Taking Care of Me
Taking Care of Me
Stress is a normal reaction in our lives when we feel we are in danger or unable to cope with a situation. The first humans needed the innate stress response of flight or fight to stay safe in a dangerous world. Years later, we still have that stress reflex, and it can help us when we are at risk.
But stress can become a problem if that stress response is triggered day after day or if we are unable to recover from it. Our bodies and brains are not designed to be in stress mode all the time. When our stress systems get overworked, we are at increased risk for physical health and mental health problems.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may need to do some stress-busting activities:
- Feeling depressed, irritable, angry, anxious or overwhelmed
- Lack of interest or motivation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tension in the back and shoulders
- Trouble sleeping
Stress can become a problem if that stress response is triggered day after day or if we are unable to recover from it.
Take a Break
Give your stress response a rest by taking your focus away from the stresses around you. Go for a walk, have coffee with a friend, play a game, listen to music, etc. For more tips on ways to take a mental health break, check out this article from ActiveMan: 5 Tips on How to Take a Mental Health Break – ActiveMan
Notice Your Breathing
Deep breathing helps you relax and think more clearly by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.
It’s not always easy to do when you’re in a difficult situation. Laughing helps to release tension and gets your mind off your troubles. It affects our bodies similar to when we exercise and so much more fun.
Support from others is an important way to cope with stress. They can help you balance out your thoughts and put things into perspective.
Physical activity is important for our physical, mental and emotional health. It improves our response to stress as it releases good chemicals in our brain.
The 4 As
When dealing with stress, our thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves can have a significant impact on our well-being. You have choices, they may not be easy, but you can learn to use the most effective one given the situation you are in.
- Accept the things (and people) you cannot change. The only thing you can ever control is yourself.
- Adapt by changing your attitudes and behaviours. Look at the big picture, adjust your expectations, think about stressors in less negative and more flexible ways.
- Avoid unnecessary stress if possible. Sometimes it means saying no and setting boundaries.
- Alter how you communicate and operate in your daily life. Express your emotions, make time for self-care, manage your time.
Do Something Just for You
Doing something we love to do can be more than fun. It can increase your sense of well-being and help you recover from stress. Singing is an easy one which releases the same feel-good chemicals in our body as exercise.
Get outside. Being out in nature has a calming effect and can reduce your stress. If you can take a walk in a wooded area where you can lose yourself in the sights, smells and sounds of nature.
For more information, we have compiled a list of resources to help you take care of your mental health and well-being during these difficult days.
Pre-recorded Webinars and Media
Canadian Mental Health Association: Stress
We all cope with stress differently. But some methods are less effective than others. The Psychology Foundation of Canada breaks down some of these common strategies and provides tips for coping with stress.
Managing Your Stress
The Province of Manitoba’s COVID-19 website has a page on stress management strategies and provides information on how to measure your stress level. Additionally, it provides methods to relieve and avoid stress for you and your family. To learn more, visit:
Health Links – Info Santé
Health Links – Info Santé, is available to all Manitobans, operates 24/7, 365 days of the year with a team of registered nurses answering callers’ health-related questions in both English and French. To access these services, call: