No question, divorce is one of the most stressful events we could ever experience in our lifetime.
Stress may be having a greater impact on your life than you think. This resource list connects you with resources to help and support you in dealing with stress.
Potential Signs of Stress
How do you even know if you are stressed? Here is a list of some of the potential signs of stress.
How many signs of stress are you showing? Is it more than you realized?
- Frequent headaches
- Teeth grinding
- Neck ache, backache, muscle spasms
- Frequent colds, infection
- Heartburn stomach pain, nausea
- Constipation, diarrhea
- Excess anxiety, guilt, worry nervousness
- Depression, mood swings
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed
- Feelings of loneliness
- Nervous habits
- Social withdrawal
- Constant tiredness
- Weight gain or loss
- Increased smoking,
- alcohol or drug use
Tools to Relieve Stress
Managing stress has a lot to do with being aware of what we have control over and working to resolve those areas or issues.
Having control over some of these areas can help you feel like you are back in the driver’s seat of your life.
You could use one of these tools and see how it helps, or you could try several things all at once. It is up to you.
Yoga has been used for centuries as a tool to help focus your mind and let go of things that effect your life.
You can do yoga in the morning to start your day off right, do office yoga when your boss upsets you, or do yoga at night to calm you down and help you get to sleep.
"By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems which reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and eases respiration.” Harvard Health Publications
Meditation effects your brain and body to help you to calm down. You can do a simple meditation at any time to help you reduce your stress levels.
“In people who are meditating, brain scans called MRI have shown an increase in activity in areas that control metabolism and heart rate.” WebMd
“Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health.” Mayo Clinic
3. Tai Chi
Gentle exercise like tai chi can help you reduce stress. When you are stressed out you may not want to do some high intensity exercise, but the gentle, flowing, movements of tai chi can help you stretch out and de-stress.
“This gentle form of exercise can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance, and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life.” Harvard Health
4. Physically Challenging Exercise
There’s a reason guys love playing hockey, basketball, etc. – it helps them relieve stress. Changing your focus for a while – is a good thing!
Physically challenging exercise doesn’t have to be team sports either, you could try mountain climbing, hiking, or martial arts. The possibilities are endless, pick anything that you enjoy or sparks your interests.
“Fresh air and muddy boots make everything better.” Unknown (About Hiking)
Getting your feelings down on paper can have a great impact. You can get insight into your feelings by writing them down.
“When you have a problem and you're stressed, keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing that stress or anxiety. Then, once you’ve identified your stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve the problems and, in turn, reduce stress.” Rochester Medical Center Health Encyclopedia
Adult coloring has become very popular lately and for good reason, it really helps with stress relief. When you are focusing on coloring, you cannot focus on your problems. You can get a coloring book and some colors or markers and keep them at your desk to help you calm down after a particularly stressful meeting.
“Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring about more mindfulness.” Marygrace Berberian
ColorMonthly is a great membership to plug into for fresh, positive colorings pages delivered regularly.
Do you remember your grandmother knitting? Knitting doesn’t have to be the multi-color afghan that your grandmother knitted. You can learn new and exciting knitting patterns and techniques.
“The repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga.” Dr. Herbert Benson
8. Deep Breathing
Breathing is an essential function in your body, however, when you feel anxious and stressed you may not be breathing deeply enough to get enough oxygen into your bloodstream. Stress causes you to take quick shallow breaths that lead to a lower level of oxygen in your system.
“Full, deep breathing is a good way to reduce tension, feel relaxed, and reduce stress.“ WebMD
Listening to calming music can change your mood and help calm you down. If you don’t want to listen to calming music, you can listen to whatever your favorite music is. Sing along to your favorite artist at the top of your lungs. Dance around to your favorite song.
“Current findings indicate that music around 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brainwaves (frequencies from 8 - 14 hertz or cycles per second). This alpha brainwave is what is present when we are relaxed and conscious.” University of Nevada
We’re influenced by smells and aromatherapy has long been celebrated as a tool in fighting stress.
Use a diffuser or reeds soaked in essential oils, or candles with the scent to diffuse the aroma across the room. Some scents that help you to relax:
- Eucalyptus-promotes clarity and increases energy
- Peppermint-promotes digestion, increases energy
- Citrus-Invigorating, calming, reassuring
“The scents released by the oil act on the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that influences the hormonal system. Individual responses to scents are highly personal, but a scent can affect your mood, metabolism, stress levels…” Cleveland Clinic
11. What You Eat & Drink Can Stress You Out
Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can cause rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure. It can also interfere with sleep and digestion.
Keep caffeine to a minimum and cut it out in the afternoon and evenings.
Alcohol may calm you down in the short run, but it can cause stress by stimulating the production of stress hormones. Alcohol also can effect sleep.
Minimize or cut out alcohol completely, and make sure to stop drinking in enough time to get it out of your system before bedtime.
Refined sugar causes blood sugar spikes and dips. These dips can cause irritability and poor concentration.
Make sure to eat plenty of foods full of nutrients and that do not cause your blood sugar to spike and crash.
High sodium foods cause you to retain fluids which caused your heart to work faster increasing your blood pressure and draining you of energy.
Make sure to eat foods with less added sodium and drink plenty of fluids.
Foods & Beverages Can Help Combat Stress
Berries such as blueberries and raspberries are high in antioxidants and Vitamin C that helps combat stress.
Shop For Good Stuff:
Nuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals that help with inflammation that is caused by stress. They also help boost your immune system.
Chamomile or green tea help with anxiety. Chamomile tea has been long known for helping you calm down. Green tea is full of antioxidants. Both are low in caffeine, so they will not interfere with sleep.
Chocolate, namely dark chocolate, has antioxidants that help lower blood pressure and help give you a sense of calm. It also produces a substance that mimics the feeling of being in love!
Experience Stress Differently
Stress may not be as bad as you think. Kelly McGonigal talks about just such a thing in her Ted Talk, “How to make stress your friend”:
“Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier? And here the science says yes. When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body's response to stress.”
Watch Kelly McGonigal’s full Ted Talk on this subject. Note, there’s a transcript option if you prefer to scan her text rather than watch a long video.
Dig deeper with her book, The Upside of Stress.
Stress Victims No More
Stress may be with us always, but we don’t have to play its victim. Clearly, we can find ways to reduce or eliminate the stress in our lives. Choose one of these easily accessible resources to turn things around in your life whenever you need one!