Taking Care of Yourself in Stressful Times

Stressed man holding his glasses.

For many people, self-care is usually at the bottom of their list of priorities when going through challenging and stressful times. However, self-care during these times is vital, although other concerns may seem to take priority. Being well gives you the strength to push through the stress and hardships of current life. On the other hand, if you don’t take care of yourself, you could quickly get exhausted or burnt out. To avoid that happening to you, we compiled a guide to taking care of yourself during stressful times.

Maintain Healthy Habit

The first and most crucial step in taking care of yourself during stressful times is taking care of your body. Because your mind and body are intertwined, taking care of your physical health when you’re under a lot of stress is very important.

#1 Work Out

Even when you’re under stress, you should keep moving! Physical activity benefits your physical health in numerous ways, not the least of which is to reduce stress. Moreover, working out can also improve your overall mood.

No matter how hard it feels, try to go for a run, a long bike ride, a long walk or any other activity to get your blood flowing. Alternatively, you can also try dancing, stretching, or any other exercise you like. And, when you don’t feel like working out, try doing something that’s still good for your body, like booking a massage appointment or just going out for a walk outside. In the end, remember that any physical activity is better than none.

Woman running outside.
You should always make time for a daily workout, no matter your busy schedule.

#2 Maintain a Healthy Diet

Being stressed can lead to stress eating junk and fast food. When stressed, your body needs more nutrients than ever, so eat sensibly. You need to take in a lot of vitamins, minerals, and proteins to make sure your diet is varied and healthy. Moreover, stress might be causing you to feel like you’re not hungry, and that can cause you to be under-nourished. You have to eat regularly. If you have to, set up reminders every few hours to get a small snack or a meal.

Furthermore, don’t forget to drink enough water. Dehydration caused by stress is not uncommon; you can avoid it by setting up another set of reminders to drink water. It might seem like a silly idea at first, but it can save you from the complications that result from dehydration. Moreover, by drinking enough water, you will wake up feeling more refreshed and less sleepy. Having the most energy possible when you wake up is crucial when you’re stressed.

#3 Get Enough Sleep

You might struggle with falling asleep due to stress. Although that’s not uncommon, you have to do something about it. To feel better and function properly, you must get at least six hours of sleep every night, if not more. This is crucial for your overall health. Establishing a daily routine with determined bedtime is one of the most critical steps for living a healthy life. Moreover, melatonin pills or gummies can help you fall asleep faster. All you have to do is take the correct dose half an hour before bedtime, and you’d be surprised how well it works. If staying asleep is the problem, stay away from your phone or TV; read a book, do a crossword or something that’s not going to fixate your attention.  Even 50mg – 100mg of B1 can help you back to sleep.

Man holding an alarm clock in bed because sleeping is a big part of taking care of yourself during stressful times
Maintaining healthy habits is crucial when dealing with stress.

#4 Know Your Body’s Limits

When you’re under stress, especially at work, you might feel like you have no time to stop to catch your breath, let alone take some time to relax. This could lead to exhaustion and fatigue. If you feel tired and overwhelmed, you should take a pause. Continuing to work even when your body is showing you signs that you’re pushing your limit isn’t safe or healthy. That’s why you should pause every once in a while, even if it’s not absolutely necessary. For example, during holidays, people tend to overwork themselves, running around and stressing over preparing everything for guests or family. If they don’t take a break, they need twice as long to recover from the holiday stress and fatigue.

#5 Know How To Prioritize Your Tasks

When you’re feeling stressed, there’s usually a reason. Whether it’s caused by your work, an upcoming finals week or something else entirely, there’s usually a way to lower the stress by doing something about it. For example, your anxiety about the upcoming exam might feel more bearable if you devise a study plan for the next few days and put it at the top of your to-do list. Similarly, by thinking about it and making a plan, you can overcome almost any work obstacle or an issue in personal relationships.

Let’s look at an example of moving to a new place. One of the best ways to handle the anxiety and the stress of the move is to research everything in advance and pack everything before the moving day. Moreover, you should make a plan of what belongings will go in which room in your new home so that unloading and unpacking can go as smoothly as possible. If you postpone everything until the last minute and don’t have a plan for the future, you will, without a doubt, feel much more stressed out on your moving day.

A to-do list written in a notebook.
Knowing how to prioritize and plan your time will help minimize stress.

Finally, when it comes to taking care of yourself during stressful times, you should avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. Finding healthy ways to look after yourself when you’re going through challenging emotions is crucial. Although it may not always be simple, balance is vital. This means you should follow our advice, avoid eating less or more than usual, consuming unhealthy foods, sleeping too much or too little, cutting off relationships with family and friends, and/or abusing drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.