Ways Men Can Combat Stress
Stress is one of our body’s natural responses when we perceive a threat or challenge, but not all stressors are bad.
This response can improve your ability to handle pressure and keep you on your toes. On the other hand, chronic stress and stress overload can become a problem if not managed. This can be a serious issue if you’re stuck in one place for weeks on end because of the stay-at-home order. When it comes to coping with stress at home, you’ll need to take a double-pronged approach: prevention and mitigation. Here’s how:
1. Develop resiliency.
A large part of how we experience stress has more to do with how we handle it and less about the actual stressor. A stressor can feel like summiting Everest to one man and a relatively easy uphill trek to another. To be able to handle stress properly, you should develop resiliency. Without a resilient approach to life, all the other stress-management tips here won’t amount to much. Thus, it’s important to invest time to understand what this trait means and what you can do to develop it.
Several studies show how mindfulness and meditation can normalize blood pressure and make your adrenal glands produce less cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. Meditation may seem intimidating at first, but it’s quite easy for beginners to get into the habit. Even a 15-minute meditation session, if done consistently for a few weeks, can have positive results.
To ease yourself into the habit, you can do a little prep before each session. You might want to move into a quieter space in the house and put on more comfortable clothes. These can help you meditate with more focus and physical ease.
3. Get enough sleep.
Sleep and stress create something of a catch-22 problem, where the factors are too closely tied to each other, making a solution more difficult to attain. We need sleep to help our bodies and minds recover and cope with stress, but stress sometimes prevents us from getting the sleep we need. See the problem?
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to get a good night’s sleep, even when you’re tense:
- Meditate for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Don’t look at a screen an hour before going to bed.
- Use white noise (crashing waves, rain sounds, or even TV white noise helps).
- Write down your thoughts.
- Keep your room comfortably warm.
4. Drink some OJ.
Research conducted at the University of Alabama found that rats that were given 200 mg of vitamin C twice a day produced significantly less cortisol. So if you drink two glasses of orange juice daily, you’ll get the vitamin C you need, plus it can help you feel more relaxed. Aside from orange juice, you can also try consuming vitamin C-rich foods like strawberries and sweet red peppers as part of your daily diet.
5. Learn when to let go of control.
Living with perfectionism can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes, you just need to tell yourself that things will get done, then get over with it. Especially now that everyone is feeling uncertain due to the pandemic, it’s even more important to take things one step at a time and remind ourselves that this will eventually end, and life will go on.
6. Get active.
If you only want to take two things from this entire article, we highly suggest going with the first, resiliency, and this one. Exercise isn’t, has never been, and will never be overrated. Not only does it reduce stress, but it can also prevent you from experiencing stress even when challenges pile up.
When you have the strength, endurance, and mindset to do anything, you turn into a high-performing individual.
Start with a simple exercise routine, and if possible, do a mix of indoor and outdoor exercises while keeping precautionary measures in mind.
7. Write down your thoughts.
Writing down what’s worrying you helps you let go of these worries as you wrap up your day, but this tactic works just as effectively anytime you want to reduce stress. You probably have a long list of things that are overwhelming you right now. Take time to write them down on paper or type them in a notepad. Next, create an action plan for each item. Don’t go mastermind mode though; just stick to small, detailed, and specific things you can do to tackle each stressor on your list.
Men typically deal with stress by retiring to the man cave and becoming a hermit. While it’s perfectly fine to take time off to sort through stuff in our heads, studies show that social interaction can be a powerful stress-buster.
Reach out to friends you haven’t gotten in touch with for a while, check on your family, or join a forum of like-minded individuals and indulge in your hobbies. All this can be done online now, so there’s no excuse to not be able to socialize.
Take things one step at a time.
Everything that’s going on now in the world and our lives is subject to change, even this pandemic, so don’t let the things that are stressing you win so easily. Concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. And if you still need help or are having difficulty managing stress on your own, don’t be afraid to talk to a professional.