Just like journaling your physical activity, expenses, or the foods you eat – journaling your stressors and how you react is also a good idea. Research has shown that writing about what stresses us improves our mood and even boosts the immune system. When you journal or write down your stressors, no one will disagree or criticize you, which can be a good way to get swirling thoughts out of your mind. Talking with others and reaching out to professional help is important, but may not be easily available to all of us.
Try in the next few weeks to journal your stress for a 5 to 7 day period. Track what causes you stress and what you do. When you find out about a big project that is due, do you head to the vending machines or do you stop eating all together? Do you take a walk to clear your head? Or do you skip your Zumba class? Once you know your current reactions, you may be able to choose some new coping techniques to get through the next crisis.
Other techniques to help you handle your stress:
- Laugh – a good belly laugh can help. Try comics, funny YouTube videos, comedy movies or TV shows.
- Be Physically Active – all forms of exercise will ease depression and anxiety.
- Establish Boundaries in Your Life – choose not to check work email at home or after a certain time, don’t answer the phone during family time or meals, or promise to only look at Facebook once a day.
- Use Your Vacation or Personal Days – don’t let the company keep them. Use that time to recharge.
- Find Your Relaxation Zone – Take time for at least one thing you really enjoy like music, reading, crafting, golf, fishing, playing cards, or gardening.
- Avoid the Bad Habits – Avoid excessive snacking, caffeine, too much or too little sleep, smoking, and anger. They will only make things worse in the long run.
Try journaling your stressful situations and reactions, or just writing when things are really bothering you, then let us know what you think. Did it help?
Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.
Reviewers: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County and Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fayette County.