These days, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed once in a while. Between juggling work, family, personal health, and other commitments, plus the uncertainty of the pandemic, it is essential to learn how to cope with stress in a healthy way.
We all deal with stress and uncertainty in different ways. For wellness advocate Erwan Heussaff, his feeling of stress can be described as the “deep, dark, icky pit in your stomach you get when the situation is out of your control. ...It’s that feeling of being a victim and not being able to do anything.” He shares how he manages stress—with hopes that others can learn a trick or two:
Acknowledging these doesn’t make the stress of the situation go away, but rather, it can help you plan accordingly. When you place your focus and energy solely on what you can’t control, stress can just snowball and become worse, to the point of really not knowing how you can handle it anymore. When you know what you can control, you’re able to do something about it to lessen, if not take away, the stress you’re experiencing. Remember: it’s not always easy, but it can be done.
Understand why you’re feeling stressed and anxious. Ask yourself: what is the cause? Once you’ve figured it out, acknowledge what you feel—be angry if you think something is unfair. Don’t suppress what you feel, but don’t act impulsively either. When you’ve let yourself express those emotions, ask yourself why the situation made you feel that way, then start working on how you can improve the problem. Keep the momentum going by doing something to change the situation. Always ask, “what does that first step look like?” and then take it.
When you’re faced with something difficult, it won’t always help to just sit and wait the problem out alone. Look to someone you can trust, bounce your thoughts off of them, hear their opinions out, and that might help you find solutions. Processing your situation with someone not only allows you to understand your situation and yourself a bit better, but it also lets you see things from another perspective. It works the other way around too—distancing yourself from people who bring negative energy can be a seemingly small, yet very effective step in reducing stress. Another option to express your worries is journaling. This method has been proven to encourage clarity of mind. Writing your thoughts enables you to pour out your raw feelings, and understand and process your emotions.
Stress management is not a one-size-fits-all recipe. As everyone’s lifestyles and situations differ, their stress levels and coping strategies do too. “Just like with everything in life, it’s about observing, processing, then understanding, then eventually reacting, and having a plan of action, to hopefully help you out of that stressful situation,” says Erwan.
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