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March 2022 Message: How Do You Deal With Stress?

By March 21, 2022March 24th, 2022No Comments

How do you cope when you’re stressed? This seems like a pretty simple question, doesn’t it? But like most seemingly simple things, the ways that we cope in times of stress are more complicated than they seem at first glance. When we think about “coping,” our brain may jump automatically to often touted practices like meditation, journaling, exercise, and getting more sleep. But the ways we cope exist on a spectrum. Things like alcohol, cigarettes, and social media are commonly used as coping tools, too.

With that in mind, we’ll ask again. How do you cope when you’re stressed? What are the go-to things and practices that you turn to for some escape or relief? When you have a bad day at work, how do you unwind? If your kids or your partner or your neighbor is causing you upset, how do you respond? When world events overwhelm you, what do you do? Think through these questions from a place of curiosity, rather than judgment. It’s helpful to inventory our methods of caring for ourselves from time to time on this mental health journey.

This is especially important because…well, as a society we’re pretty stressed. And while you probably don’t need to look past your own home or the news to know that for yourself, it’s also backed by research. In one study about the impacts of the pandemic, over 60% of those interviewed said their drinking increased during COVID, with 45% of participants attributing the increase to stress. A 2020 study takes this further, chronicling some of the top ways Americans report dealing with stress: overeating or skipping meals, alcohol, cigarettes, and media. If you find yourself turning to practices that may be more harmful than helpful, you’re far from alone.

First, we want to say that how you manage stress is valid and okay. We all cope in different ways, and we are firm believers that we are all just doing our best with what we have. That said, maybe you’re turning to behaviors or substances that you think may be negatively impacting you. It’s okay to acknowledge the role that a substance or behavior has played in your life whilst seeking resources to support yourself in new and healthier ways. 

If you’ve been thinking about cutting back or quitting alcohol, other substances, or behaviors there is support available to you. Check out the resource section for tips, practices, and stories from folks who have been there. Consider this newsletter an invitation to expand your coping mechanism repertoire. Perhaps try adding one tool to your toolkit this month that you feel really great about (We’re biased, but we think breathwork is pretty great!). If you would like assistance in finding resources, our team at the Let’s Talk Tampa phone line can help you to find support and resources that work for you. Your life, your needs, your community. We’re here for you. 

 

Tampa Bay Thrives

Tampa Bay Thrives

Tampa Bay Thrives is an innovative nonprofit helping people in the Tampa Bay area better address mental health and substance use issues.

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