Given how our worlds have been upended in recent years thanks to a global pandemic, it’s safe to say that stress has been front and center for most of us. While a pandemic certainly forced sudden changes, normal life transitions are still ongoing, and you want to have the tools you need to navigate them with the least amount of stress possible.
To help, the team here at Zalwango Health and Wellness wants to focus on stress management techniques during transition periods. Change may be inevitable, but its grip on your mental health doesn’t have to be.
All of us feel stressed from time to time, but ongoing stress can be problematic for your mental and physical health. At its core, stress is a physiological response in your body — the fight-or-flight response — that starts with the release of stress hormones.
These hormones cause physiological changes, such as:
All these processes are designed to equip you with the tools you need to either fight or flee a potentially dangerous situation.
While we may no longer face predators as the early man once did, this system still fires up when we feel stressed. For people with ongoing stress, this constant state of alertness can not only lead to larger problems with generalized anxiety, but it can also take a physical toll.
Transitions come in many different forms, whether you’re physically transitioning to a new home or city or your family life has undergone a change (divorce, death, kids leaving home, etc.).
It’s important, during this time, to pay close attention to your mental and emotional health and take steps to manage the stress as best you can. Some great stress-management techniques include:
When you’re feeling stressed, stop for a moment and take some deep breaths. Count your inhale to four seconds, hold, and then count your exhale to four seconds. Repeat this several times and concentrate only on your breath and the counting.
One of the best ways to offset stress is to get up and move. Go out for a walk or run when you’re feeling stressed because moving muscles can change thoughts.
Navigating a transition doesn’t happen overnight, so we urge you to be patient. Focus on the things you’re doing well during the transition, and understand that it’s one step at a time.
Missteps and mistakes during transitions are part of the learning process, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend or family member during this time — focus on encouragement instead of admonishment.
Whether you get on the phone with a friend to complain about your transition’s challenges, sit down with a therapist, or keep a journal, having an outlet during this time can be very helpful.
If a transition was forced on you and there’s nothing you can do about it, the sooner you accept the transition, the better. We’re not saying that you must like the transition, but fighting it will leave you exhausted and more stressed.
Of course, everyone manages stress differently, but we wanted to touch on a few tips that usually work well. If you’d like some professional help in managing your stress, please contact our office in Skokie, Illinois, to set up a consultation.