Dealing with stress has become an every-day experience, particularly this year. Unfortunately, stress can complicate health issues and put you at higher risk for some diseases and chronic conditions. It may seem that you can’t do much about the stressors in your life, but you have more control than you imagine. Consistent stress management helps break the cycle stress has on your life, so you can be more healthy and proactive. Still, not all stress management techniques work for everyone, so it’s important to find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do just that.

Identify Your Stressors

Identifying the sources of stress can be tricky. It’s important to be mindful of your habits, attitude, and excuses. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary even though you can’t remember the last time you took a break?
  • Do you define stress as a normal part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality?
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely status quo?

Remember, until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or making excuses for it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

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Avoid Stressful Environments

Learn how to say “no” and set limits on our time. Taking on more than you can handle is one of the greatest challenges in dealing with stress. Discern between “should” and “must” and when possible, say “no” to outside commitments.

Avoid people who cause undue stress. Either limit the amount of time you spend with them or end the relationship.

Take control of your environment by turning off the news, limiting social media time and plan your errands when traffic is lighter.

Exercise Your Right to Get Moving

Physical activity is a huge stress reliever. Even a short walk can do wonders to lift your spirits and release endorphins. Regular exercise can also improve sleep, digestion, and concentration. Here are some great ways to get moving:

  • Play your favorite music and dance around
  • Take your dog for a walk
  • Walk or bike to the grocery store or on local errands
  • Use the stairs at home or work rather than an elevator
  • Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot and walk the rest of the way
  • Pair up with an exercise partner and encourage each other

Practice Mindful Relaxation

Spend some time consciously relaxing every day. There are many techniques, so find one that works best for you. One simple practice is to focus on a world or phrase that has a positive meaning for you such as “peace” or “love” or “I am calm”. Focus on the word or phrase and if your mind wanders, gently draw it back as many times as necessary. You can connect the word or phrase to your breath, inhaling calmly, and exhaling as you mentally repeat your mantra.

Don’t worry if you find these stress management tips difficult at first. Like anything, it’s a skill that needs to be practiced. Before you know it, you’ll easily be able to incorporate time for your own relaxation and well-being.