Stress is your body’s way of protecting itself against danger—real or imaginary. While not all stress is bad, even normal stressors can at times tip us over into feeling overwhelmed.

Making plans to manage stress is smart and beneficial to you and those around you. Try these approaches and see what works best for you.

First things first

  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night, hopefully at the same hours, even on weekends.
  • Exercise or find some movement you enjoy that allows you to release tension.
  • Limit caffeine intake.
  • Make well-balanced nutrition choices.  Avoid skipping meals.
  • Avoid alcohol as an attempt to relieve stress.

Learn basic stress reduction techniques

  • Pay attention to and reflect on your negative self-talk. It can become toxic. Can you think of other messages for yourself?
  • Try a relaxation breathing exercise: Sit or stand with good posture. Breathe through your nose. Inhale, filling first the lower part of your lungs, then the middle part, then the upper part. Hold your breath for a few seconds. Exhale slowly. Relax your abdomen and chest.

Time management is key

  • Identify and block off a time and place so you can work with less distractions.
  • Practice saying “no” to situations and people that add stress to your life.

Remember to socialize

  • Laugh—watch something funny or do a fun activity.
  • Share what’s going on with others in your life—you’re not alone!