Guest Posts, Uncategorized

Effects of Stress and Possible Relaxation Strategies

Hey Everyone,

Today’s post is written by an amazing mental health advocate, Nadine. She strives to educate and and share her knowledge about mental health. She is also a mental health blogger, just like me and has been writing about the same since a long time. You won’t believe it, she is just 18 years old and is an economics student, still she recognizes and appreciates the importance of mental health. She believes in “Finding company and acceptance” where no one is alone.

Today mental health has for sure gained a lot of light in our society and people recognize that this issue does need continuous support, still some people refuse to agree that they might be suffering from the same. Nadine, strives to break this stigma.

She has an amazing website where she shares her knowledge and would love if you can have a look at the amazing work she does, here. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

So, without any further ado, let’s see what she has to say about stress and how it affects us in our daily lives.

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Today’s post will be about something I have written about several times before and most of us have to deal with everyday. STRESS, Not only has a huge effect on our mental health, it can also worsen our physical wellbeing to a great extent. Growing up in a world where nobody seems to take the time to enjoy the small and calm moments that offer themselves, it is of often even bigger relevance. In this post, I will first list a few effects that stress can have, before presenting a few possible solutions.

Effects on your MIND

When unchecked and ignored, stress takes the first hold of our mind. There, it can cause restlessness and a lack of motivation and focus. Do you know the feeling that raises shortly before a deadline when you still haven’t finished whatever you were supposed to do? The panic that slowly spreads through your mind until the point where you are unable to do anything? Yup, that is caused by the stress. Having an increased and ongoing amount of stress can also lead to feelings of anger and irritability or sadness. I am sure that you have heard of the term, burnout. This just means, a person has had so much stress that they end up in depression and lose every will to keep going.

Effects of your BODY

A lot of physical pain that is treated nowadays is caused by psychological problems. It is very similar with stress, as it can cause headaches and fatigue. We then tend to treat these symptoms instead of underlying the cause. Sometimes, we do this unknowingly, at other times, we just want to “push through” and get to the next holiday, so we don’t take the time to actually think about the problem or try to solve it in the long run. Apart from headaches, stress can often also lead to problems with sleeping/insomnia, muscle tension (especially in the neck) and it weakens our immune system, meaning that we will get ill more often and will be more severe. I think we can all agree that these are issues we should take seriously, So, here are a few considerations you could engage in to feel better in times of stress.

Reducing the Stress

Who has not thought at least once in a while: How great would it be, if I could just take a break? What if I just stopped working right here, right now? These thoughts indicate that you haven’t had enough breaks during the week and only think of the bigger holidays are important, they are often the only time where you can get out of your job and travel, but the small breaks you take everyday or week are much more important when it comes to longer periods of stress. Small breaks everyday where you can just do what you enjoy can help taking away the tension.

Another idea would be taking a hot bath or a shower. This is something you could do during your small breaks. It gives you the possibility to enjoy the moment and forget about the stress for a moment. It will also get you in touch with your body again, so you will realize whether your neck is tensed up or whether you have a headache you should take care of.

Engaging in hobbies such as sports can also be very helpful in order to get away from your job and create some distance. Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your body in general, so why not use it to help with the stress as well? Especially when you are doing it outside, it can have a great effect on your mental and physical wellbeing.

Furthermore, I can recommend a method that maybe not everyone has heard of yet. It is called, progressive muscle relaxation. It works like the following:

  • You tense the different muscle groups in your body as strongly as you can and then relax them again. For example, you could start with your neck or face. You tense up every muscle you have in this area and after a few seconds, you let go. If you do that with every muscle in the body, you will feel a lot more relaxed afterwards.

Something very similar to the progressive muscle relaxation would be yoga. When doing yoga, you also use your body to regain focus. It can also help you let go of the stress and you even get some kind of exercise.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is actually a relaxation method to reduce stress, it works wonders!

You might have realized that all these methods take up a little bit of time, but I think everyone can take an hour a day to take care of themselves and their own well-being. And for those who say they could get work done in this hour: If you have a lot of stress, it is very likely that you would not be able to focus properly anyways, so it would be better to do something relaxing for a short while and then pick up the work again, because then you will actually be more efficient in getting your things done.

These are only a few ways of reducing stress and not all of them will work the same for everyone, so in case these do not work for you, you can always find a lot more on the internet. As I am not a medical professional, you should not rely on this when you suffer from severe stress. It would be best to talk to an expert then and listen to what they recommend to you.

However, I hope this was of any help for you. Gayatri and I would be happy about feedback of what works for you and which other methods have helped you cope with stress in the past.

Take care of yourself and goodbye,

Nadine