Chronic stress is a rising problem for busy women as we chase careers, battle the wage gap, balance friendships and raise families. It makes sense that we’re all experiencing feeling tense, overloaded, wound up, anxious, and well, just plain stressed out. It’s the behavioral, physiological, emotional, and psychological response that we have to extreme pressures, demands, and events.
Stress triggers the release of cortisol and that hormone sends you into a flurry of fight or flight responses. While that may have been helpful when we were running from wild animals as we hunted for food it isn’t quite as necessary now. Yet, our bodies still react to what is perceived as danger in the same way it always has.
This is fine when it’s an occasional response, but when it’s chronic and it’s the typical response in every situation on a daily basis there will be problems. Especially because we are rarely faced with an event that requires us to literally fight or run. That’s why it is imperative that you know a few guaranteed antidotes for chronic stress!
Start being more conscious about what you take on, whether it’s at work or in your personal life. When you control the chaos stress has no place, so take time to work on a schedule that uses your time more wisely. That schedule should also include self-care activities like exercise, diet, and sleep. Remember, saying no to things is totally okay, especially if you’ve looked at your schedule and there’s no way it fits in with what’s happening. You can release a little control and ask for help, too, whether it be a friend, member of the family or your partner. You’re not in this fight alone.
Learn how to predict when your stress will appear and where it is likely to come from. You should know the typical risk factors of your career and the occupational stresses people in your industry tend to face. It’s far easier to manage your stress levels when you know what you’re up against. Be aware of your habits and vulnerabilities, too, as this can help you identify triggers of your stress.
You may notice that the parts of your job, which create the most stress, are the things that you don’t feel as confident in handling. Get more training in those areas to build your confidence and reduce your stress. If you know you’re always stressed on a Tuesday, find out why!
Your social networks are so important to your mental health, so ensure you build strong relationships and keep in touch. Spend time with people who build you up and bring out the best in you. If there are people in your life who leave you feeling drained, then don’t hang out with them. That type of attitude and behavior rubs off and it’s a drain on time, energy, and happiness.
Everyone needs outlets, whether they be creative, physical, or whatever. Make time to indulge in your favorite activities and hobbies that leave you feeling happy and relaxed. Don’t wait until your stress levels have reached critical mass before taking a time out. Making time for your hobbies should be a regular thing because it fuels your passion and joy, and that is important to your overall happiness and your stress levels.
There is always something to look forward to, whether it’s a milestone of progress, the completion of a project, or getting home to your loved one. This is an excellent antidote for chronic stress because it forces you to refocus your attention on the positives, rather than the demands, you feel bearing down on you.