With so much change happening in Ontario’s education community, it’s inevitable that you will feel some level of stress. When you experience stress, it’s difficult to focus on the task at hand as simple as it may be. Stress can lead to fatigue, headaches, stomach aches, muscle tension and heart attacks. The good news is that you can take action and combat stress, beginning with a few simple and proven ways.1
First off, knowing what triggers your stress is the first step in being able to avoid those situations. For instance, if you feel rushed in the morning and that causes you stress, try to wake up ten minutes earlier in the morning or complete some tasks the night before, such as making a lunch.
Taking a walk or getting some fresh air is one of the best remedies to cure stress. Exercising releases blood to the brain which then triggers the brain to release feel-good hormones and chemicals, like endorphins.2 Endorphins reduce your perception to pain and are a natural mood booster. Even ten minutes of walking can make a big difference in your stress level.
Breathing slow, deep breaths can significantly decrease your stress level. There are many breathing techniques and apps you can use when feeling tense. For instance, take three sets of five breaths with a four-second inhale and six-second exhale. When inhaling, think of the negative emotions you are feeling and on the exhale, let them all go. Imagine the negativity being released from your body and mind.
With controlled breathing comes stillness. Meditation is one of the best tools you can incorporate into your daily life to counteract stress.3 While meditating, your body releases stress and will reverse the effects of the flight-or-fight response.
Try to incorporate one or more of these tips when feeling tense to ease the negative side effects. If the stress is unmanageable, eligible OTIP members have access to FeelingBetterNow® (FBN), a mental health management program that is available 24/7. To learn more about your eligibility and how FBN can help you, please contact OTIP at 1‑866‑783‑6847 or your local union representative. Get started today at www.feelingbetternow.com/otip.
1 & 2. The Entrepreneur