Humans are creatures of habit and routine. Whenever habits or routines are altered due to life-changing events, we experience stress. Moving, marriage, divorce, new careers, and/or children are some life-changing events that harbor mixed emotions. Mixed emotions vary from excitement and anticipation, to anxiety and sadness. With the compounding of change and new emotions in our routine lives, we experience acute stress and the possibility of chronic stress.
By definition, acute stress occurs immediately after a life-changing event. A life-changing event may cause emotions of “numbness” in the mind and body thus leaving one extremely unmotivated to complete daily routines. It has been reported acute stress lasts from two to four weeks. When left untreated, acute stress may grow into chronic stress. Chronic stress is the result of untreated acute depression and can severely alter daily routines and significantly affect mental and physical health.
So how can individuals avoid the paralyzing affects of acute and chronic stress? If you can accept life-changing events may alter your daily routine you will become more resilient to future unexpected change. There are also two tips I live by that counteract the unsettling emotions of stress. As you deal with the stressful event(s), these tips link you back into reality because they keep you in tune with your favorite routines.
It’s all in the details. You may be under stress but make time for the little things in life. It has been proven individuals suffering from major stress feel more in control of their lives with a hands-on activity. The activity can be as simple as cleaning the kitchen or organizing your closet. You can also make a list of favorite (and new) hobbies you want to try. What opportunities interest you? What sparks your curiosity?
Small acts of self-care. They are easy, they take minimal time, and the small things add up to big results of positive emotions. Walking for ten minutes, reading half of a chapter in your favorite book, journaling for five minutes, and/or any brief activity during acute or chronic stress will ease your anxiety. This works because it distracts your mind with a productive task.
I encourage you to try these two tips so you can keep your routine in an ever-changing world. If you stick with these tips during a stressful event you will find it much easier to gain back your old routine after the stressful event has passed. Good luck and as always, live happy, live healthy.