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How to Juggle and Cope with Life’s Stresses

As the summer begins to wind down and many families are approaching back to school stress, now is a good time to check in with your stress levels and be able to identify when you are over-stressed, and more importantly, decide how to cope with it.

Some Symptoms of Stress Include:

  • Restless sleep or inability to fall asleep
  • Frustration or irritability
  • Inability to focus or make decisions
  • Chest pain or rapid heartbeat
  • Tense muscles
  • Upset stomach
  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Etc.

With stress often stemming from an inability to juggle all the responsibilities and activities of daily living (work, exercise, taking care of family, bills, doctor’s appointments, childcare, etc.), it’s understandable that it may seem even more overwhelming to try to fight stress through stress relievers that can take up additional moments of your precious time. However, more often than not, during stressful times, we naturally revert to mindless habits that actually waste even more of our time – like mindlessly scrolling through social media, stress eating, getting absorbed in a television show, or other ways of temporarily escaping stress. When you find yourself performing those kinds of behaviors, try some of the following stress relievers:

  • Get active! Even if just for 10 minutes, get moving. Go for a walk, run or create a dance party – alone or with family!
  • Eat healthy. It’s easy to opt for comfort foods when we’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. Keep an eye on what you’re eating and make sure it’s healthy – this will provide you with way more energy to achieve all the things on your to-do list than an unhealthy diet would.
  • Avoid excess anything – caffeine, eating, drinking alcohol, smoking, etc. This will only make you feel worse and decrease your productivity.
  • Meditate. Take five or ten minutes and sit in the quiet, trying to focus on nothing more than your breath. Use an app like Headspace if you are having trouble focusing and need some guidance.
  • Laugh! Watch a funny video or call a friend who you can always count on to make you smile.
  • Connect with someone. Reach out to someone who will motivate you. Send someone a compliment via text or email or just to let them know you’re thinking of them. It will automatically make you feel better and calmer.
  • Make a list, and take things item by item. Checking things off will bring a sense of calm.
  • Keep a journal. Write down all your thoughts and feelings just as an outlet for ridding yourself of them.
  • Put on music as you tackle your activities. This can get you livelier and dancing as you take on the day.
  • Get enough sleep. Put all electronics away as you wind down for the night. Try melatonin if you really have trouble falling asleep.
  • Seek counseling. See the information below for where to start.

Employee Assistance Program

Sometimes it helps to speak to a professional about stress, hear that it’s normal and common and for some verbal guidance on how to handle it. Through the RWJBH Employee Assistance Program (EAP), you can meet with a licensed professional on any issue that affects your peace of mind, or interferes with your day-to-day activities.

EAP Services may be added to an employer's Corporate Care program, based on company needs. Corporate Care clients have 24/7 access to the vast resources of RWJBarnabas Health EAP services which provide human resources staff and managers appropriate consultation on a variety of behavioral concerns which could affect job performance.

Learn more about the RWJBarnabas Health EAP or call 1-800-300-0628.

Resource: MayoClinic