Mental Health

5 Simple Strategies to Manage Stress During Major Life Events

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Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Every once in a while, life throws us an unexpected curveball that forces us to accept new changes and responsibilities. Times of unforeseen change can cause extreme stress in the most mentally sound individuals, and coping strategies are often necessary.

Here are 5 effective strategies to help you handle stress during major life events

1.  Cut Out Distractions

Cutting out distractions is the first and simplest stress management technique you should apply. When a major life event requires significant amounts of time and energy from you, the last thing you want is to overwhelm yourself with less-important things.

Limiting your consumption of television and social media will help you sleep better and focus on the current situation. You should also be mindful of the people around you. If you think a family member, friend, or co-worker might add to your stress levels, avoid their company until the event blows over.

The most important part of cutting out distractions is knowing when to say “no.” If you’re feeling too stressed, don’t feel obligated to attend social gatherings or spend extra time at work. Go home and spend time with people you know will help you through a stressful event.

2.  Write Down Your Thoughts

major life events

Writing or journaling one’s thoughts is a tried-and-true way to manage stress and keep a healthy perspective on life. You can take this strategy in many directions. You might write about how your current situation has positively affected you – new friends, new opportunities, etc. – or simply use your journal as a venting mechanism. Everyone’s writing process is different.

If you’re planning for a major event, writing a checklist will help you juggle time-sensitive tasks and stay on track for the big day. If you’re worried about costs, start with setting a budget to control how much you spend. Put your thoughts and ideas on paper instead of letting them cause a commotion inside your head.

3.  Maintain Your Routine

One significant change is stressful enough, so why overload yourself with other changes? Try to stick with your daily routine as much as possible. Keep on working and doing your hobbies to stay occupied. Simple tasks like washing the dishes and walking the dog will also give your mind some rest and help maintain a sense of normalcy.

Besides, one big change or traumatic experience doesn’t entitle you to ignore your other responsibilities. Life goes on. Other people still need you. Your routine keeps you grounded in reality and helps you stay on track toward your long-term goals. However, there are a few slight schedule changes you can make to help alleviate stress.

4.  Stay Healthy

major life events

Adding a new diet and exercise plan to your routine can significantly reduce your stress levels. A major life event might not seem like the most opportune time to make a lifestyle change, but the change doesn’t have to be drastic. Simple activities like walking, meditation, and breathing exercises are enough to help you wind down and relax after a stressful day.

Your diet alterations can also be sweet and simple. If you find yourself reaching for sugary comfort foods to cope with stress, eat a healthy and filling snack instead. A nutrient-rich diet will boost your energy and balance your hormones, giving your body the strength to power through life’s challenges.

You won’t always feel motivated to exercise or eat healthy, but your discipline and inner toughness will keep you going. The same goes for a stressful life event. Even if you don’t think you’re strong enough to handle it, you will find a way to persevere.

5.  Talk to Someone

If the previous four strategies aren’t sufficient, you need to talk to someone. Reach out to a trusted loved one and tell them what’s on your mind. They might have experienced a similar situation and can give you great insights about coping with the stress. If the stress has changed to depression and severe anxiety, consider hiring a therapist.

No matter who you choose to speak with, the conversation must be productive. Don’t use the person to vent your frustrations; talk about what you can do to make the situation better. Discuss the long-term benefits of the event that’s causing you stress. If you’re going to ask for help, you must be willing to listen to the solutions people have to offer.

Always Keep a Positive Attitude

major life events

Change and stress are two inevitable parts of life. We all manage our stress in different ways, but the common theme of all coping strategies is a positive attitude. Whether you choose to eliminate social media, start writing a journal, or talk to a loved one, your attitude is the most important thing.

Don’t let temporary negative feelings impact your overall mindset. Despite the changes around you, you’re still in control of your thoughts and emotions. Always keep a positive attitude and you will have the strength to handle any major life event!

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