Identifying and Managing Stress

emotional health wellness Dec 12, 2019

Stress is a natural occurrence. It’s impossible to eliminate, but an overabundance can reek havoc on your physical and emotional health. Developing a natural way to relieve stress and manage it, as much as possible, is key to reaching and maintaining overall wellness.


Determine what causes you stress. Is it work, family gatherings and obligations, shopping for the “right” gift, travel, work, or etc? Spend some time analyzing the things that make you feel anxious. Consider writing them down and reflecting on them.


What self sabotaging activities do you engage in when you’re feeling stressed out? Do you engage in any of the following, or some other activity: eating, drinking, yelling, binge watching the Hallmark channel, shopping, or sleeping? Bring awareness to how you react to stress and how it affects you. 


There are a variety of actions you can take to handle unwanted stress. Below are a few suggestions but ultimately you need to decide what works best for you.

  • Intentional breathing. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds. Expand your abdomen. Hold the air in your lungs for 4 seconds. Exhale through your nose for 4 seconds, expelling all the air. Your abdomen should return to normal. Repeat as necessary. This could be a good practice to do at work or if you are someone who raises their voice when upset. Walk away and take some of these breaths.
  • Manage your emotions. Negative emotions may add stress which can affect your body in a physical way. Be in charge of your emotions. Release those that do not serve you in a positive way. Be aware of situations as they occur and choose how you react to them and how you let them affect you
  • Rest and quiet time. Schedule quiet time, about 15 minutes, into each day. Use that time to relax and reflect. Consider doing one of the following: meditate, write in a gratitude journal, listen to a motivational podcast or youtube video.
  • Relaxing activities. Identify and participate in things you enjoy and consider fun. Plan and schedule them ahead of time. Schedule a massage, manicure, pedicure, or an entire spa day. Go see a movie. Have coffee with a friend. Read.


There are scents that can make you feel calm and relaxed. Diffuse oils, apply topically, or add them to a bath.


Make time in your schedule to exercise, preferably 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes. It will help you feel better both mentally and physically. Find a partner if that will help you establish a routine and stick to it.


Assess all work and personal obligations. Add activities, you must do, and events, you have to attend, to your calendar. Review all other events and invitations you receive. Decide which additional ones you’ll attend. Don’t be afraid to say no. You don’t need to go to every single one. People will understand. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You may end up overextended and sick besides experiencing added stress.

Heighten self awareness and be mindful as you journey through each and every day. Take a proactive and intentional approach to your health during the holidays and always. You will feel better both mentally and physically and experience a greater sense of balance in your life.


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