Stress management is necessary for maintaining physical and mental health, improving cognitive function, fostering healthy relationships, preventing burnout, and enhancing the quality of life. It is an essential aspect of self-care and well-being, and incorporating stress management techniques into our daily life and routines can have a great benefit. But where do we begin?
Sources of Stress in Everyday Life
There are many different sources of mental stress in the 21st century, from societal, cultural, and familial. It is essential to identify where your stress originates from to have a better understanding of how to manage and tackle your stress. The following are a few of the sources of stress that individuals most often identify:
- COVID-19 Pandemic: The ongoing global pandemic and the long-term societal, cultural, and health effects that have come from the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerns about health, economic impacts, and disruptions to daily life for many individuals and communities across the world.
- Financial Stress: Economic challenges such as job loss, reduced work hours, financial instability, and debt can be significant sources of stress for many folks. Financial stress can impact various aspects of life, including housing, healthcare, education, and other necessities.
- Work-Related Stress: Work-related stressors such as high workload, long working hours, job insecurity, and lack of work-life balance can impact mental health and overall well-being. These stressors can often lead to disinterest in work, distractions, and a lack of motivation.
- Racial and Social Justice Issues: Ongoing societal challenges related to racial inequality, discrimination, social justice issues, and systemic racism can cause stress, anxiety, and emotional distress for individuals and communities who are directly affected by these issues.
- Family and Relationship Stress: There are many ways our family and personal relationships can impact our levels of stress. Examples of family and relationship stressors are marital problems, caregiving responsibilities, parenting challenges, and conflicts within familial dynamics.
- Academic Stress: Students, parents, and educators may experience stress related to academic challenges, such as academic performance pressure, navigating hybrid learning environments, managing homework and assignments, the college entry process, and extra-curricular expectations.
It is important to understand that stress can come from an array of areas and can vary significantly from person to person. You are not alone in your struggle to manage stress in daily life. It is crucial to create a support system with trusted friends and family and seek out mental health professionals to help develop healthy coping mechanisms and strategies to manage stress responses and maintain your mental health effectively.
What Strategies Can Be Used to Minimize, Avoid, and Manage Stress?
Dealing with stress is crucial for maintaining overall well-being and coping with the demands of daily life and responsibilities. Here are some effective strategies for stress and mental health relief:
- Identify and Acknowledge Stressors: The first step in managing stress is to identify and acknowledge the sources of stress in your life. These stressors could be work-related, financial, relationship-related, or health-related.
- Identifying Symptoms: Stress can manifest both physical symptoms and mental health conditions. Stress can cause emotional instability, mood swings, sleeping and eating patterns, headaches, muscle tension, and disinterest in hobbies, just to name a few. If signs of stress continue to develop, it is necessary to follow up with a mental health provider or a health provider to rule out other causes.
- Practice Self-Care: It is crucial to understand that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Making time for hobbies and activities you enjoy, breathing skills, regular exercise, etc. are ways to implement self-care into your daily routine. Time management skills can also be helpful in practicing self-care, prioritizing, and organizing your daily routine to make time and space for self-care and mindfulness.
- Social Support: Connecting with others and sharing your thoughts and feelings can help you cope with stress and the symptoms associated with stress. Spending time with supportive friends and family, joining a support group, and seeking professional help from a therapist or a counselor can help you provide perspective and gain insights into your stressors.
- Seek Professional Help: If stress becomes overwhelming and starts to affect your daily functioning or relationships, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. Mental health providers and counselors can help provide you with skills, tools, and strategies to better manage stress and develop healthy coping skills.
What are Methods for Relieving Stress?
We all deserve to live a stress-free life but need to take steps in approaching and tackling the root causes of stress. Beginning the conversation about the importance of creating a well-balanced life by prioritizing mental and physical health can be the first step toward a positive change.
Various evidence-based therapies can be effective in managing stress such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Therapy, Relaxation Techniques, Acceptance, Commitment Therapy, and Solution Focused Therapy. It is important to note that the most effective therapy for stress may vary for each person, and a combination of different therapies or interventions may be necessary to reach an individual’s goals and management of stress.
Written By: Janel Wenger, AMFT
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.