12 Sep Stay-Calm Checklist: Managing Stress and Anxiety at Home
By Jorie Mark, Copy & Content Director
Got something on your mind? Whether you’re worried about your health, your financial stability, family dynamics or all of the above, stress and anxiety can make it difficult to enjoy life. To make matters worse, you may not be able to turn to your tried-and-true methods for dealing with uncertainty these days. Meeting with friends to vent over coffee, grabbing a sweat session at the Pilates studio or indulging in some retail therapy now seem like relics of a previous, more innocent era.
So how do you get through the anxiety? Follow our stay-calm checklist to get a handle on your racing thoughts—and to keep physical symptoms of stress in check.
What Is the Difference Between “Worrying,” “Stress” and “Anxiety”?
The most chill, Type B person in the world may be walking around with furrowed eyebrows these days, given the uncertainty we’ve all been facing. So how do you know whether you’re simply worried, stressed…or experiencing full-blown anxiety?
“Worry, stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand,” explained Dr. Kathy Wilson, a clinical corporate trainer for Life Extension with a PhD in psychology. She differentiated between the three different feelings:
Worry—This is when you have repeating thoughts because you are concerned, according to Dr. Wilson, like, “Did I leave the stove on?”
Stress—Like worrying, stress is a natural response to a concern, but it’s taken up a notch and can impact our wellness. “When there is a constant stressor or multiple overwhelming stressors, this can overload the body’s systems and start to have impacts to our health and mental well-being,” Dr. Wilson explained.
Anxiety—This state is also something everyone will experience at some point in their lives, and it comes from prolonged feelings of worry and stress. Dr. Wilson noted that sleeplessness and exacerbation of existing medical problems and other health ramifications can come from anxiety.
The Mind-Body Connection: Physical Effects of Anxiety
If stress and even anxiety are “normal,” do we need to worry…about worrying? Indeed, there are some physical responses to stress that we should be aware of:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite—or, in some cases, overeating
- Upset stomach
- Loss of libido
- Chest tightness or heart palpitations
- Sweating or shaking
- You may even see dental symptoms, such as grinding your teeth
“Stress and anxiety can cause a lot of physical signs and they are different to each person,” said Dr. Wilson. “Our specific stress response really is based on our genetic make-up, our gender and experiences.”
The good news? By managing your anxiety, you’ll likely see an improvement in these physical symptoms, too. Despite the impact stress has on your body, managing these emotions is largely a head game—and something you may be able to accomplish without even leaving your home!