Stress is inevitable, especially during times of crisis and uncertainty. But that doesn't mean you can't work to eliminate some points of tension in your life, and learn to better cope with the stressors you can't avoid.
Here are some things that might help:
1. Get regular exercise. Breaking a sweat can take your mind off what's bothering you, and it can also counteract some of the harmful effects of stress. Practicing yoga may be especially beneficial, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
2. Spend time in nature. Sunshine and fresh air can be a powerful stress-reliever, according to the AHA.
3. Don't turn to cigarettes or heavy alcohol use. Many people turn to controlled substances for stress relief, but in the long run they will only worsen health concerns. Instead, look for healthy alternatives when you're craving a smoke or a drink.
4. Practice deep breathing. When you're stressed, you may not notice if your breathing becomes quick or erratic. Focusing on your breath can help slow your heart beat and calm your body's flight-or-fight response.
5. Say "no" when necessary. "It's important to really think about the bandwidth you have and not take on more than you can handle emotionally," Pittman says.
6. Talk to someone. If stress is interfering with your ability to be happy and productive, talk to your doctor or a mental-health professional about treatments that might help.