The Arthritis NewsletterFall 2016
Tips and Tricks for Managing Stress
Potentially stressful situations will always arise, but only we can chose how we deal with them. Our reactions and strategies for managing stress are often habits that arise from what we learned growing up and they may or may not be the most effective to help us deal with it. Here are some tips from APAB members for managing stress.
- I have a free meditation app “Stop, Breathe, & Think” that leads me through short guided meditations to calm down my system.
- Meditating for 10 minutes a day or during stressful periods can help you to relax and focus.
- Mindfulness and breathing exercises can be practiced anytime, even when you are working or walking down the street.
- Making sure I have enough quiet time or downtime is a must – I’m an introvert so I need this to recharge.
- I need to get out in nature regularly. Spending too much time sitting or working can be counterproductive.
- Personal favourites: Chocolate, spending time by the ocean or a river, soak in a bath with lavender and candles.
- EXERCISE Especially mind-body exercise like Pilates helps me as it acts like an active meditation.
- Any type of physical exercise always helps, from a brisk walk to a gentle, restorative yoga session.
Get creative or engage in a healthy distraction
- Reframe the problem or stress as a challenge that I will work through. Challenges are much more fun than stress!
- Do an activity that you can practice and improve, like playing guitar. I find giving myself something to work towards very therapeutic.
- I like to bake cookies or cakes to decorate if I feel up to it. The decorating is soothing in a way.
- Read a book or watch a movie to mentally escape.
Make a list and do what is manageable
- List the tasks I need to accomplish that are weighing me down, prioritize them in the order I want to accomplish them and then write out how I will do it so I will not get overwhelmed later on.
- Contextualize the problem. How important is this really? What’s the worst possible outcome? What’s the most I would gain from a favourable resolution?
- Prioritize what I need to do day by day to get through busy/stressful times – sometimes having a paper calendar with deadlines on it helps so I can visually see and keep track of what needs to be done by when.
- Pace your activities and try not to overdo chores, etc. if you do, don’t mentally beat yourself up about it (this is an ongoing struggle).
- Write down all the things that are currently causing stress and then tear it up or burn it.
Phone a friend
- Talking with a trusted friend, or my partner as they often have a lighter perspective and remind me that I take everything too seriously.
- Have lunch or dinner with a friend.
The magic of animals
- Pet and cuddle with my dog or visit my horse and groom her. It’s been shown that just petting dogs can lower your blood pressure.
Keep things in perspective
- Remind myself that I’ve survived everything else up until this point, so chances are that I’ll survive this too.