How to Avoid Stress

How to Avoid Stress

We deal with stress every day. Stressful situations occur regardless of where we are. When we are at work, home, in the car, or other places, stress happens. Controlling conditions to get rid of stress can be impossible. Therefore, learning healthy ways to cope with stress is essential to living better lives.

When our body undergoes stressful situations, our organs, emotions, and bodies respond to how we feel. Stress can not be eliminated from our lives, even if we wish it would disappear. Recognizing the symptoms of stress and how it affects us is necessary.

According to Workplace Stress, “Stress has become one of the most serious health issues of the 20th century and a worldwide epidemic.” You are not alone in feeling stressed. You suffer from an illness that affects millions. Now that you know you are a part of a global issue, let’s narrow down the focus and discuss the symptoms, harms, and ways to handle stress.

What Is Stress?

There are two types of stress: good stress and bad stress, which can positively or negatively impact our lives. How do we know which stress is which? Medline Plus defines stress as “a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline.”

There are two different types of stress:

  • Acute stress is the type of stress you feel when you have a heated discussion, slam on the brakes, or try something out of your comfort zone. Your body responds to this type of stress by releasing adrenaline. Everyone encounters acute stress.
  • Chronic stress is the type of long-term stress, such as grieving after the death of a loved one, relationship issues such as an unhappy marriage, money problems, or workplace issues. Chronic stress can last for weeks, months, and even years. This type of stress can become a part of someone’s life, making the stress associated with long-term circumstances unnoticeable. However, even if we don’t notice it, our body does.

Symptoms of Stress

Stress presents itself in various ways. Sometimes we may have multiple symptoms, and sometimes there can be only one symptom. Your body differs from other people’s bodies in how it responds to stress. Here is a chart that can help you identify signs of stress.

Effects of Stress

On your body                  

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems

On your mood

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression

On your behavior

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often

How Stress Harms Our Bodies

Long-term stress will harm our bodies. The National Institute for Mental Health states:

Coping with the impact of chronic stress can be challenging. Because the source of long-term stress is more constant than acute stress, the body never receives a clear signal to return to normal functioning. With chronic stress, those same life-saving reactions in the body can disturb the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems. Some people may experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger, or irritability.

Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.

Stress Management

Since we can’t always control our situations—for example, work, traffic, other people—we need simple strategies to improve how we handle stress.

Stress management is a way to handle stress. How you choose to handle stress will be different from your partner, family members, or friends. As long as the ways you manage stress are valid, that’s all that matters. Eight ways to cope with stress are:

  1. Meditation
  2. Yoga or any form of exercise that brings you a sense of peace
  3. Art – drawing, painting, sculpting, or any other form of art will help you relax and focus on something else. Creativity is good for the soul.
  4. Read – whether it’s a book, magazine, or journal taking time to focus on what interests you is essential.
  5. Cook
  6. Take a walk outside
  7. Take a bath
  8. Work on a home project or garden

Another way to help with stress is to make sure you get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet. Find what feels right to you. Relaxing and taking your mind off of the stressful situation is the goal. Relax, have fun, or try something new.

When to Seek Help

If you feel chest pains, shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, pain going up to your left shoulder, dizziness, or nausea, these can be signs of a heart attack. Call 911 for help.

Seeking help isn’t a sign of defeat. If you are still feeling stress after incorporating techniques to handle the stress, you should talk with your doctor or make an appointment with a therapist. Your doctor may want to run tests to see if there are any other potential issues. Seeking help from a therapist is a way to identify sources of stress and learn new coping mechanisms. In some cases, seeking treatment at a center will allow you to talk with a therapist and have other causes examined by a doctor.

Stress is an aspect of life. Recognizing the difference between acute stress and long-term stress is essential. Long-term or chronic stress is the type of stress that will harm our bodies. We can’t control every situation, but we can learn how to manage our response. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress is essential. Creating a stress management plan will help us control our stress. When we realize we can’t manage stress with stress management skills, we should seek help. Making an appointment with a doctor or therapist will provide answers. At Achieve Concierge, we provide complete care. We can see your symptoms of stress by scheduling you with a doctor, a psychiatrist, or a therapist. We can also visit your home or workplace to help you identify stressors and teach you healthy coping techniques. For more information, call Achieve Concierge at (858) 221-0344.

10 Self-Care Activities to Combat Depression

10 Self-Care Activities to Combat Depression

Coping with depression during a global pandemic and being unable to leave home can take an emotional toll on just about anyone. As the world begins to open up, it’s important to do little things that bring you joy and comfort while adjusting to new social norms and a new way of life.

Taking care of yourself needs to be as important as taking care of your family, work, bills, or any other responsibilities. Here are some ideas that you can implement in your life now to start living a happier and healthier reality.

 1. Surf the Internet

The endless resources on the internet make it easy to take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or entertain yourself with a good TV show or movie. While surfing the internet, it could also be beneficial to look for more ways to implement self-care that works for you. For example, you can join an online chat room, seek inspirational quotes, or read success stories from other individuals who also have a depression diagnosis.

 2. Go Out to Eat with Friends

Is there a local restaurant you’ve been dying to try? Now is a great time to ask your friends if they’d like to meet up and grab a bite to eat! As the world begins to open back up after the coronavirus pandemic, eating out is just one way to get back into old routines and social habits. Call your local eateries and ask for a reservation to have a sit-down experience again! This is also a great way to get you out of the house if you are feeling down.

 3. Rearrange the Furniture in Your Home

It’s always nice to give the place you are so familiar with a little shake-up or change of scenery. Move things around, try a new paint color, or add a rug to a room. Changing your home — even if they are minor changes — is an excellent way to get yourself into a mindset of seeing things from a different perspective.

 4. Try Arts & Crafts

There are plenty of tools locally and online to teach someone a new artistic talent. Through video streaming platforms, you can find painting tutorials, candle-making videos, or blogs that teach you how to crochet and knit. Find a creative outlet that allows you to complete an original art piece to signify your artistic ability and your achievement of completion.

 5. Just Say “No”

Many of us find saying no to plans or events to be extremely difficult. Finding your strength to decline invitations might be just what you need to heal yourself mentally or take a personal self-care day. It’s okay to say no to plans that do not seem all that fun to you. Just make sure that you do not isolate yourself all the time — spending quality time with friends and family is important.

 6. Clean Up

Many people find a clean space to be cathartic. Even a quick 10-minute tidy-up around your main living area or workspace could be the motivation you need to feel calmer, more at peace, and grounded.

 7. Practice Good Hygiene

For some, it could be challenging to get out of bed and start your day. Consider taking a hot shower, washing and styling your hair, and putting on an outfit that makes you feel stylish and ready for your day. Getting prepared is a great motivation to get outside and do something fun and productive.

 8. Start a Blog

Starting a blog on any platform website and writing about whatever makes you happy is a great way to practice self-care. Write about your experiences, your cat, your job, funny posts you saw on social media — whatever you choose to write about could be an excellent release of emotion. It could even show you a new creative talent you never knew you had.

 9. Allow Yourself a Movie Day

Spend an entire day in your pajamas with some popcorn and candy and binge-watch that TV show or movie series you have been dying to see. Take the time to kick back, turn off your phone, and dive into a fictional world. It’s okay!

 10. Watch the Sunrise

Find out when the sun will rise in your city and set your alarm extra early. Grab a blanket and a pillow, pour a cup of coffee and go to a comfortable location with a non-obstructed view. Listen to your feel-good playlist and watch the world wake up. It’s a brand-new day.

Managing a depression diagnosis is complicated. If you try many self-care techniques and still don’t feel like you’re receiving the treatment you need, Achieve Concierge can help. Our outpatient treatment facilities for depression are staffed by expert medical personnel and feature state-of-the-art therapies, so we can offer our patients tailored treatment options for their depression symptoms. To learn more, call us today at (858) 221-0344.

Coping Mechanisms for PTSD

Coping Mechanisms for PTSD

“Holding yourself accountable for someone else hurting you, only continues the hurting long after the hurting is done.”

There is a common thread that plagues victims of traumatic events: self-blame. So what causes self-blame, and why is it so common for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to experience this coping mechanism? The belief that we had control or we could have had power is the explanation that we give ourselves. We think we can prevent future traumas from happening if only we try harder next time.

Self-blame is a way that one may express their shame after a traumatic event has occurred. At times, when the victim of abuse reports the incident, they may feel a sense of self-blame for “ruining” the other person’s life or for how it affects their friends and family. But self-blame doesn’t have to be a part of your life — there are plenty of self-help resources that you can use instead to cope with a PTSD diagnosis.

Increasing Positive Lifestyle Choices

Instead of choosing to eat that donut for breakfast or fast-food burger for lunch, try opting for something healthier such as a salad or fruit. When you notice your PTSD symptoms worsening, take some time to go for a walk around the block — this is a great way to trick your brain into thinking you’re abiding by its flight-or-fight method of protection.

You can also try journaling all of the ways you are feeling throughout the day. Jot down when your mood shifts, when you’re feeling symptoms, when good things happen, and when not-so-good things happen. Journaling is an excellent, healthy emotional release that allows you to track your mood patterns and habits.

Joining a Support Group

Scientific studies have proven that the response to seeking help for those diagnosed with PTSD mirrors those diagnosed with anxiety. Finding a group of people online or in your community with similar experiences and success stories could be an excellent way for you to gain positive feedback, make new friends, and learn new tools to use when you have episodes of PTSD. Find a safe space to talk about the things that you want to discuss and receive input in a non-judgmental and supportive environment.

Mindfulness and Breathing

Practice your ability to enjoy all that you have in the present moment. Acknowledge the weather, take in the environment that surrounds you, focus on your existence, and then focus on your breathing. Try box breathing — breathe in for 3 seconds, hold it for 3 seconds, breathe out for 3 seconds, wait for 3 seconds, and repeat until your PTSD or panic episode is over. Focusing on your ability to control yourself and your thoughts can ground you in times of personal unrest. Being able to retreat to this grounded mindset can help even further.

Regaining the Present Moment

After a nightmare that takes you back to the event, it might be alarming when you realize that it was only a dream. The Department of Veteran Affairs recommends getting out of bed, walking around, grabbing a glass of water, noticing your surroundings, and bringing yourself back to the present moment. Try calling a friend if you can, or try a soothing activity such as listening to calming music.

Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine when you wake up from a nightmare as they each make it difficult to fall back asleep. Recovery is an ongoing, daily process that cannot be fixed overnight. Healing from the trauma you experienced does not mean that you have forgotten the trauma. In moments when your PTSD bombards you, remind yourself that it is pure memory, and you are not currently in that situation.

The emotions that you experience are natural responses to trauma. So try to partake in activities that bring you joy. This could mean a daily run, a group that meets for breakfast once a week, or a picnic in the park. You must find coping mechanisms that work for you and implement them into your everyday routine.

Don’t be discouraged if specific coping mechanisms don’t work for you. Be aware that there will be some activities you strongly dislike — but this should not stop you from finding things that work for you and give you positive tools to use when your PTSD comes around.

If you or someone you love suffers from PTSD, Achieve Concierge can help. Our expert clinicians use a combination of medication and psychotherapy to relieve PTSD symptoms and teach patients how to cope with these feelings and memories. Our goal is to treat the entire person, body, mind, and spirit to deliver long-term results. To learn more, call us today at (858) 221-0344.

Staying Happy and Anxiety-Free During “Safer at Home” Order

Staying Happy and Anxiety-Free During “Safer at Home” Order

COVID-19 took the nation by storm. For many Americans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression, it completely halted their coping strategies and healing processes. Everything went from normal to lockdown in a matter of days. For many people, their coping mechanisms included support groups, church, being outside, playing sports, or visiting friends. This all came to a screeching halt.

With no end to the coronavirus in sight, no one really knows when life will go back to normal — if it ever does. These coping strategies may help you get through the remaining months of the “safer at home” orders that are being implemented by many states.

Online Zoom Hangouts

Just because social distancing is encouraged doesn’t mean that you need to distance yourself from your support groups, loved ones, and friends. When you can’t see them in person, Zoom hangouts are the next best thing! Reach out to your support groups, your family, and people you have developed friendships with (or would like to). Virtual hangouts could be a great way to stay connected to others who may also be trying to maintain the same coping strategies that you are.

Organize one night a week when your friends all get onto a video chat platform and talk about your week or play a game together. Several streaming websites have started “watch with a friend” programs that allow people to watch the same show at the exact same time. You can even chat with each other during the program.

Pick Up a New Hobby or Skill

Language learning platforms and educational websites are thriving right now. This is a perfect time to learn a new language for your big trip next year or learn how to sculpt, paint, or code computers. In this age of technology, you have unlimited information at your fingertips. Sometimes it all gets to be too much, and you just need to distract yourself. Try listening to a new podcast series, tackling home renovations, or cooking the latest dish. The sky’s the limit!

Start a New Physical Activity Regime

Now is a great time to get into a workout routine, as we are all at home. Start with one 30-minute walk or jog and increase the amount of activity every day to create a habit. Exercise is proven to boost your mood and happiness. Try to exercise outside when you can to get extra Vitamin D as well.

Check-in on People You Care About

This is a time when many people are nervous, and everything is unprecedented. Remember that everyone else is also trying to cope with these world changes. It could be beneficial for you to send your friend a text asking how they are holding up or reminding someone you love that you’re thinking about them.

Don’t Try to Break Every Bad Habit at Once

Many people are wanting to utilize this time to kick their bad habits. Take it slow while you are combating old habits and reinforcing new ones. Don’t go cold turkey and stop everything right away — adequately tackle one addiction before moving onto another one. Make sure that you are replacing a bad habit with a good one. For example, if you decided to quit smoking, try replacing it with going for a walk.

Refrain From Negative Talk

Try to not hold yourself back with negative self-talk. Instead of saying “I’m stuck inside,” try replacing that thought with “I am grateful to have time to focus on myself and my home.” Working from home is an excellent opportunity to switch your focus from external issues to internal issues.

Having a mindset of being stuck or restrained during this time is not productive, and it will only stress you out more. Take a step back when you are feeling overwhelmed to focus on yourself and your opportunity to grow.

Avoid Obsessing Over Coronavirus News

While it is important to make sure you’re in the loop on the latest pandemic coverage, you should also be mindful that you don’t need to hear the same coverage over and over from news stations. Every morning, go on the internet or turn on the television for one hour and allow yourself to get the news you need — and then shut it off. Instead of watching constant news updates, focus on staying healthy and calm during a global state of unrest.

The qualified team of mental health professionals at Achieve Concierge understands how stressful these unprecedented times are. Whatever your needs may be, we are committed to providing the highest level of mental wellness care with personalized service that is second to none. To learn more, call us today at (858) 221-0344.