How to Handle Stress at Work and Home
There are countless factors that contribute to stress, both at home and in the workplace. From heavy workloads and tight deadlines to interpersonal conflict and familial challenges, sometimes stressful situations are entirely unavoidable. However, practicing stress management—a core focus for most licensed clinical mental health counselors—can prepare you to roll with the punches. If you’re interested in pursuing your mental health degree, or perhaps just want to better handle stress as it arises, there are some helpful techniques you should know.
How to Handle Stress at Work and Home
- Practice deep breathing.
Take a few moments throughout the day, whether at your desk or at home, to practice deep breathing. This process sends a signal to your brain that your body needs to calm down and relax, which is why it can be so helpful in relieving stress.
- Listen to calming music.
This technique is easy to incorporate into your daily routine since you can listen to music on your way to and from work, during your downtime, or even as you complete certain household tasks. Calming music can be anything from your favorite songs to ambient sounds to classical pieces and beyond. Most music apps even offer playlists of songs designed to enhance stress relief and relaxation.
- Go for a walk.
Where you can, carve out 30 minutes of your day to go for a walk—especially when you’re feeling stressed. Though taking a daily walk is a good habit to practice in general, it’s particularly effective in stress management because exercise releases endorphins, which are brain chemicals that stimulate relaxation and improve our mood.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep.
A full eight hours isn’t always possible, but it’s a good benchmark to aim for. According to the American Psychological Association, adults who sleep at least eight hours a night report lower stress levels than those who sleep fewer than eight hours a night.1
- Avoid eating junk food.
In times of stress, it’s not uncommon that we reach for the nearest sugar-laden comfort food. Unfortunately, this behavior is counterproductive to curtailing stress. In fact, studies show that habitual intake of high-sucrose foods weakens the body’s response to stress.2 Consuming healthier options—such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean protein—can enhance stress management by boosting your immune system, lowering your blood pressure, and stabilizing your blood sugar.
- Find some time for yourself.
One thing that can help with stress is to set aside time for the things you enjoy. It could be as simple as watching a movie or reading a book, but “me time” can help you unwind, recharge, and destress.
- Build a strong support network.
Social support is critical to stress management. By surrounding yourself with caring individuals—whether friends, family, or co-workers—you’re more likely to cope with things better as you move through life’s difficulties. Take some time to sort out who these individuals are in your life. More often than not, they’re the ones you regularly turn to for advice or vent to about your day, and who you provide comfort to in return.
Explore Walden University’s Clinical Mental Health Master's Program
If you want to make a difference in the lives of others as a licensed clinical mental health counselor, Walden can give you the support you need to move toward that goal. When you enroll in Walden’s CACREP-accredited MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, you can gain the confidence, qualifications, and critical thinking skills to help clients overcome their greatest challenges. Choose from a General Program or five specializations—including Forensic Counseling and Addiction Counseling—to focus your clinical mental health master's program on the topics that matter most to you. And at Walden, an accredited university, you can earn your mental health degree online while you continue to serve in your career full time. Prepare to become a licensed clinical mental health counselor without sacrificing your work-life balance as you earn your MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a requirement for licensure in many states. The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is designed to prepare graduates to qualify to sit for licensing exams and to meet the academic licensure requirements of many state counseling boards. Because no graduate program can guarantee licensure upon graduation, we encourage students to consult the appropriate agency to determine specific requirements. For more information about licensure, students should visit the National Board for Certified Counselors at www.nbcc.org/search/stateboarddirectory and/or the American Association of State Counseling Boards at www.aascb.org, and contact the appropriate licensing body. International students are encouraged to identify and contact their appropriate licensing body. Learn more about professional licensure.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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