I’d like to talk about stress and how stress affects you and what you can do holistically to help you with your stress. So what is stress? Stress is your body’s way of dealing with something that either overwhelms you or threatens you. You may identify it as Fight or Flight. Most people think that stress is bad, but it can be good. When stress is functioning properly then one can have more focus, more productivity, and be more energetic. However, when it is bad then it can affect your relationships, health, productivity, etc.

So how do you know when stress is too much? There are certain behavioral, physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms. Behavioral signs might be eating or sleeping or using drugs or alcohol. Physical symptoms may be heart palpitations or aches and pains. Emotional signs could include irritability or short tempered or feelings of loneliness or isolation. And lastly cognitive symptoms may include memory problems or inability to concentrate.

Now that you can identify or at least recognize stress how might you manage this stress using holistic means. First off, recognizing your stress is the first to beginning to learn to manage it. Secondly, you can learn to recharge your batteries. This may mean different things to different people. Some ways to recharge those batteries may be a walk-in nature, playing with your pets, taking a bubble bath, or just doing something you enjoy every day. Management might also include incorporating the 4 A’s: avoid, alter, adapt, and accept. Avoid may be learning to say NO or avoiding those things/people that stress you out. Alter may be learning to become more assertive or learn to manage your time. Adapt principles include looking at the big picture or focusing on the positive. And lastly Accept includes learning to forgive or don’t try to control the uncontrollable.

Holistic measures are many. Some of these include body work such as acupuncture, reflexology, or massage. Body movement can be tai chi, Qi gong, dance, or yoga. Journaling is another great stress reliever. You can do actual written journals, or you can do art journaling. Meditation and breathing are two other great stress relievers. Aromatherapy or essential oils are wonderful ways to relieve stress. There are many ways essential oils can help relieve stress. You can wear certain jewelry that you can place a drop of your favorite essential oil. Diffusers are great to have in your home or even your car. There are ones that you can plug into a USB port to have at your desk. My favorite holistic stress management technique is color therapy. This is twofold. Color affects how we handle stress; some people like muted colors whereas others like bright colors that make one happy. Color therapy also means actual coloring. I have kept a coloring book and crayons beside my bed long before adult coloring books came along.

Just because you are stressed does not mean you have to use alcohol or drugs (either prescription or illegal) to handle your stress. There are so many other ways and the above information is only scratching the surface.