Happy New Year! As we pack up all the holiday decorations and look back at all the accomplishments of 2017, we are excited to see what 2018 will bring to each one of us! As we approach this new year, many of us begin by making resolutions about ‘finally going to the gym’ and ‘losing weight from the extra holiday cookies,’ however, we should turn our new year’s resolutions into new year’s outlooks.
Everyone knows that the holiday season calls for days filled with the “3 Fs”: family, friends, and food. However, the holiday season can also cause stress, anxiety, and tension as we look for perfect Christmas gifts, plan that elegant Kwanzaa dinner, or prepare for all the Hanukkah games and festivities. But, hey – what are the holidays without a little chaos?! Well, there is nothing better to do than leave the stresses of the holiday season behind and start 2018 by focusing on our mental rather than our physical health. Here are some ways to focus on improving your overall mental health.
- Know when you are stressed or anxious. Everyone responds to stress and anxiety in different ways. However, identifying early signs and symptoms can allow you to find the source of the problem and deal with it quickly and efficiently. Signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety include inability or difficulty falling sleep, overeating, undereating, abnormal pains, feeling fatigued, getting sick more often.
- Know ways to treat your stress or anxiety. Just like there are no two people who are exactly alike, there is no exact method of treating one’s stress or anxiety. Following are three approaches that can help diminish these unwanted feelings and can lead to a healthier and happier life.
- Mind: The mind is a powerful tool that can either be one’s best friend or worst enemy. Therefore, we must reroute our minds to understand our own personal mental health. Understand and accept that you cannot control everything. Ask yourself, are things really as bad as they seem? The answer is usually, probably not. Do your best and celebrate the little victories. Have a positive attitude. Does having a negative attitude solve the problem? Learn what triggers your stress and anxiety. Identify if it is school, family, work, relationships, or something else.
- Body: The body is a physical example of what is happening in your body. By managing what you do and what you put in your body can significantly impact how you feel. Here are a few things to consider: Limit caffeine and alcohol because stimulants can increase the stress on the body and cause one to feel more anxious. Eat a well-balanced diet. Sound eating will fuel your body. You will have more energy to accomplish tasks throughout the day. Get plenty of sleep. In times of excessive stress, the body is often compromised in the process; therefore, it is important to increase the amount of rest you get. Get plenty of exercise. Working out and doing something physically active can make you feel better as well as provide a way to relieve stress and increase endorphins.
- Action: Taking action is one way that you can relieve your stress and anxiety when they are present. Here are some ways to relieve your stress: Take deep breaths and count to 10. Talk to someone. Get professional help if needed.
Writer: Marisa Quon: Nursing Student, Azusa Pacific University