We’re going through a rough patch, for sure. We thought we were done with the Covid pandemic and now we see bombs raining on Ukraine, the destruction of entire cities and thousands of refugees fleeing through Europe. If this wasn’t enough already, food prices are now increasing and bills are spendier than ever.
All of this adds up to the day-by-day routine: laundry piling up, relationships to take care of, a work-life balance to maintain. Our lives are being filled up with everyday issues beyond our control. Although stress is a perfectly normal response to this kind of life event, it is known that high levels of stress over a long period of time can cause physical issues, like disrupting the sleep cycle and digestion.
Moreover, stress is now linked to weakened immunity, accelerated skin aging process, as well as asthma episodes. As I have quite significant experience myself, I have collected 3 tips on how to manage the stress that psychologists generally agree on:
1) Engage in physical activities is a totally underrated tip: studies suggest that practicing physical activity during the week can reduce the amount of perceived stress and improve your overall mood.
2) Take a break! We all need to take some time to recollect our minds from daily stressors. This is particularly hard for those over-achievers among us, but it’s totally worth it: resume that long-ignored hobby, listen to your favorite music, meditation or yoga, make sure to save up some time to unwind and relax.
3) Connect with others. Not only does nurturing supportive relationships decrease the level of perceived stress but also receiving support from our loved ones helps our overall mental health, decreasing feelings of loneliness and depression.
Curiously enough, men's and women’s coping strategies differ significantly when it comes to stress – and women seem a step forward. Studies suggest that women respond to stressful situations by naturally seeking out connections with loved ones and communicating openly about their concerns.
Apparently, it all depends on our sex hormones. In times of stress, women’s body releases more oxytocin ( the ‘love hormone’ ) than men’s: this is why women are naturally more prone to create bonds, positive communication and trust. This response helps them significantly, as connection and support from loved ones are keys to overcoming stress.
Ilaria Brusa - PWN Content Creator