Tips from Rob Cole, LMHC, Clinical Director of Mental Health Services
Everyone struggles with feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed out and mentally fatigued from time to time. Life gets hectic, work gets crazy, and we begin to feel frazzled.
Sometimes the little things pile up and suddenly we feel frustrated. While this part of life is unavoidable, and the feelings are completely normal, there are ways to keep your stress level in check, so you can make sure it doesn’t consume you. Having a daily routine helps to keep our lives in balance and when we are in balance, our stress is reduced and our mood improves.
Implementing these tips into your daily routine can help you manage stress levels and maintain a positive mindset:
- Establish a sleep routine (there’s more to it than you think!)
Most adults need an average of 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night. Listen to your body to establish how much you need. It’s best to get into a rhythm by getting up and going to bed at the same time every day – no matter if it’s during the week or on the weekend. Your body will adjust and develop its own internal alarm clock, naturally. If you are feeling tired and need more sleep, go to bed early rather than sleep in late. This schedule is more in sync with the body’s natural biorhythms. If you have trouble sleeping, practice these healthy sleep habits: sleep in a dark room (cover the lights from the phone, television, radio, etc.), minimize the noise from outside or use a white noise machine (there are even apps that do this), use your bed for sleeping only (no more homework or TV watching in bed) so that your body naturally associates the bed with sleeping, don’t eat, consume caffeine or other stimulants prior to bedtime. And remember, the optimal temperature for sleeping is 68 degrees.
- Start the Day with Gratitude
As you are stretching and getting out of bed in the morning identify 5 things you are grateful for. This exercise will prime your brain for positivity. Taking a few minutes to meditate and set a daily intention is also a good practice.
- Enjoy a Proper Diet
A healthy body is a body that is better able to combat stress. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables with the proper combination of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods with a lot of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Limit your intake of sugar, caffeine and alcohol (if you’re in recovery abstain from alcohol altogether!). Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily! A dehydrated body is a low energy body. If you are unsure about what your body needs, consult your family doctor or a Registered Dietician for guidance.
- Develop Effective Time Management & Communication Skills
Prioritize your daily tasks and avoid over committing yourself. Learn when to say NO in a polite but assertive manner. Develop the skills needed to clearly communicate your needs and ask for help! Delegate tasks to others when appropriate.
- End The Day Writing in a Positivity Journal
Write out 5 positive things that happened during the day and rejoice in your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem!
- Implement Organizational Skills
Keeping your physical surroundings organized will reduce stress and improve mental acuity. Take time to periodically clean out and organize the clutter in your office, home, closets and cars.
And my FAVORITE Mental Health & Well-being Tip: Pets!!!
Pet ownership has beneficial effects on our health and well-being. Research has found that spending time with our pets increases the level of oxytocin. This hormone is often referred to as “The Love Hormone” and it lowers heart rate and blood pressure, quiets fears in the mind and suppresses the production of stress hormones. So, looking into your dog’s soulful eyes or listening to your cats soothing purrs really does create a calm and positive mood.
Remember, stress is a part of life and we will all experience it at one time. Knowing how to effectively manage stress levels is essential to living a happy and healthy life.
If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health diagnosis call Banyan Treatment Center today at 888-280-4763 for a free and confidential assessment. Learn more about our mental health treatment programs.