The best ways to maintain good mental health during stressful periods

Stress is part of our lives, and you will most likely experience it from time to time, but over prolonged periods, it can affect your life, as it impacts your mental and physical health. Stress poses challenges to human life, as it leads to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes while also affecting relationships with people. Stress is normal and appears as a response to a demand or challenge that financial difficulties, work-related pressure, traumatic life events and relationship problems can cause. Stress can be acute, which appears for a short amount of time, for an important event, such as a job interview, and it can also be chronic or long-term in situations like ongoing work-related stress.

Stress will impact both physical and mental health, so it is very important to try your best to keep it under control. Physical effects of stress can include muscle tension, headaches, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue, while over time, it can also lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. Regarding the challenges stress can pose to your mental health, the effects can be feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbances and memory problems.

Although you can't erase stress from your life entirely, there are some ways in which you can maintain good mental health during these challenging periods. Here are a few of them. 

Sleep well

On average, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep, but it can be hard to get a good quality rest during stressful periods. Unfortunately, the lack of sleep will not leave you only with droopy eyelids, but it can also add anxiety and mood swings. Stress can come in life because of numerous factors, including a job loss, separation, or being a data breach victim. In the case of the last scenario, stress will appear, as it is hard for you to navigate the challenges of this situation, which will impact your mental health and not allow you to maintain a normal life or to sleep well. If you are ever the victim of a data breach, you should let experts take care of the matter and try to keep up with your life as much as possible. 

 If you have difficulty falling asleep, you should try some techniques that can help you, including:

  • Create a bedtime ritual, which includes not looking at laptops and phones for some time before you go to bed, and you can also stretch and take a bath, which will help you relax. 
  • Try to sleep at the same hour. If you want to improve your sleeping pattern, you should also try to go to bed at the same time, as this will add a routine and help you deal better with challenging times. If you can't fall asleep right away, you could read a book. However, try to keep the phone away, as the blue light from mobile devices can suppress melatonin, which will keep your brain alert.
  • Don't drink coffee in the evening: Your body needs four to six hours to metabolize it, so keep this in mind and avoid drinking it some hours before bed. 
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages can affect your sleeping, and they can even lead to disruptions throughout the night, so it will be better to avoid them during stressful periods. 

Keep track of unhealthy habits

If you want to maintain healthy habits, you should identify the unhealthy habits present in your life. In this way, you can see what you can improve. Here are the most popular unhealthy problems that individuals have during high periods of stress.

  • Emotional eating. When stress is present, a lot of individuals find comfort in unhealthy food, as they think that this will help them cope better with stress. However, this can lead later to disordered eating and can impact your body, leading to obesity and other health issues. 
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol. When individuals experience stress, they can try to reduce its effect by drinking and smoking, but the effects are temporary and will not last or help them deal better with these moments. Plus, they can also lead to additions and other complications.
  • Focusing on negative thoughts. Negative feelings and previous mistakes can also pose challenges, so it is important not to be too hard on yourself and to focus on positive thoughts, especially when dealing with a stressful period. 

Stick to your routine

To cope better with stress, it is essential to stick with your routine, which can be made with the help of a realistic plan, where you will set reasonable goals. When you want to create a routine, you need to pay attention to what you like and wish to improve, as this will help you greatly in this matter. You might even consider integrating sport into your life, as this will let you feel more energized, and try to exercise each day, in the morning or evening, depending on when you have more time.

But try not to be too harsh on yourself, and create routines that are convenient and easy, not complicated ones, which will make it harder to keep up with challenging goals. 

Be patient

Stressful periods come and go, so it is essential to be patient and focus on the positivity in your life. Additionally, adopting healthy habits will not happen overnight, and you will probably fail occasionally, which is totally okay, as we are humans, after all. So, patience is imperative in achieving goals, and you shouldn't overlook it. 

The bottom line

Maintaining good mental health is imperative, especially during stressful periods in life, which can impact our well-being. Although you can't cut off stress entirely, it is important to adopt some practices that will help you in this process, including the ones mentioned above. 

Also read: stress awareness day.

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