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Start with the sample below and learn how to have a positive effect on your own wellbeing. Discover support for managing stress, anxiety, and burnout. Read through how to foster resilience and strengthen a mind-body connection. Step into your health journey and Be Well.
Stress is a feeling of pressure or tension that happens when we are faced with some kind of challenge or demand. We can experience it physically, mentally, or both. Stress is a reality in all our lives, and in small doses, it is actually helpful!
Without stress, we might not be able to meet deadlines or escape from dangerous situations. However, when the stress is significant and happens for too long, it becomes a problem and can have a negative effect on both our physical and mental health. Learning how to manage our stress levels and response to stress are important skills for maintaining good health.
Stress is something we all experience. Anxiety is a mental health concern that affects many people as well. Separating the two can be a challenge. In some ways, they do overlap, but in other ways, they are very different.
Things that are associated with anxiety are:
When someone is under a lot of stress at work or life in general, and it goes on for a long period of time, something called burnout can happen.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of burnout:
If you feel like you are suffering from burnout, know that there are things you can do to feel better. Sometimes you can reduce stress in your life, and other times you can learn better ways to deal with it. Taking care of yourself might feel overwhelming if you have burnout, but it’s the best way to start. Here are some small steps you can take towards recovering from burnout:
Look for helpful things in your life right now:
- Is there anything you can let go of that may help you feel less overwhelmed and burdened? Maybe there are extra chores, things you do for others, or other tasks you could learn to say “no” to?
- Do you have a support system in place? We all need people we can rely on to help us, encourage us, and keep us motivated. Who do you talk to each week that feels helpful?
- Take a look at your daily and weekly schedule and highlight things that bring on the most stress. Some of them can’t change of course, but are there any that could? Can you add any things that would make you feel fulfilled or balanced?
Look for ways to help yourself—create or remake your self-care plan:
- Exercise. How can you move your body every day, even for 10 minutes at a time? Can you talk with your doctor or health coach about helping you make a plan?
- Meditation. Practice taking a few minutes each day to get quiet and centered.
- Add therapy. Talking with a therapist can help you to identify your needs, improve self-awareness, and feel supported in making positive changes.
- Social time. Can you schedule some time with friends and family? Can you find a hobby you enjoy?
- Take time off. Having something to look forward to can be a great motivator. Knowing an afternoon or a day off is on the schedule can help you stay more balanced and positive.
Managing Stress with Mindfulness Moments
Interested in becoming more mindful? There are a lot of resources for you to check out throughout this page. But it doesn’t have to be another task on your list. Mindfulness can be practiced during even the most simple, everyday activities. You can start right now, with these examples:
Yes, even scrubbing bowls can be mindful. Tune into your senses. What is the temperature of the water? What does the dish soap smell like? What does the plate feel like in your hand?
How do the lines look on the carpet? What does the carpet feel like beneath your feet? Can you see and feel a certain rhythm in the repeated arm movement?
Showers are glorious, aren’t they? So be in the moment and enjoy them! What does the water feel like? What does your shampoo smell like? Where are you holding tension and how does the water help loosen that up?
Chopping veggies? What does the knife feel like in your hand? What smells do you notice? Do you see a cutting board full of different colors and textures?
Are you a coffee or tea drinker? What does the mug feel like in your hand? What does your coffee or tea smell like? As you sip, where do you taste it on your tongue? What does the steam feel like on your face?
Even when you’re trying to be mindful, your mind will wander. When it does, bring your attention back (even for a few minutes) to the tangible things you can see, smell, hear, taste, and feel. We encourage you to read more about mindfulness as there is so much more to learn and so many benefits. But starting small feels good—it’s free, it’s good for you, and it takes no time away from what you’re already doing. Try one (or more) out!
In addition to using your breath to regulate your nervous system, Bumblebee Breathing adds in a humming sensation and sound that stimulates your vagus nerve. Fun fact: Your vagus nerve is the longest nerve in your body and connects to almost every organ! Breathing exercises that involve the vagus nerve can be done with a couple of results in mind.
There are ways to use this kind of breathing to activate and motivate us. Other times it can be used to soothe and regulate us after we experience a stressful situation.
The really cool thing about this exercise is that the humming sound creates vibrations at the roof of your mouth. These are essentially “massaging” your vagus nerve (which begins at your brain stem) and helping it continue to send soothing signals through your entire nervous system.
In this short video, a Crossover Health mental health provider demonstrates how to perform this technique.
A Spotlight on Loneliness: Navigating Mental Traps
There are a handful of traps that can keep you stuck in a state of loneliness. Let’s go through those, as well as the cycle that keeps you trapped, and some tips to help you break out of it.
Loneliness is a natural human emotion. But if you judge yourself for feeling it, that can trap you in a cycle of not feeling good enough, which can then lead you to isolate, and leave you feeling more lonely. If this cycle feels recognizable, it’s because most of us have been there at one point or another. The trick to breaking out of the cycle is catching yourself when you’re just starting to get caught up in it.
This trap looks different because while you might be suffering or feeling disconnected on the inside, on the outside you’re giving the impression that you are just fine. You might still socialize, speak up in meetings, go out with friends, or appear generally happy. But you are hiding your true self from others, which can leave your relationships feeling hollow, superficial, or unfulfilling. Over time, you might find it increasingly difficult to open up to people—this cycle is what traps you in impression management, rather than meeting your own needs for deep, authentic, social connection.
There are a lot of ways people numb their emotions to avoid having to feel the painful ones. The trap here is that cutting yourself off from painful emotions means disconnecting from the joyous and meaningful ones too. Using food, substances, spending money, video games, or other distractions as a way to avoid your feelings of loneliness can get you caught in the trap of needing more of those things to cope, rather than actually satisfying your true needs.
You might not even realize when you’re caught in habits that are keeping you isolated away from meaningful social connections. For example, you might have gotten used to turning down invitations or not answering phone calls. In turn, people may have stopped reaching out, and before you knew it, it felt too uncomfortable to reach back out to them when you were ready for more company.
Comparing yourself to other people will almost always leave you feeling like you want to disconnect or separate from others. Once you get started comparing yourself to others, you’ll find yourself doing it more and more, which makes it harder and harder to view yourself objectively, just as you are. Breaking out of this cycle requires you to remember that even if someone looks like they have it all together, you don’t know how they got there, or the private details of their lives (including their sacrifices, sorrows, or personal issues).
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