Feeling tense? Overwhelmed? Anxious?
Irritated? Frustrated? Angry?
Constantly tired? Having difficulty sleeping?
Having stomach distress? Headaches?
You may be experiencing emotional, psychological, and physical signs of stress.
Stress is not something to simply brush off, even if being overworked and chronically stressed out has become normalized. Stress can lead to the uncomfortable and problematic issues listed above. Chronic stress can also lead to chronic conditions, such as heart disease and hypertension. For those with mental illnesses, stress is a significant trigger. Specifically, for bipolar disorder, extreme stress can lead to recurring mood episodes, maybe even resulting in hospitalization.
Once you recognize that you are dealing with stress, you can take steps to battle it! Such steps include naming your stress reducers, identifying your stressors, and incorporating stress reduction activities into your routine. Don’t know where to start? I gathered together a list of 20 ways to de-stress. Feel free to try any of these out or use it to help create your own list!
20 Ways to De-Stress:
- Create a place that is peaceful and relaxing. Characteristics like calming colors and decor (e.g., pictures, candles, plants) can really make the space great!
- Set time for yourself.
- Set boundaries and stick to them.
- Try to incorporate exercise into your routine. Popular exercises for stress relief include yoga and walking.
- Take a step outside for some fresh air.
- Go to sleep! A good night’s sleep can make all the difference.
- Make an effort to eat healthier, such as including fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.
- Take time to connect with others! Isolation can worsen one’s mental health. A support system (friends, family, SO, colleagues) can really make a difference.
- Get artsy! Some people have found various forms of art (sculpting, painting, drawing) very relaxing.
- Personal favorite: read! I mean to read something “for fun” if you get the chance. Some people listen to audiobooks to/from work/school and really enjoy it.
- Meditate. There are free resources (e.g., mental health apps) to help if you are not familiar with meditation.
- Dance it out! Sometimes, it’s fun to just shake off the tension and stress! Blast some music and have fun!
- This one is delicious: baking! Baking or cooking can be very enjoyable. Plus, you get a yummy final product!
- Unplug. As hard as it sounds, spend some time away from your phone, computer, tablet, tv, etc. Avoid email, social media, and TV for some time each day, even if it is only for a short period.
- Listen to music. You can easily create or find a Spotify playlist to play for when you are feeling anxious or stressed. Music is so powerful.
- You can definitely do the cliche self-care activities, such as bubbles baths.
- Hobbies can be really great. Not every second of the day needs to be dominated by work. Take time to do something for the pure joy it gives you!
- Laughter is the best medicine. Play your favorite comedy, stand-up, or YouTube videos.
- Spend some time with animals! Pets can be great stress relievers!
- Get away from it all. This doesn’t necessarily mean go on some fancy vacation. It could be a little weekend trip or a staycation. You deserve a little break!
What are some ways you battle stress? Let me know in the comments!
For more on stress and bipolar disorder, check out the “Chapter 5: Minimize Stress” section of Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More by Ruth White PhD & John Preston PsyD.