Simple Tips to Stay Healthy when Your Life or Job Stress is High
- Don’t be isolated. Have at least one or two people in your life that you spend time with, talk to and socialize with. Loneliness and social isolation is associated with a number of health and mental health problems.
- Set minimum guidelines or standards for yourself for sleep, exercise, etc. For example, make sure you get 8 hours of sleep 4 nights a week, even if you have to burn the midnight oil a few other nights (figure out where you can stick to these healthy behaviors). Don’t get caught up in a prolonged cycle without adequate sleep or exercise.
- Stay positive. Focus on what is to celebrate in the moment, rather than on what’s wrong (there’s always something wrong, but we don’t have to make it our focus).
- Find 5-10 minutes a day to practice mindfulness meditation (especially loving-kindness meditation). Research has demonstrated that even 70 minutes total of meditation a week significantly improves mood and health. (See Barbara Fredrickson’s website: www.positivity.com).
- Identify your strengths (www.strengthsfinder.com or www.authentichappiness.com) and your core values (what you really care about and want your life to be for) and use the strengths and values everyday. This gives even stressful life meaning and purpose and is protective of health and well-being.
- Be present in your life. Stay in the now. You are more likely to experience “flow,” a process of genuine engagement in life that makes life more satisfying. We are not in “flow” when we watch too much TV or space or veg out, for example. Or when we just focus on the to-do list…
- Set limits on electronic communications, such times you will check e-mail and times you will not.