For some people, day-to-day living now seems more stressful, especially following a time of pandemic that heightened fears of illness and economic worries.
There are successful coping strategies you can use to avoid becoming overstressed and the negative effects it places on the body and mind. The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Dayna Watson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Counseling Program, compiled a list of five tips to help manage stress levels.
Move your body
Whether it is stretching, a brief walk between classes or meetings, or an intensive regular exercise routine, Watson said, moving your body can go a long way to helping manage stress.
In addition to relieving stress, stretching provides benefits such as alleviating muscle pain and maintaining range of motion. Learn the benefits and the dos and don’ts of stretching from the UAB School of Education’s Cody Morris, Ph.D., here.
Practice healthy sleep habits
It can be tempting to stay up later, especially when there is a long to-do list; but Watson said practicing good sleep hygiene can be a great tool to manage stress.
“Go to bed at the same time every day, preferably before midnight,” she said. “Avoid caffeine in the evening and turn off your electronics well before bedtime to improve your sleep quality.”
Click here to learn seven signs of poor sleep.
There are several ways to maintain organization, including apps that track tasks or a good paper planner system. Watson said using such tools can help get responsibilities organized to form a more realistic plan of attack.
Spring is a great time to clean out closets and get reorganized. Learn how to recycle and be sustainable during spring cleaning here.
Learn to say no, when possible
When it comes to work or school, there may not be an option to say no to completing an assignment; but consider saying no to other opportunities when feeling strapped for time and energy. While a new club or organization is a great cause, it may not be the best time to take on more responsibilities.
Prioritize time for fun and seeing friends or family
Having downtime to relax, do an enjoyable activity and connect with a friend or loved one will help recharge batteries and reduce stress.
“In the long run, more will get accomplished if fun is had along the way,” Watson said.
The UAB Community Counseling Clinic offers affordable counseling services to the residents of Jefferson County. To schedule an appointment, call 205-996-2414.
This story originally appeared on the UAB News website.