Stress. It is a word used to describe an experience that every person can relate to at one time or another. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stress is a reaction to a situation where a person feels threatened or anxious. Stress can be positive (e.g., preparing for a wedding) or negative (e.g., dealing with a natural disaster). The symptoms may be physical or emotional.
Every person copes with stress differently, and there are multitudes of factors that are sometimes in your control, and some that simply are out of your control. I know for myself, I can get very overwhelmed when I am stressed and can turn to behaviors that are not healthy for myself or for others around me. It can be difficult to be our best selves in these types of situations, but we owe it to ourselves and others to acknowledge those feelings, recognize why we are feeling this way, and then choose to cope as best as we know how. Here are a couple tips to help boost your dose of kindness to yourself and others in stressful situations.
Be Kind to Yourself
It is so important to take a moment for YOU when you feel stressed! Your mental and physical health depend upon it. You can implement simple, short moments into your day that will help you cope with whatever is coming up for you. Here are three of my go-to’s.
- Make the mental decision to sit down, close your eyes, tune out all the noise, and take three slow, deep breaths. Repeat a few times.
- Give yourself a pep talk! Tell yourself one thing that you did well that day – it could be the fact that you made the choice to get out of bed. It could be that you successfully fed and dressed a real live human child and got them to school on time. Turn this positive fact into a sentence: “I am so good at [insert superpower moment] and if I can do that, then I can definitely do [insert future superpower moment].” This totally works for me, makes me feel like Wonder Woman, and helps me be kind to myself and others throughout my day.
- Give yourself a 60-second foot or hand massage. Take the shoes off, sit down, breathe deep, and rub your feet! They deserve it. So do you.
Be Kind to Others
Ever been around someone who is stressed? I have. Sometimes it has no effect on me. Sometimes I can’t help but feel like that person’s stress ball is rubbing off on me, and in turn, making me feel stressed. So just remember when that happens – be kind. Depending on the relationship, sometimes all that person needs is some personal space, and sometimes all they need is a hug. Whatever this person needs, remember to always take care of yourself, and if you are in a position to help, do so with kindness, empathy, and compassion. People sometimes just want to be seen, and want to feel that they are understood.