All publications of Peter Ngugi . Nairobi , Kenya
How to deal with stress
From time to time, we find ourselves stressed. It is only natural, especially in this period as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our lives dramatically. In a time like these, it is easy to feel lost and more depressed than usual. After losing a loved one or a job, you will constantly get worked up. However, no matter how grim the situation may seem, it is important to note that we can rise above stress. Here are some tips to help you keep stress at bay.
First and foremost, identify the cause of your stress.You can’t deal with a stress whose source you don’t know. When did you last smile? What waned that smile? It’s however not as easy as it sounds. You might easily tell your major stressors like heartbreaks, getting laid off, fast approaching deadlines, overdue loans etc. but pinpointing at the particular causers can be a tough task. Sometimes, our own thoughts, attitudes and feelings contribute to our stress levels. If you can’t find the reason to your sadness, look at your judgement; of your own-self, other people and different situations. Stress emanates from the mind.
Do something about it. After identifying your stressor, face it. Is it a stressful relationship or a hectic job? Quit it no matter the consequences. Your peace of mind should not be compromised at any costs. Breakups of course bring uncomfortable emotions but you can combat them by establishing clear boundaries between you and your ex. If people who you meet every day contribute to your stress levels then immediately cut off the contact. If you just got laid then better start finding another job or other sources of money.
Do not isolate yourself. Loneliness leads to over thinking. The result will be opening old wounds and adding salt to existing ones. Your stress levels will only go higher. Look out for people. Hangout with your favourite person. Call them if they are distant. That ten-minute call will notably relieve you. Opening up to a friend will incredibly heal you. If you can’t, then talk to yourself quietly. It might seem crazy but the talking will ease your stress. Whatever you do, talk.
Keep yourself engaged. Getting busy is another effective drill against stress. Find something to do. Plant some kales in the farm or start working at a grocery store. If you are a writer, embark on completing that novel. Immerse yourself into a productive activity and you will be surprised at how repulsive you will be to stress.
Exercise. A dormant body is an ideal habitat to stress. Laying around on the couch all day will not only kill you physically but also mentally. Withdraw from the comfort zone. Strive to keeping your body active. Hit the gym, go for morning runs, practise some jogging, push-ups or even yoga. Subjecting your body to physical stress relieves mental stress. Physical exercise makes your body produce more feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. This generally improves your mood.
Indulge in hobbies. Allow yourself to be distracted. What are your interests? Watching? Gaming? Listening to music? Spoil yourself with those big headphones. Binge-watch your favourite show. Hobbies are strong time killers and will greatly detract your mind. Escape reality for a while and stress will keep far.
Diet right. A proper diet will greatly lower your stress levels. When overwhelmed, we resolve to going for fast foods and sugary snacks. Fatty foods are not good for your stress. Treat yourself to nutritious meals. Try fruits and vegetables which have proved to cut down anxiety.
Take a nap. If your stress can’t sink, then relax for a while. Sleep is a mighty stress combater. Sleeping restores your body and refreshes your thoughts. You will wake up in an improved mood and a clean mind.
Avoid alcohol. It’s easy to turn to drinking when stressed. Truth is, alcohol will mess you even further. Okay, you might get high and feel relieved for a while but what will follow is chaotic. What do you think it feels like to battle a hangover and stress at a single time?