Taking care of YOU

Bridget Bartlett PHOTO CREDIT: Conbtributed

Life can be stressful.

With everything that is going on now in the world, we are noticing that more people are overwhelmed, anxious and depressed. On top of everything else, the stress within our lives obviously hasn’t stopped.

The medical community has recognized that stress has a significant impact on our health, inflammation, increased risk of hypertension, heart attack and stroke.

Even if you are in tip-top health, feeling overwhelmed in our busy lives is completely normal. The key is managing it and taking care of yourself.

Here are a few tips that might help:

1Know your triggers (i.e. things that cause you to become overwhelmed). Knowing what causes you to feel overwhelmed can help you prepare for your reaction.

Example triggers include feeling pulled in multiple directions, negative people, uncertainty in life circumstances, etc.

2 Make a list of things that make you feel healthy, and make them a priority. For example, some people feel healthier when they avoid caffeine, eat at least two nutritious meals per day or exercise every day.

3 Create a list of tools you can use to help yourself stay well or help you feel better when you are not doing well. Some people have found physical exercise, journaling or using relaxation or stress-reduction exercises helpful.

4 Check in with yourself often. Ask yourself how you are feeling. Notice your physical sensations. Try not to judge your feelings or emotions, but accept them for what they are.

5 Recognize when you are not feeling well. Sometimes, it might be difficult to see if you are declining emotionally. Some people recognize their signs as forgetfulness, avoiding others or isolating, lack of motivation, lack of emotion or impulsivity among others.

6 Be honest with yourself. Know your limitations, and set boundaries with others. It’s OK to say “no.”

As a final note, keep in mind that you have control of your body, and you have the ability to set limits with yourself and others.

We all experience stress differently. Recognizing your signs and symptoms will help you live a healthier life.

Bridget Bartlett is a licensed independent therapist offering mental health therapy to ages 9 and older, as well as to adults. If you would like to learn more about how you can manage stress in your life, contact her at 563-207-8932.

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