How to deal with stress effectively
We are fast approaching the busiest time of the year. Only 77 days till Christmas! The supermarkets are stocked up with advent calendars, mince pies and mulled wine. A friend told me recently that she has already started her Christmas shopping. But if we’re honest, life feels pretty busy and hectic all year round. So, how do we deal with stress effectively? How can we feel settled and at peace within ourselves, whether we’re approaching the busiest season of the year, or not?
We need to learn to look after ourselves. We need to practise self-care.
For many, the term self-care carries connotations of self-centredness and selfishness. However, self-care has nothing to do with neglecting, or ignoring the needs of others, or in fact elevating oneself above others. Instead, self-care is about becoming aware of what we need in order to function well. And when we are functioning well, we’re in a better position to care for others.
So, how do we become aware of what we need in order to function well?
1) We need to recognise that we have a physical self, an emotional self, and a spiritual self.
2) We need to recognise that all of our different selves need attention and care.
3) We need to identify ‘activities’ that help us nurture each of our different selves.
Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to help us identify self-care activities:
1) What are things that help my physical well-being?
E.g. diet, exercise, sleep or fresh air.
2) What are the things that help my emotional well-being? What helps me when I’m frustrated, or disappointed, or sad, or angry?
E.g. socialising or talking a friend.
3) What are the things that help my spiritual well-being?
E.g. praying or meditation.
The answers to these questions will be different for each person. What one person needs in order to function well will be different to what someone else will need. However, what we all have in common is this:
- All of us need to pay attention to our ‘different selves’ and care for them, if we don’t want to crumble under the stresses and pressures that life throws at us.
- All of us need help with this. Self-care is often the first thing that gets dropped when life is hectic. That’s why we need regular reminders to pay attention to our physical, emotional and physical self.
Paying more attention to our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves takes practice, patience, and perseverance. But from personal experience, I can say that it’s worth the effort and it will lead to a more positive sense of well-being.
If you are still struggling to deal with stress, you may wish to seek the support of a counsellor.
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