Did you know that 57% of people claim to feel paralyzed by stress?
With so many people combatting stress like that on a regular basis, it’s not hard to see why stress is considered “the health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization. All 57% of people can’t be taking on tough projects or filing bankruptcy cases at the same time — for the most part, they’re combatting stress from normal situations that they face every day.
Being stressed out is incredibly unpleasant, and combatting stress for prolonged periods can lead to serious health conditions. Even if the stress you face day-to-day doesn’t seem bad enough to make you sick, feeling stressed out can still lead to poorer decision-making, less willingness to take calculated risks, and strained relationships. Whether you think your stress is serious or not, if you’re busy combatting stress every day, it’s definitely diminishing your quality of life.
Combatting Stress: What to Do About It
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a victim of stress forever. There are lots of ways to relieve and eliminate stress from your life, from meditation to exercise. If there’s a specific part of your life that’s responsible for most of the stress you face, you should consider what it would take to change it. For example, if your company is facing a serious problem or legal battle with another organization, a competent law with experience in assertive legal services can do a lot to take that weight off your chest.
For combatting stress in your everyday life, we’ve put together the following five tips. To learn some of the best ways of combatting stress, keep reading.
Take Up a New Hobby
With our culture getting increasingly busy, with more and more demands upon everyday life, it’s critical to set time aside to manage stress. Engaging in hobbies for stress relief is a great way to combat stress, whether you’re calming down in the evening after work or practicing a weekend of self-care. The right hobby can also help you stay healthy physically, as well as help keep your memory and thinking sharp.
While you probably think of the weened as the right time to wind down and relax, you should try to make relaxation a part of your daily routine, especially after busy workdays. Having a stress-relieving hobby is an excellent way to do this, since it gives you just enough structure to stay focused without the pressure you might experience from a project at work.
There are lots of hobbies you could choose to pursue, but the ones you should look for are those that engage your mind and body in a constructive yet enjoyable way. Drinking or binge-watching television may distract from your worries, but something like getting sailing lessons would be far more rewarding.
You should consider choosing a hobby that specifically compliments your work life, rather than competing with it. If your work involves a lot of physical activity and moving around, you should consider a hobby that engages your mind, such as songwriting, stargazing, or running a movie review blog. If you work an office job with a lot of writing, numbers, and sitting around, a hobby that gets you moving would be ideal, such as weight training, bike riding, or participating in local boat clubs.
The hobby you select should contribute to an end result of some kind. Playing video games may make you a better gamer, but unless you’re serious about becoming a professional, it may not directly help to improve your life. But making blog or video reviews about games you find would help you build a community around what you love, and might even allow you to build a business around it.
It’s also important to emphasize that your hobby shouldn’t be related to your work in any way. If your hobby is too similar to your job, it could end up stressing you out just as much as your work does, or it might not feel like a rest or escape. So your hobby should lie in a different category from your profession.
Another consideration is whether you want a hobby that you perform by yourself or one that you experience in a group. This will probably depend on whether you’re most relaxed alone or with friends, but it might also depend on whether you work by yourself or surrounded by a team. If you decide you want to do your hobby with other people, keep in mind that just about any personal project can be turned into a group activity. Writing a novel is normally a solitary activity, but many writers write with friends or share their progress in writers’ forums.
Pursuing the right hobby can include many stress-relieving benefits all at once, including being involved in a community, exercising your body, engaging your creativity, and improving your life in a constructive, long-term way. When you want to distract yourself and recover from stressors at work, pursuing a meaningful hobby may be the best way to do it.
Get a Therapy Dog or Emotional Support Animal
Do you struggle with anxiety or depression, or even severe social shyness? A therapy or emotional support animal (ESA for short) might be just what you need to stay calm and focused in situations that normally give you significant anxiety.
The thought of getting a service animal probably seems like a daunting and complicated process, but ESAs aren’t actually service animals — aside from being well-behaved, they don’t generally have to be trained in any special way, and just about any pet can be a therapy animal.
Studies have demonstrated that emotional support animals often provide a comforting presence to their handlers, especially those that suffer from mental health issues. These support animals are becoming more popular, too, with many people who are generally healthy relying on a trusted animal for emotional support.
As the benefits of therapy animals have grown, doctors, therapists, and counselors now commonly certify individuals with the following conditions to have ESAs:
- General anxiety disorder
- Mild to severe anxiety
- Agoraphobia (fear of being outside the home)
- Aerophobia (fear of flying — certified ESAs are regularly allowed on flights even when normal pets aren’t allowed)
- Stress-induced situations
- Social shyness
As you can see, it isn’t necessary to have a serious mental disability to qualify for a therapy animal. But if you do suffer from a severe disability like one of those mentioned above, you may experience vast improvements after getting an emotional support animal, potentially including:
- Increase in feeling social
- Boost in self-esteem
- Feeling safer and more comforted
- Increased motivation
- Decreased symptoms from mental disorders, if present
- Increased sense of purpose
Benefits of having a certified ESA include getting to live with your animal in rented places that don’t allow pets, usually without paying any pet deposit. You’re also generally allowed to bring your therapy animal with you onto flights. Because emotional support animals aren’t legally recognized as service animals, you’re usually not allowed to bring your therapy pet into businesses that don’t allow animals (although some may make an exception).
All you need to qualify your pet as an emotional support animal is to get a letter from your counselor, therapist, or doctor saying that the animal is recommended to improve your mental and emotional health. You can then use this letter to take your pet onto flights, or keep them with you when you move into a no-pets-allowed apartment. Just make sure your pet is well-trained and well-mannered first — there’s a reason pets aren’t allowed onto flights and in rental units, and if you’re going to enjoy the privileges of an ESA it shouldn’t be at the expense of other people’s comfort.
Of course, you don’t have to be certified to own a therapy dog to enjoy the stress-reducing benefits of caring for an animal. Between buying pet supplies and hiring dog boarding services when you need to take a trip, taking care of a pet could be an excellent hobby to help you with combatting stress.
Set Up a Home Security System
Sometimes people experience severe anxiety over things aren’t that realistic or severe. If you or someone you know has a parent who’s always worrying about everything, you know what this is like. But other times we worry about things because they’re legitimate causes for concern. It’s one thing to try and stop worrying when you know there’s nothing to worry about, but whenever your concern is over a real danger or threat, you need to address it — not look the other way.
One very real concern that has many people worried is the safety and security of their family and property. Whether you live in a safe neighborhood or not, protecting your home from break-ins is important for sleeping well at night, and carbon monoxide and smoke detection services are essential as well.
The most obvious benefit of a home security system is that it protects your valuables from being damaged or stolen. If you’re not exactly living a life of luxury you may assume you don’t have anything valuable to protect, but nothing could be farther from the truth. You most likely have a computer, and probably several other electronics. Although they might not seem like luxuries, they’re highly valued by thieves, and they would cost you a lot to replace.
And don’t underestimate the value of what you have. It’s easy to say that physical possessions aren’t important whenever you aren’t missing anything, but you’ll feel much different about it if you actually get robbed or vandalized.
But that’s only one benefit of home security and alarm systems. Another, even more important benefit is that a security system helps protect those you love the most. If wondering what your children are up to keeps you up at night, you know how important it is to guard and keep tabs on them. A home security system does just that, not only by protecting your home from bad guys but also by helping you keep track of what your family is up to. With a smart home video system, you can check in from your smartphone or work computer, just to make sure everyone’s doing okay.
These are just two of the many stress-relieving benefits of a home security system. You can be sure it would be worth the investment.
Take Care of Repairs You’ve Put Off
Sometimes the things that stress us out most are tasks that we’re putting off. We can’t usually get away with putting off work tasks, but as we prioritize our jobs, our health, relationships, and even the state of our homes are often left on the wayside.
While it’s important to balance all the responsibilities in life, one thing that’s especially important (and very easy to put off) is keeping your house in good repair. Whether you’re past due for roof repairs or postponing wasp nest removal, getting these tasks done is essential to combatting stress.
One of the most important things to check occasionally is your home’s electrical wiring. Like everything else, wires wear out and break down over time, and things like frayed cables and damaged sockets are like ticking time bombs. If you wait too long, your appliances can start to spark and overheat, but there’s no need to let that happen. A qualified electrician can take a quick look around and tell you if you need any repairs or not.
Other repairs that you should put off include plumbing and roof repairs. Ignoring leaks, in either your pipes or your roof, will only set you up for trouble, both with mold or serious structural damage. Call a roofing or plumbing contractor to get these things taken care of.
It’s hard to rest easy when you suspect there might be hidden problems inside your own home. By staying on top of these things, you’ll be helping to keep stress out of your life.
Rethink Your Finances and Minimize Expenses
Our last tip for combatting stress is to minimize your expenses and make sure you’re within budget. Many people overspend each month, eating into their savings or relying on credit cards, without even realizing it.
Not knowing exactly where your money is going can cause serious stress, simply from the ambiguity alone. The first thing you should do is figure out exactly how much you’re spending each month, both on recurring payments and one-time purchases like groceries. Don’t forget to budget in costs that occur only once or twice a year, such as getting the oil changed in your car. Then figure out if the money you’re earning is enough to cover that, plus a little extra to save or invest. If so, congratulations: you don’t have anything to worry about, and you can safely stop stressing about finances!
If it turns out you have some work to do, a great place to start is finding ways to save money on recurring expenses. Can you apply for more affordable insurance? How about buying cheaper brands at the grocery store, or buying food in bulk so you can save? Ideas like these can go a long way.
From prioritizing your emotional health to adjusting your finances, these tips and strategies for combatting stress are accessible to everyone. No matter what kind of stress you’re facing, hopefully, you now have the inspiration you need to do something about it.