10 Simple Tips to Manage Stress and Depression

how to manage stress

A recent survey my Minet Insurance indicates that many Kenyan teachers have experienced a high level of stress after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stress is normal during a pandemic. When things such as curfew, lockdown, school closure, and social distancing are imposed on people as a result of a pandemic, stress levels increase. As teachers adjust the realities of the current situation, their brains will record the ensuing transition. The body responses with the production of adrenaline, which increases heart beat rate.

The primary stress hormone is the cortisol, which increases sugar levels in the bloodstream. That is why when a person becomes agitated we say their sugar has increased. This is just but a way that the body reacts to the stressing situations, such as the realities of a pandemic like COVID-19.

Thus, stress at such a time is normal. The following simple steps can help you manage stress:

Listen to music

Music has been proven by scientists and psychologists as one of the most effective ways of relieving stress. It is a therapeutic approach to stress management. Playing calm or cool music helps minimize brain activity, lower blood pressure and sugar levels, and reduce the cortisol hormone which is responsible for causing stress. You may listen to classical, country music, or try listening to nature sounds, such as winds and oceans. They help a lot sooth you and calm you down, reducing the levels of agitation and pressure.

This is one of the best tools I always use when I feel stressed. I like listening to country music, reggae music, and traditional folk songs.

Talk to a Friend

You can also manage stress by talking with a trusted friend. Everyone has a reliable friend to run to when things are going negative. Most of our friends are only there when things are going well; but there is that one person who is always willing to listen and offer their support. When you are under a lot of stress, talk to that person. He or she may not solve your problem, but having someone who is willing to listen creates a positive attitude and makes you feel appreciated. Love and good relationships are very important in living healthy lifestyles.

Talk to yourself

In most cases, someone who talks to himself or herself is considered a mad person. However, this is a good way of relieving stress when friends or relatives are not willing or available to listen to you. Talk calmly to yourself, telling yourself why you feel bad and what you can do to feel better. Tell yourself that everything is fine, and that you are in control of the situation. This will surely make you feel better in stressful situations.

Eat proper diet

Another important way of managing stress is to eat right. Eating sugary food will only increase the glucose in your body, making your blood pressure go up. It is more helpful to eat less sugary food such as cereals, fruits, and vegetables. You are also advised to take more food with fiber. Eat less fat, more fish if you can, and add milk to the menu. Avoid snacks and chips when you are under stress or depression.

Drink tea… and water

Fluids such as water and tea are important in cooling you off during a stressful situation. However, you have to avoid drinking tea with a lot of sugar. The point is that you need to reduce caffeine, which usually gives you a short term spike in blood pressure. Coffee and chocolate have a lot of those…avoid them. Drink a lot of water to keep you calm and hydrated. Tea also consists of antioxidants and amino acids that calm down your nervous system.

Laugh…

To avoid thoughts that make you stressed up, find some comedy movies and clips and laugh it off. Why? Because laughter is proven scientifically to be realizing some hormones such as endorphins, which improve moods. It also reduces stress-causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. In fact, some psychologists recommend cat clips as a way of relieving stress. Cats behave in a funny way, and they are beautiful to watch. If that doesn’t work for you, just find some epic comic that give you relief.

Do yoga and meditation

This one is rarely practiced in Kenya, but it helps a lot in managing stress. Chinese, Indians, Japanese, and other Asians like practicing meditation and yoga to keep their minds off stressors. The key idea behind yoga is that being mindful of every situation is essential for mental health. You can practice meditation or yoga alone in a silent room, or join a yoga class.

Exercise

Even a minute of exercise is important in managing stress. So far we have learned about the endorphin hormones. One of the ways of releasing endorphin is through exercise. When you exercise, your blood moves faster, causing the endorphin to be released. Accordingly, blood movements through exercise helps in improving your mood and providing immediate relief from stress. You can also cheer yourself up by walking around, standing and stretching, and taking a break from work.

Sleep Well

Another important way to reduce stress is to develop a good and regular sleeping pattern. Stress often causes people to lose sleep. Well, lack of sleep is also a cause of stress. Either way, you need to sleep well to minimize stress. Doctors recommend at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day to get you enough sleep any time you may need it.

Now read this stress buster tip: Before going to sleep, turn the TV off, put away your phone, switch off the lights, and relax for some time.

Take Deep Breaths

Everyone breathes automatically. You do not decide when to breathe and when not to. However, when you are under stress you need to take the old cliché “take a deep breath” quite seriously. During meditation, the Buddhist monks have been deliberately taking deep breaths while practicing yoga and meditation.

For about 2 to 4 minutes, sit up in your chair, feet tapping the floor, and hands resting on your knees. Then breathe in and out, deeply and slowly. Concentrate on your lungs; you must feel the air feeling your lungs and causing your chest to bulge outwards.

Lastly, Be yourself. When you see people succeeding in life do not be anxious or stressed. Everyone is unique. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, and capitalize on your strengths to improve your life. Let no one complicate your life with their life stories. Live your life as you, not as anyone else. You are you, be you.

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