With a new job, higher demands, and more aggressive timelines, it became increasingly difficult for me to manage the extreme levels of stress I was experiencing. It resulted in a loss of appetite and prolonged feelings of inadequacy. I knew it was time to cultivate focus and discover more effective ways to handle the stress. These were the 3 things I did to help me find my rhythm:
- Go for a walk. This is helpful for those moments when I’m engaged in an activity and can feel my stress level spiking in that moment. I immediately stop whatever it is I’m doing and go for a walk. There’s a coffee shop within walking distance from the office, so I step away from my desk and walk over to grab an iced or hot beverage, as the weather permits.
- Shift my focus. In the moments when I go for a walk, I take my phone with me and listen to an inspirational, faith-based message. Shifting my focus from whatever it is causing me stress to a higher power lets me find meaning in hard times.
- Run/Exercise. Taking a walk and/or listening to an inspirational message helps me in the moment of stress and are done on a more ad-hoc basis. However, running is something I’ve begun weaving into my daily routine. Running and/or exercising has some direct stress-relieving benefits: it helps increase endorphins which are the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters. I typically do this a few hours before bed time and I find that I sleep much better when I do.
I found that doing any number of these activities help me decompress and build my stress resilience. What healthy coping mechanisms have you developed to help you manage extreme stress? Please comment below.