We all experience stress. But when stress is frequent and intense, it can strain both your body and your mind, making it feel impossible to function.

Finding effective ways to de-stress and improve mental wellness is crucial.

Impact of stress
Stress affects your entire body and mind. Common signs include:

  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Difficulty concentrating

When facing chronic stress, your brain is exposed to increased levels of the hormone cortisol. This weakens your immune system, making it easier for you to get sick. Stress can also contribute to worsening mental health.

When are you most vulnerable to stress?
People are most susceptible to stress when they are:

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Not eating well
  • Experiencing poor physical health
  • Not finding support or feeling alone
  • Experiencing a major life change such as:
    • Moving
    • The death of a loved one
    • Starting a new job or school
    • Having a child
    • Getting married/divorced

How to reduce stress
Developing a customized approach to reducing stress can help you improve your overall mental and physical wellness. Once you’ve learned what causes your stress, experiment with coping strategies. Here are some ways to de-stress at home and in our community:

  • Acknowledge your triggers. What situations affect you physically and mentally? Once you know this, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps to avoid these stressors, or, if they are unavoidable, de-stress. One great way to care for your physical and mental health is by visiting a chiropractor. Chiropractors use hands-on adjustments to reduce pain and help your body heal itself, and thankfully Kosciusko County offers plenty of options for personalized chiropractic care.
  • Relax. Meditation, breathing, and mindfulness are all excellent ways to de-stress. Treating yourself to a day at the spa for facials or a massage helps not only your body, but also your mind. Enjoy a day of wellness at any of our local spas.
  • Get moving. Schedule time to walk outside, bike local trails, or join a yoga class. Exercise produces stress-relieving hormones in your body and improves your overall health. Our Kosciusko YMCA has everything from personal training to swim classes to basketball courts and everything in between. For more ideas like this, check out our blog about how to get moving.
  • Set time for yourself to reset. Schedule something that makes you feel good. Whether that be exploring the outdoors, going for a walk, or just enjoying quiet time, resetting—especially in nature—is essential.
  • Eat well. Overall mental and physical wellness comes from a foundation of healthy eating. Whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit can also help stabilize your mood and decrease your stress levels. Looking for healthier food options? Check out the local farmers markets or stop by one of the community’s health food stores.
  • Prioritize sleep. An increase in mental health can be triggered by getting too little sleep. Rest is a must for your wellbeing. Any list you will ever find on wellness will include good sleep as an essential.
  • Talk to someone. Whether to friends, family, or a counselor, getting support is very important for managing your stress and emotions. No one should feel alone or try to navigate the stress of life without people who care walking with them. 

Getting Help
If the steps you’ve taken to decrease your stress aren’t working, it may be time to share with your mental health professional. Don’t hesitate to find a local health provider that can help you deal with your struggles.

At K21, we recognize the immense benefits of taking time to de-stress, reset, and refresh. Mental and physical health are equally important, and we should never ignore the signs of chronic stress. For more mental health resources, visit k21healthfoundation.org.