Tips for Reducing Stress
See your health care provider to discuss stress and how it affects you.
Talk about it. A friend or family member may help you sort out your feelings and get a new perspective on problems. Join a support group.
Get enough sleep. Most people need about six to nine hours of sleep at regular times. Often, people under stress give up sleep to finish more work, or cannot sleep because they are thinking about their stressors. If you have trouble sleeping, try the following strategies: Make a mental list of all the things you have to be thankful for; exercise during the day; don't drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages in the evening; take a warm bath before going to bed; go to bed at the same time every night.
Take a break and treat yourself.
See a therapist or counselor. Counseling can help you work through problems and make decisions in a non-threatening environment.
Practice hypnosis, biofeedback or massage to relieve tension. For example, massage can aid in increased blood circulation and lower blood pressure, reduction in fatigue, increased restfulness of sleep, increased sense of well-being and elevated mood.
Listen to music. Quiet, soothing music alone or with relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or visualization may help you relax.
Watch what you eat. A healthy diet can help you handle stress. Eat breakfast, cut back on caffeine, watch sugar intake, and stick to a regular meal schedule.
Remind yourself of your accomplishments.
Look positively at change, instead of fearing it. Change may bring benefits you don't expect.
Look back on a crisis as a learning opportunity. This will help you respond better to similar problems in the future.
Ask for help. If stress and its effects get out of hand, consider contacting your health care provider, mental health centers, employee assistance programs, and other professionals such as clergy, social workers, counselors and therapists, nurses.
What are your warning signs?
You will be able to manage stress better if you recognize the symptoms. Check the symptoms you frequently feel when you are stressed. It is always important to tell your doctor about any uncomfortable symptoms that you feel since some of these symptoms may have causes other than stress (e.g., side effects of medications, effects of HIV). See your health care provider if symptoms are severe or persistent.
a change in appetite
high blood pressure
denial of a problem
difficulty making decisions
feeling unhappy for no reason
being easily upset
||increasing use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
arguing with friends or partner
avoiding tasks and responsibilities
being late to work
overeating or undereating
snapping at people
watching more TV
withdrawing from family and friends
The worksheets were adapted from Stress Management: Self Care Handbook by Channing L. Bete Co., Inc.