Stress is normal in today’s world. It seems to parade in front of most of us on a daily basis. When you or your loved ones are dealing with an injury or illness, your stress level gets a boost. My husband’s on-the-job injury resulted in fighting our way through worker’s compensation, medical complications and more. My stress level zoomed through the roof! Here are five ways I coped with stress along the way.
- Let go of what you can’t control. Stress is always worse when you when you try to control the uncontrollable. That’s easier said than done. You need to force yourself to focus on what you can control so you can move forward. When my husband was injured, stress became almost paralyzing. I had to force myself to take each step. Moving onward, even if it’s a small success, is empowering and reduces stress.
- Use exercise and hobbies as stress reducers. Don’t give up exercise, hobbies or nutrition. You must take care of YOU before you can take care of others. Make time to exercise. Do something fun. It’s easier to manage a stressful situation…and even ongoing stress…. when there’s something you enjoy doing on the horizon.
- Reduce extracurricular activities that you don’t enjoy. Trim activities that you don’t have to do and don’t enjoy from your “to do” list. Replace activities that are just taking up your time with things that you must do or enjoy doing. Freeing up time for other things reduces stress.
- Manage your time to reduce stress. If you’re letting you to-do list grow, it will soon overwhelm you. I did this when my husband was injured. Looking back, all I can say is: Wow, why did I allow myself to do that! I’m a good manager of time, so I can do a lot. But, there’s a limit on what any person can do. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Pick and choose so that you manage your time well.
- Attitude is gratitude. Look for the “pearls of wisdom” in situations. There’s always a benefit or something that you can learn, even if it’s not readily apparent. People who take the time to be grateful exude a more positive attitude. And, there’s your stress reducer.
Stress was such a big part of my life in the years following my husband’s injury that I decided to share my story to help others. You can read my story and learn more about how I coped during this time in my life in “The Dark Side of Injury”.