Feeling unable to function due to stress in the Spring and Summer time is a baffling phenomenon. According to meQuilibrium, a stress management coaching service, “employees commonly reported an increase in stress during the season shift.” It is fascinatingly awkward to think about it. This is the time when the trees are greener, weather is warmer, entertainment options abound, and adventurous getaway await.
Shira Isenberg, a registered dietitian and writer with a private nutrition practice in Nashville best explains why you might be experiencing this stress. “More family time may mean more potential for getting on each other’s nerves. And if you’re away, you may miss the typical comforts of home or other essentials you forgot to pack. Plus, you may get less sleep in the summer, feel uncomfortable from the heat and have less downtime for yourself.”
All these stressors exert a heavy burden on your mind and body. Stress is not easy to shake off.
Where Does Stress Come From
Cortisol, commonly called the “stress hormone”, is a steroid hormone that is released during stress. It is best known for being the driving factor in your body’s “fight-or-flight” instinct. It also works with other parts of the body to control your mood and motivation. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands, which are small organs at the top or the kidneys. The stress hormone is supposed to help you to handle a dangerous or otherwise stressful situation. Your body is not supposed to constantly be in this state, this is how chronic stress develops.
The Effects of Stress
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity.” Stress can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. Managing stress well is vital to good health. Good stress coping skills can prevent a lot of psychological and physical issues. The APA warns that “chronic stress may increase blood pressure and the risk of a heart attack or stroke.”
Build a Positive Response to Stress
Training your mind to respond positively to stress is key. When you feel anxiety or stress setting in, take a step back and breath. It is important to know that your body is only reminding you of the situation at hand or the upcoming events. Remember to put your mind at ease by talking it out with a close friend or family member. It is important to know your stressors and lighten the mental burden by off-loading them.
Dealing with Stress
Here are six healthy ways to reduce stress:
Set Time Aside for Yourself. Having time dedicate strictly to yourself is great. It will allow you to reflect on your needs and regroup. It’s like hitting the reset button.
Delegate. You don’t need to take care of it all on your own. Allow others to their weight. Delegating gives a sense of responsibility and importance to the people around you. They will feel appreciated that you trust them to be able to handle certain chores and tasks.
Set Reachable Goals. Your goals should be attainable. There is nothing wrong with being an overachiever, but even the most successful people set attainable goals. It may be helpful to set smaller milestones to go along with your goals. These milestones can work as markers to see how close to your target you stand.
Set Realistic Expectations. This may sound like the previous point but deals more with setting mental expectations based of external factors. Do not expect people to behave or treat you a certain way simply because you feel that you would do the same for them. Remember that no one can read your mind. And… even if you have previously expressed your expectations, people have their own minds that work different and things do always have to go your way.
Don’t Compare Yourself. Each of us has their own mind and own set of circumstances. The grass is greener were you water it. You already have yourself to deal with, don’t factor in your neighbors, co-workers, friends, extended family or any other person in to the equation.
Cut down your to-do list. You will appreciate this last point. Your family and friends will appreciate this as well. Just like setting time aside for yourself, reducing your to-do list will ease the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Now that you have found a healthier you, go out and conquer season!