Stress can be defined as how overwhelmed or unable to cope we feel as a result of internal and external pressures. Stress in reasonable doses is a very necessary and helpful part of life, but too much stress is unproductive and can be physically and mentally harmful. For people with Tic Disorders and Tourette Syndrome many activites of daily living can be extra stressful for themselves and their families.
Stress accumulates throughout each day, year, and lifetime if we let it. Fortunately, there are many research based strategies to manage stress and increase wellbeing in an enjoyable and effective way. One of the best ways to manage stress is to go outdoors for a long walk. The change of scenery and physical exercise serve as a good distraction from the things that trouble us. It also helps to open up and tell a friend, family member, teacher, co-worker, doctor, therapist, or helpline that you are stressed out and need some help. Chances are that they will understand because they are stressed too or know what it is like to go through a period of great stress.
How about making a long list of things you are grateful for and including the fact that you survived 2020? A cozy hooded sweatshirt, heavy blanket, long nap, cookies, music, sunshine, pets, plants, pillow forts, chatting with friends, movies, hobbies, long car drive, exercise, glass of water, time out in nature, ripping up junk mail or cardboard boxes, and household chores can all help reduce stress too.
With so much going on right now, it is very important to take notice of when professional care is needed to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. Outreach to a mental health specialist, PCP, pediatrician, or helpline can be of great assistance. Attached are two tools that can be used to better understand present stress and anxiety levels and need for support for you or a family member.
Take some time away from your screens whenever possible. Go for a walk, call a friend, pet your pup, take a nap, paint your nails, make your bed, plan a dream vacation...
For a change of scenery, switch locations such as from your office to the kitchen sometimes. Being outside on a warm day is another good alternative.
Try out different types of spin and stable chairs with and without cushions. Work while standing or on your tummy. Try working while on a yoga ball or riding an under desk bike.
How about noise cancelling headphones or some international music? What about opening a window to hear some neighborhood sounds? Coffee shop chit chat can also be played in the background to keep you going.
Loop some paper clips, make a rubber band chain, drum on your desk, doodle...
If stress related to school, work, or everyday life is getting to be too much, reach out for help.