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Stress, How to Deal with it?

Stress has always been largely unavoidable but for many young people in today’s fast-paced world, it’s become a huge part of their day-to-day. From mild inconveniences like being late to class to major problems like losing a loved one, stressors make it easy to feel overwhelmed. However, by understanding stress, its causes, and ways to cope with it, we can take control of our well-being and deal with our stressors confidently. Let’s start by acknowledging that stress is just a natural part of being human. It’s the body’s natural response to demands or threats. When people perceive a situation as challenging or overwhelming, their bodies release stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline to prepare for a fight-or-flight response. While this response can be useful in certain situations, prolonged or excessive stress can be extremely detrimental to both someone’s physical and mental health concerns, especially during early adulthood. Young people face a variety of stressors as they transition from adolescents to adults. Academic pressures, like exams, assignments, and the pressure to succeed often contribute to elevated levels of stress. Social pressures, like relationships with peers and societal expectations, can also be sources of stress. Add to that list the concerns of the future and what it holds like career choices, finances, and uncertainties about your purpose. The impact of stress on young adults’ well-being can affect them physically, emotionally, and behaviorally. Physically, stress can present itself in symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, and digestive issues. Chronic stress during young adulthood has been shown to lead to long-term health issues including but not limited to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, immune system dysfunction, and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Emotionally, stress can lead to feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, sadness, or irritability. Behaviorally, it may result in changes in sleep patterns, appetite, social withdrawal, or engaging in risky behaviours like substance abuse. Fortunately, there are many strategies that you can use to cope with stress effectively and promote overall well-being during this period of your life. One of the most important steps is to step back and recognize when you are feeling stressed. By tuning to your emotions and physical sensations, you can better understand the root causes of your stress and take proactive steps to address them. Leaving it alone until the last minute is what leads to burnout and breakdowns. Practical coping strategies for managing stress include practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. Taking time each day to engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as spending time outdoors, listening to music, or engaging in hobbies, can also help alleviate stress and promote a sense of well-being. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, prioritizing sleep, and avoiding excessive alcohol and substance use are keyways to managing stress. Healthy body, healthy mind a healthy mind is more equipped to deal with stress than one that is not Physical activity, in particular, has been shown to reduce stress hormones in the body and promote feelings of relaxation and well-being. It’s also something you can do to boost your self-esteem which enables you to confidently face tasks head-on. Setting boundaries and managing time effectively can also help with reducing stress levels. This can be hard during early adulthood because spending time with friends having and fun becomes a priority, which isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it has to be in moderation. Learning to say no to extra responsibilities when necessary, choosing how to spend your time and energy, and prioritizing tasks based on importance and urgency can prevent feeling overwhelmed and give you a sense of control over your life.

Finally, reach out for support when you need it. Whether it’s talking to a friend, a family member, or even a professional at Break Free Family Centre, there’s no shame in asking for help. Seeking support from people you trust can provide you with valuable perspective and comfort. Although, stress is a natural part of the transition from adolescence to adulthood, but it does not have to dictate your life. By gaining insight into yourself and building coping strategies to deal with the inevitable, you can better manage your stressors and improve your well-being.