing homework, or taking a few seconds in the shower to just breathe.

Thanks for reading!

XOXO, Lauren

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