Keeping it Together in High Stress Times

How do you keep it together when everything is falling apart? In times of high stress, whether good or bad, follow simple routines to preserve your health  

Credit: Flickr/Vivianna_love

Tension and stress getting to you? Simple habits can help

You’re moving across the province. You’re getting a divorce. You’re laid off. You’re selling your house. You’re changing careers… or you’re doing it all. Cue the scream

In times of high stress and major anxiety, when change is a constant and one day brings no clue to what the next will bring, how do you protect yourself from the effects of continued stress?

Routines to Bust Stress

  • Keep to the routines you can. Yes, everything is changing, but that means your evening bath or morning coffee in bed is more important than ever. Small rituals that spell home – fresh flowers, a filled fruit bowl – can bring surprising comfort in turbulent times.
  • Watch your diet. In high-stress times we reach for comfort food: high in starch and fat. Add to that the lack of time and the disruption inherent in transitional points in our lives, and the idea of slowing down to make a meal at home can seem laughable. Try anyhow. A homemade lentil soup can be thrown together with canned ingredients in a matter of minutes, and sitting down to a bowl assures you that at least your basic needs are being met.
  • Spend time with friends. Inviting pals to a casual meal can feel like writing a thank-you note in the midst of a hurricane: irrelevant and distracting. But seeing your friends can assure you some things remain the same, as well as securing much-needed support and giving you a chance to vent.
  • Try to sleep. Chaotic times breed insomnia, in which case doctors’ advice – keep the bedroom for sleep and sex, go to bed at the same time every night, wind down before bed, and get up if you can’t sleep – still hold.
  • Get moving. You’ve heard it before, but an hour of exercise a day can do a lot to protect you from the health effects of unavoidable stress.
  • Figure out priorities. If a messy house drives you crazy, but a pile of laundry barely registers, take your cue. Do what’s critical for your mental health – and leave the rest for later.
  • Treat yourself like an invalid. When people go into shock, they’re wrapped in blankets and fed hot, sweet drinks. If there’s any time to baby yourself, now is it.