Everyone is faced with stressful or tough times in their lives, do you have a plan for coping with stress?
"Self-care is something we deliberately do- or in some instances, refrain from doing- with our own well-being in mind." Self-care includes physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual practices to keep you in a healthy mindset. Self-care should be a part of your everyday life and routines, but extra care should be taken during times of extra stress or crisis. To learn more about everyday self-care, check out our previous blog post
Impact of Stress
Stress can come from a multitude of situations. Challenges and problems in your home life, personal life, work life or relationships can increase stress, or you may experience a crisis or traumatic event. Stress is unpredictable, so having a plan prepared ahead of time ensures you have coping skills ready to use when needed.
Stress has the ability to impact all aspects of your life. You can experience physical reactions to stress as well as emotional reactions. Stress reactions can look like changes in your appetite, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, physical pain, worsening of existing physical or mental conditions, increased use of substances such as alcohol and issues in personal relationships.
The goal of self-care is to create healthy coping mechanisms to reduce stress in everyday life and to help combat negative reactions during times of stress.
Here are some tips for practicing self-care during times of crisis and stress:
Have a plan: When we are in crisis, our ability to think rationally can be compromised. Things that may seem like common sense or routine can be interrupted during times of extraordinary stress. Before you are overwhelmed, think of a self-care plan. Think about people you can contact for support, activities that bring you joy or places you feel safe.
Take care of yourself: In times of stress sometimes even doing the bare minimum can feel overwhelming. Prioritize your well-being. Make sure you are eating, drinking water, showering and brushing your teeth. Push yourself to stay active, even if it is a simple walk around the neighborhood.
Find time to relax: No matter how busy or overwhelmed may feel, you deserve time to relax! Schedule 10 minutes in your work day to step away from your desk or allow yourself to turn off your phone when needed. If you need to take time off of work or cancel plans, allow yourself to do so.
Take breaks from social media or TV/movies: When we are stressed or experiencing a crisis, some forms of media can increase our stress reactions. Distressing stories on the news or social media can be upsetting, even if is not specifically related to your situation. Movies or shows you typically enjoy can even be triggering in times of crisis. Give yourself permission to turn off any kind of media that is distressing.
Avoid negative coping mechanisms: When we are in crisis, it can feel easier to seek destructive coping mechanisms. For some people, this could be drugs or alcohol, others may have other destructive habits such as excessive shopping, disordered eating or excessive exercise. If you are aware of potential harmful habits, set boundaries for yourself.
Seek help when needed: Never be afraid or ashamed to reach out for help! If you feel like you are in danger of harming yourself or that your stress is interfering with your ability to live your life, seek appropriate assistance. Utilize resources such as crisis centers, counseling agencies and support groups. Seek emergency services if you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or others. If you aren't sure where to turn, SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. The Domestic Violence Shelter offers 24/7 support to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence at 419-774-5840
Information for this blog was found from the following resources: