Self-Care and Stress Management Techniques

What is adulting? We all have our own explanation, as it is relative to our own life choices. Whatever definition we provide, the universal truth is that it is difficult at best. With the stressors of today, family conflicts, working, finances, and parenting, most of us find it difficult to keep our heads on straight and not make things worse. That is why it is imperative to not only understand self-care but have an arsenal of stress management techniques in our metaphorical fanny pack.


Self-care means to ensure the time necessary to prioritize mental and physical well-being. The idea is to establish a foundation for living well and manage stress levels by utilizing stress management techniques. These tools are necessary to help manage physical illness, emotional regulation, relationship dynamics and promote positive energy to meet all of life’s challenges. As we learn and implement these techniques, not only are we taking care of ourselves for today, but we are also encouraging a better self for our futures also.


So, what are stress management techniques and how do we begin to utilize the benefits in our daily lives? Uniquely, the answer to this question lies within the individual and their own life cycle. Adulting leads to similar stressors amongst us, but we all utilize and understand tools differently. For example, exercise is considered one of the better options for self-care. This, however, is not able to be met by everyone every day. With this being said, learning who we are, and our own individual needs allows us to make the very important choice to choose a quality of life worth living.


Stress management techniques fall into different categories of understanding and know how. Examples of how to do so include:


1. Avoid unnecessary stress: Not all stress is able to be avoided, but it is important to know which areas we can avoid. Simply learning how to say NO creates good boundaries and established limitations. Taking too much on is a recipe for disaster, both emotionally and physically. Learning to take control of your environment and minimizing triggering topics with help emotionally regulate and reduce anxiety.


2. Alter the triggering environment: Identifying difficult triggers and altering the circumstance are part of our available resources. Utilizing our voices and expressing our feelings, allows us to be more confident and assertive. Compromising and time management are parts of navigating the environment, to be certain that we are not taking a backseat in our lives.


3. Adapt to the stressor: Sometimes the stressor cannot be changed. What is the appropriate answer? Change yourself. Our expectations and attitudes can be altered to help maintain a continuity of control. Finding answers in the big pictures and focusing on the positive create a reasonable perception and a more secure reality.


4. Accept the things you cannot change: This understanding is one of the more important concepts because our control is extremely limited. For example, the behaviors of others and their choices are not something we have a say so in. Our control comes in the way we respond to difficult situations. People will be people with or without our say so. Let them. Their choices do not define us; our individual response is what determines the quality of the outcome.


5. Make time for fun and relaxation: We can reduce anxieties and stress through choosing to nurture ourselves. Purposely setting time aside each day allows us to fill life’s cup with joy, happiness, and relaxation. The best part of this is that it does not have to cost a dime. Finding hobbies that can be done at home or with family/friends is a fantastic way to engage in healthy activities. Life is hectic enough; we can all add some humor into our day.


The quality of or well-being, both mentally and physically, is and will always be our responsibility. Anything worth doing, is worth doing well. Take each day as a blessing. Our choices are our own. If we can learn to negatively adapt to stress, it must be true that we can adapt positively, should we just choose ourselves. Remember, we cannot be good for others until we are good for ourselves.

Meet the author:

              Jason Robertson                  Mental Health Director MSW,LCSW, CDBT