Nobody is immune to stress. It’s a normal human reaction. But managing a chronic illness like a bleeding disorder can pile on even more stress to an already hectic life. People experience stress in different ways, and the signs and symptoms can be both physical and mental, including headaches, fatigue, stomachaches, trouble sleeping, anxiety and social withdrawal. If left unchecked, chronic stress can increase the risk of long-term health issues. So it’s critical to recognize when stress is taking a toll and find ways to reduce it. Try these strategies.
• Pay attention to the signs of stress
Sometimes we’re so caught up in our lives, we don’t even notice the load we’re under. If you’re experiencing headaches, feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping, for example, take a step back and think about whether stress could be the cause. The sooner you recognize the problem, the quicker you can address it.
• Maintain healthy habits
Choose to eat a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and make time to relax. Many causes of stress are out of your control, so it’s important to get a handle on the things you can control.
• Relax your muscles
Start at the top of your body and tighten, hold and then release each group of muscles as you work toward your toes.
• Try deep breathing
Inhale through the nose, pushing the stomach out as you take in air. Hold your breath for a count of four, then let out your breath through your mouth. Imagine that you are blowing out tension. Breathe in and out this way until you feel more relaxed.
• Practice relaxing activities
Meditation, massage or listening to music can help you feel calmer and zap stress.
• Talk to someone about your problems
Share your thoughts and emotions with friends and family. You might not be able to make an issue that’s causing you stress disappear, but talking it out may help you feel better.
• Manage your time better
Think in advance about ways you can combine tasks for increased efficiency. Don’t be afraid to say no to things you don’t have time for.
• Spend time with a pet
Being with a pet can help you relax. Merely stroking a cat or taking a dog for a walk can be a great stress reducer.
Recognizing life’s funny moments can help keep stress in perspective.