One in five adults feel that they don’t do enough to manage their stress. But regardless of how you currently manage your stress, we can all agree that stress is a part of life and happens to everyone.
Stress affects our bodies in many ways, including our musculoskeletal system. When we are stressed, muscles tense up and stay guarded. You may find it difficult for your body to relax and over time, it can contribute to chronic pain.
Effects of an acute injury can be prolonged when you are experiencing stress. The nervous system is more sensitive and you are more likely to feel pain and higher intensities of it.
There are many ways to manage and relieve stress. Taking time to reflect on your triggers of stress is a great place to start when trying to combat it.
Try these ways to help manage your stress, especially if you experience musculoskeletal problems as mentioned above:
1. Do some sort of regular physical activity. Intensity and type of exercise can vary greatly and if you don’t know where to start, ask your Physical Therapist.
2. Don’t skimp on sleep. It can be easy to want to forgo sleep when you are busy but working while sleep-deprived leads to an increase in your stress and decreases productivity.
3. Breathe. Focusing on your breath helps to calm down the body and its many systems. There are wearables that have guided breathing applications, such as Fitbit and the Apple Watch. Breathe2Relax is a great phone app to try.