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7 tips to reducing and managing stress

Editor’s Note: The following sponsored content is provided by PRISMA Health-Upstate.

In today’s hectic world, you may be more stressed than you realize. The telltale signs of stress are all too familiar for many and often go unnoticed. If not treated properly, stress can often wreak havoc on our health.

The health effects of stress are far reaching and are likely disguised in common symptoms such as headaches, muscle tensions, fatigue, sleep deprivation, anxiety, sadness, depression and so many more. If not appropriately controlled, stress can often lead to much greater health risks associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Maintaining a healthy well being, work-life balance and understanding of what makes us stressed can help us cope. In recognition of National Stress Awareness Day, health experts from Prisma Health outline seven tips to reducing and managing stress to achieve greater health outcomes and overall well being in our lives.

1. Set boundaries with your time and your responsibilities. It is very common to overcommit to work and personal engagements – try to avoid this. Practice being assertive and simply saying ‘no’ when needed. Build in “me time” to your daily schedule that allows you time to recharge and re-energize.

2. Practice relaxation strategies. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and tai chi are all great exercises to help with mental health and wellness. Similarly, allow adequate time for the hobbies you enjoy and that invoke positive emotions. It is critical to understand and embrace when you are stressed and take the necessary steps to express your emotions rather than bottle them up.

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3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Allow plenty of time for adequate sleep, a healthy diet, exercise and drinking plenty of water. Schedule time with your primary care provider for regular check-ups and health screenings.

4. Connect with people. Spending time with family and friends can be so impactful. Be sure to keep family bonds strong and maintain a healthy social life. Develop a small network of trusted friends that enjoy hobbies and activities that you also enjoy.

5. Identify your triggers for stress. Try to understand what behaviors or symptoms indicate that you are stressed. What causes your stress? Which of these can you reduce, avoid or control?

6. Adjust your thinking. Be aware of your inner critic and tame him/her. Let go of old hurts and look to the positives that may bring about a learning opportunity. Remember to laugh each day and keep a healthy sense of humor.

7. Practice appreciation. Identify three things each day for which you are grateful, or create a ‘what’s going right in my life’ list. Practice forgiveness and express thanks to others. Spending some time consciously focusing on what is going right can go a long way in creating a positive attitude.

By incorporating overall wellness into our lives, we can achieve decreased stress levels. When we are well-rested and well-fueled, have a sense what gives our lives meaning, and participate in activities outside of work that are fulfilling, we feel better about our lives and our careers.

About the Authors

Emily Hirsh, MD, is an emergency medicine physician and Sharon Wilson, MA, FACHE, CEAP is the Director of Conscious Leadership Development at Prisma Health–Upstate. The pair co-leads the Team Member Well-being committee of Prisma Health–Upstate that focuses on health and well being of all team members within the organization.

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