Time to Relax — Stress Is Everywhere
With the presidential election just around the corner, stress levels among partisans are peaking. I’m truly concerned how some people will cope with the results. A longtime friend thought he was having a heart attack just before the 2004 election. He got himself admitted for a cardiac workup. His heart was fine. Knowing him as I do, I believe he just failed to process his stress over the possible fate of the candidate he ardently supported.
We all experience stress. From your job to your family, health, finances and life in general, potential stressors are always lurking. It can lead to aches, nausea, chest pain and illnesses. Poor judgment, moodiness, depression, eating dysfunction, sleep irregularities and alcohol/drug abuse can add to the stress spiral.
How you respond to stress makes all the difference. Physical activity is key. Most experts recommend at least 20 minutes of aerobic activity three times per week. Brisk walking can fit the bill. You also should eat healthful foods. Stress-busting foods include mixed nuts, asparagus, spinach, whole wheat pasta and even a glass of milk before bed.
Social support from friends helps reinforce the feeling you’re not in it alone and increases self-worth. Laughing with those friends is good medicine to ward off stress.
My after-work routine is part of my stress defense. Whenever possible, I make a point of spending time alone reading a magazine or web articles on my smartphone. Knowing that relaxing experience is waiting at the end of the day helps me stay centered.
Take time to listen to your own stress — and then find more time to make sure it doesn’t take over you. What’s your favorite way to beat stress and relax?