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Healthy ways to cope with stress

GEHA | September 22, 2022

There are many natural and healthy ways to cope with stress on your own.

Feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious at times is normal and natural during challenging times or periods of transition. Going back to school, starting a new job and upcoming appointments or meetings can take a toll on your mental health. While a small amount is normal, ongoing or large amounts of stress can be hazardous to your health. Some common side effects of stress can include:

  • Feelings of anger, sadness or frustration
  • Changes in appetite or energy
  • Problems concentrating
  • Nightmares or sleep troubles
  • Headaches, body pains and stomach problems
  • Worsening of chronic diseases or existing mental health conditions
  • Increased possibility of substance abuse

Learning healthy ways to cope with stress doesn’t just help you get back to normal, it helps those you interact with as well. Your family, friends and coworkers can feel the negative impacts of your stress as well. When seeking ways to cope with feeling stressed or overwhelmed, some options to consider include:

  • Unplug: Consider taking a break from social media and news. Limit your news intake to once or twice a day and disconnect from your phone and computer
  • Take care of your body: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, proteins, whole grains, and limiting sugars. In addition, a consistent sleep schedule can play a large role in reducing stress levels. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Move: Moving your body and getting endorphins flowing can help to reduce stress. Aim to move 20-30 minutes every day.
  • Make time to unwind: If you’re finding that your stress is making it difficult to fall asleep, take a few minutes before bed to relax and unwind from your day. Avoid blue light or too much movement.
  • Connect with others: Talk with those you trust. Tell them about your stress and talk through possibilities on how they can help you.

If you or a family member are unable to cope with a mental health issue and are in crisis, the new 9-8-8 mental health hotline is available nationwide in the United States to connect you with a mental health provider in your area that can help.

The information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.

Taking care of your mental health”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 April 2022