Stressed? Don’t do any of these

By Mel Sim

Read before you reach for that tub of ice cream.

So I have been feeling stressed lately, what with the challenges of having everyone at home at the same time (thanks, COVID) and trying to manage a household while still meeting my deadlines.

And…. I have been eating chips and ice cream almost every night as a reward of sorts. I figured I deserve it, having made through the day.

Did that make me feel less stressed? Nope. Now, on top of my daily stress, I have this additional stress: The extra weight I’ve put on and the guilt for my midnight snacking!

If only I listened to the experts: Reaching out for junk food is a big no-no when you are feeling stressed. It feels good at first (who doesn’t love chips) but I realised I was reaching out for the salty stuff whenever I was feeling stressed – and that was often, especially with a global pandemic in our lives. So I feel worse about myself… and bloated! Plus that guilt? It makes my body react as it would with other forms of stressors by increasing my heart rate and blood pressure. Not exactly what I need right now.

Stress eating is just one. Here are more things you shouldn’t do when the day feels tough.

#1 Dwell on it
Ok, you made a mistake a work. That’s a stressful period, trying to rectify the situation. Now that it’s done and dusted, it’s time to move and not dwell on the past. It’s often common for us to think of the things we should have said or shouldn’t have done…but all that overthinking only intensifies your stress. Can you imagine recapping the mistake night after night before you go to sleep?

#2 Hide under your blankie in bed
We get it, it feels good and secure underneath the covers, especially when you’ve had a bad and stressful day. What better way to escape when there’s so much to deal with! Only that research shows the more you try to sleep away your problems, the more tired and lethargic you’ll feel. Because you’re not exactly getting peaceful sleep when all that’s on your mind is what’s causing you to feel stressed. Also, oversleeping and being sedentary can cause other problems like weight gain and depression.

#3 Ignore it
Ever feel like you have so much to do at work that the best way to deal with it is to not do anything? Procrastination is a stressor’s worst enemy and yet it is one of the most common ways we deal with stress (or not). If you ignore it, it will go away, right?

Nope. Unfortunately, that deadline that’s been bugging you will continue bugging you until you do something about it. That colleague who is stealing your ideas will continue taking all the credit until you speak up. There’s only one way to deal with stress: One step at a time but better late than never.

#4 Continue working
OK, this is contradictory from #3 but hear us out. We get it that deadlines need to be met but if you are pulling all-nighters, this will only add on to that miserable feeling. No amount of OTs will help reduce the stress you are feeling so give yourself a break, especially if work overload is what’s causing you to feel stressed out. Go home, watch Netflix or read a book. A clear mind and a rested body can go a long way to relieve stress.

What you should do when feeling stressed? Believe it or not, it’s something you do every day – take a bath! Water has a soothing effect on the mind and body so soaking in the tub (or a warm shower) can help you feel more relaxed and at ease. You can make it a Friday night ritual with essential oils and candles, both of which help to reduce your stress further.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

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