What can we do about our stress and mental health?
The first step in looking after our mental health is to educate ourselves about mental health conditions and recognize when we are not doing well. Prevention and early intervention are important steps in avoiding stress to escalate into a mental health diagnosis.
13 Tips to Help You Cope With Stress
1.) Accept your feelings and acknowledge that you may be struggling
Individuals who are good at recognizing their emotions are less likely to binge drink, be physically aggressive, or self-injure when distressed. Free stress screenings are available online or through your medical provider.
For a free stress screening, go to www.mhanational.org/get-involved/stress-screener.
Discuss your results with your medical provider or person you trust to explore the next steps.
2.) Notice and make efforts to handle your unusual behavior
Behaviors we exhibit can be a sign of a mental illness – bursting into tears, constant displays of anger, sadness, isolation, excessive drinking, etc.
3.) Set healthy boundaries
Learn to feel comfortable saying “No” without feeling guilty. Self-care is primordial.
4.) Taking time out for self-care
It is not selfish to take time to decompress and take care of oneself. It is a necessity. Besides, we cannot be there for others if we cannot take care of ourselves first.
5.) Establish a support network
Reach out to a trusted family or friend, religious leader, or support group. Reach out to them in person or via telephone or a video call.
6.) Seek Professional help
Talk to your Medical Provider, seek professional counseling, and take a whole health approach to receive the proper medical and behavioral health care.
7.) Be hopeful
You are not alone. Approximately 21% of all U.S. adults live with a mental health condition (Mental Health America).
8.) Good Nutrition and Good Sleep Hygiene
Eat healthy food that will nourish your body and brain and have at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily if you’re an adult.
9.) Identify and use healthy coping skills
Engage in healthy activities or strategies that help you reduce stress or tolerate tough feelings. Examples of healthy activities to reduce stress include:
- calling a friend
- watching a funny movie
- working out
- And much more.
Examples of poor coping skills include:
- Drinking alcohol
- Going on shopping sprees
10.) Get a pet
Studies have shown that pets provide happiness and emotional support and relieve stress to their owners.
11.) Use Humor
Reduces levels of stress hormones and releases endorphins (nature’s natural pain blockers).
12.) Work on finding a work-life balance
Poor work-life balance increases your risk for health conditions such as sleep problems, digestive disorders, and mental health problems. Productivity and effectiveness at work also decrease when in a burnout state.
13.) Practice Gratitude
According to research done by Harvard Medical School, positive emotions are linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being. On the other hand, chronic anger, worry, and hostility increase the risk of developing heart disease.
For specific mental health screening tests go to https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/. Note that these tools are intended to screen for mental health conditions, and results alone do not signify that a person meets the criteria for mental health conditions. Further assessment needs to be done by an appropriate professional health care provider.
County Crises Lines:
- Merced County BHRS
- Stanislaus County BHRH
- San Joaquin BHRS
(209) 468-8686 (Crisis)
(209) 468—9370 (Helpline)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Suicide Prevention Hotline
Beginning July 16, 2022, you may call or text 988