Experiencing a certain degree of stress once in a while is very normal. But sometimes, stress may become chronic or so significant that it starts to affect both physical and mental health.
Today, living in Nigeria may cause undue stress. With the recent happenings of fuel and cash scarcity, Nigerians are exposed to a lot of stressors. Many have reached their limit, so much so that they resort to uncanny acts like stripping themselves in public, vandalizing public property and showing unprovoked aggression towards others.
One of the best ways to approach stressors is by eliminating them. Sometimes, however, the stressor may be beyond your control. For example, making petrol available at a reasonable price is beyond the control of the average Nigerian.
What then do you do when it is impossible to directly eliminate the stressor? You simply manage the stress to preserve your physical and mental health.
Tips for managing stress
Take care of your body
In times of stress, it is important to consciously adjust your daily routine to incorporate self-care practices. Put in the effort to eat a properly balanced diet and get enough sleep. Check out these tips for better sleep.
Exercise is also important in stress management. Not only will you reap the benefit of keeping fit, but you will also be relieved of stressful emotions. Exercise has been found to trigger the release of endorphins (the feel-good chemicals) from the brain. Therefore, each session of exercise will release chemicals that can counter the feelings of stress.
It may seem unreasonable to think about indulging in fun activities when there is ‘fire on the mountain’, but it is not. Engaging in enjoyable activities will help to release a good quantity of endorphins into the body. When it comes to handling stress, endorphins are your friends!
Connect to spirituality
Not everyone believes in a higher power, true. But do you know that a various studies have suggested a link between spirituality and good health?
During times of stress, staying in touch with your spirituality will help you cope better. The comfort from prayer and meditation can help you. For people who are not spiritual, practising yoga, meditation or deep breathing could help.
As they say, ‘a problem shared is a problem half solved’. Try not to isolate yourself when stressed. Instead, enjoy the company of family and friends.
Limit your news consumption
When your stressor is external and related to happenings around your community, state or country, it may be best to restrict how much news you consume. Constantly hearing or reading about your stressor will only trigger more stress. Stay informed, but exercise moderation.
Effects of unmanaged stress
Stress is more than a feeling, it can have a real and tangible impact on a person. Here are some of its health effects:
- Constant headaches
- Poor sleep
- Digestive problems
- Skin issues and hair loss. High levels of stress can cause breakouts on the skin, and cause your hair to weaken and fall out.
- Obesity, caused by a high level of circulating stress-hormone (cortisol).
- Stress can cause generalized inflammation that could affect the endothelial (inner) lining of blood vessels and favour the formation of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of having a heart attack.
- Mental health disturbances. Unmanaged stress could precipitate anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and other mental health challenges.
Talking about mental health, we have an online event coming up on Saturday, February 11, 2023, where we will have an educative in-depth discussion on depression. Register for the event in 30 seconds here!
A word from Healthfacts
Stress happens sometimes, but you can handle it! We hope you try out some of these tips. Share this post to help someone out there.
Till next time, take care.