The weekend is coming up and the big Thanksgiving dinner, for many of us, has passed. That means it’s time to recharge, enjoy yourself, and put the stresses of the week behind you.
But even if you didn’t have a stressful week—i.e., nothing went berserk on the job front, your relationship ran smoothly, the bills are paid, there’s cash in the bank, and dinner went off without a hitch—living a productive life still takes its toll. Preventing cumulative stress becomes the name of the game.
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Stressors aren’t always negatives. Working hard at your job, for example, is a good thing. Hitting the gym and getting quality workouts in every week is also a positive. Getting together with loved ones and being there for your family is fulfilling, but it takes work. All these things take effort and can drain you of energy, but they aren’t bad things. Not all stressors are negative.
But everyone only has so much gas in the tank, so when the big bad stressors hit, like fights with loved ones, a tough project at work, bills getting tight, heavy traffic, or something else, your body responds.
Stress can take its toll physically and even the healthiest bodies are weakened by it. Some people flat-out collapse; their organs shut down and they have to go to the hospital. Others just can’t get out of bed or experience chronic pain until they recover. But how can you recover?
Take Measures to Prevent Cumulative Stress Before It Happens
Stress recovery is almost as cumulative as stress is, so taking preemptive measures against stress is important to lessen the blow when high-stress situations hit. You can prepare yourself for (and even relieve) stress by getting adequate sleep, eating right, taking time to yourself (meditation), and taking time to enjoy yourself. Let yourself laugh with friends or even on your own; read a funny book or watch a skit by your favorite comedian. Laughter is therapeutic! All of these things can help keep your gas tank full as other things—workouts, working hard, family, and additional stressors—may diminish your fuel.
Keep to a Schedule
Setting up a routine and sustainable pace is the best way to protect yourself; so basically, try and avoid biting off more than you can chew. By keeping a sustainable schedule throughout the week that provides time for work, family, hobbies, sleep, laughter, and eating right, you won’t be spreading yourself too thin. This helps keep your energy levels high and everyday stressors in check, ensuring you’ll be better prepared to handle excess stressors when they arise.
So in summary, follow these three simple points to prevent cumulative stress:
- Make sure you get a good night’s sleep as often as you can, and make up for lost hours on the weekend or the following week.
- Eat a regular, healthy diet so you have energy to face the challenges of the day.
- Most importantly, take time to enjoy yourself. Laugh!
Don’t wait for life’s demands to pile up too high. Everything in your life, whether good or bad, can take gas out of your tank. Do your best to keep the tank filled, so you don’t run out when you have to make it up a steep hill!