Traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions can come with a heavy dose of stress. Not only are the life events in combat stressful, but managing their mental impact after the fact can be challenging. Stress can lead to trouble sleeping, anxiousness, depression, headaches, and more. Finding ways to relax and unwind can be incredibly beneficial for service members who suffer from psychological health conditions. Luckily, there are many ways to manage and relieve stress that anyone can try. Here are five tips for managing stress after a TBI:
Running, yoga, kick-boxing, etc. are all great ways to relieve stress! It’s one of the healthiest things you can do for your physical and mental health. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which make you feel happier and more at ease. Lack of sleep can often be a result of increased levels of stress, so an added benefit of exercising is that it helps you sleep better at night. Next time you feel stressed, try going for a walk, a hike, or trying out a fitness class at a local gym!
2. TAKE DEEP BREATHS
Something as simple as taking a few minutes to close your eyes and breathe deeply can lower your blood pressure and bring down your heart rate significantly. By blocking out other thoughts and focusing solely on breathing in and out, your body begins to relax and lower your stress levels. It may help to mentally count while you breathe to truly shift your focus on the task at hand. “Deep breath in, 2, 3, 4, 5. Breathe out, 2, 3, 4, 5.“
Smiling is one of the best things you can do to lift your mood! If you have a go-to sitcom to watch, put on an episode and laugh away. If you have a time crunch, look up a funny video on YouTube that always bring a smile to your face. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
4. PAMPER YOURSELF
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should go to the spa (though it’s a wonderful option if you can!). Pampering yourself can be as simple as taking a long bath. Light a few candles or add a few drops of lavender oil to your bath water to help relieve stress and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Lavender also helps you sleep, so that’s just another benefit of having it handy when you’re feeling anxious. Taking a bath is comforting and soothing, so it’s a good way to end a day, especially if it was a stressful one. To make it even better, try playing soft music or read a book while you enjoy your soak.
5. SPEND TIME WITH LOVED ONES
Being around positive and supportive people can make you feel great. It’s encouraging to be around them, especially if they make you laugh and make you feel better mentally and emotionally. Whether this means getting dinner with close friends or going for a walk with a family member, find time to surround yourself with people who bring you joy. Connecting with the ones we love can give us a sense of peace.
If you struggle with stress to the point where it is negatively affecting your everyday life, please seek guidance and help. Remember that you are not alone in suffering from TBI or psychological health conditions. If you’re looking to get help to manage these conditions or know of someone who can, here’s how to get started.
Posted on October 16 2017 in Blog