With so much going on in the world, many of us may be experiencing additional stress on top of our work, family and personal lives. Add to that constant connection to both positive and negative content through our digital devices, and many of us may find ourselves on overload.Baez

“We never really disconnect from stressors because phone messages and emails, relationship tensions, and social drama stay with us. With just a glance at a screen, we are quickly informed of everything that’s going on in the world,” says Dr. Maritza Baez, Family Medicine Physician with Lifetime Health Medical Group. She adds that a consistent state of being stressed out can cause physical harm such as loss of sleep, difficulty concentrating, and reduced immunity. If it persists, stress can contribute to depression, high blood pressure, heart conditions and asthma, among other conditions.

“Your mental and emotional wellbeing is just as important as your physical health,” says Dr. Baez. “Steps to reduce stress and anxiety should be part of an overall health and wellness routine.”

Some tips she offers for staying well include:

  • Put yourself FIRST. We put you first in your health care team because you have the most impact on your own wellbeing. Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself. Take some quiet time, go to bed early or say “no” when you need to.
  • Manage your health. Stay on top of preventive care such as appointments and tests, take medical appointment doctor healthcare 40568medications as directed, and take the time needed to heal or recover from injuries and illnesses. If you have chronic conditions, your health care team will help you monitor them to avoid complications and the stress that can come with them.
  • Maintain healthy routines. Incorporate small stress-busters into your schedule and work on making them a regular practice.
  • Nourish yourself. Healthy food helps maintain the nutritional balance your body and brain need. If you’re not sure where to start on a healthier diet, talk to your doctor for recommendations or resources.
  • Be active. Exercise, even moderate activity, can reduce fatigue and improve alertness and concentration. Activity also produces the body’s natural painkillers and stress-relieving chemicals.
  • Make changes gradually. If you want to make healthy lifestyle changes, try to focus on one or two at a time. This way, new healthy habits are more likely to stick. Your health care team can help you develop a plan that will work for you.
  • Socialize: Social interaction is a critically important contributor to good health and longevity. Thefriends Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported, “Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer.” It doesn’t have to be a big party if that’s not your scene. Some quality time with close friends works too!
  • Set yourself up for sleep. Leave devices out of the bedroom – and turn off all screens an hour before bed. Also limit stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine and sugar before bedtime.
  • Volunteer. It can help to focus on the needs of others for a little while, engage in a different kind of work, and possibly meet new people along the way.
  • Let go of work stress. According to a Harris Interactive survey conducted for the American Psychological Association, 41 percent of employed adults feel stressed out during a typical workday. Find simple ways to cut down on workplace stress so it doesn’t carry over to your personal life. More on reducing work stress here.
  • Do something different or visit someplace new, just for fun. 

“There’s no one-size-fits-all formula to relieve stress. Find the right thing—or combination of things—that works for you,” says Dr. Baez. “And give yourself permission not to feel guilty about it. It’s the same thing as taking time off when you’re sick. You’re giving yourself what you need to feel better and be at your best.”