New Year, New You: Stress less in 2019

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Stress Free in 2019
Less stress: fewer resolutions
Digital stress
Balancing home and work life

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — If staying stress-free is one of your New Year's resolutions, you might find that is much easier said than done.

Carlos Diaz talked to experts about the best ways to stress less in the new year.

Dr. Tammy Smith is the director of the Healthy Results program at IU Health. Healthy Results is an employee wellness program that encourages professionals to stay mentally healthy despite the challenges of their careers.

Smith said stress management is one of the most popular topics she addresses in the program. Diet and exercise plays a huge role in that.

"You know, a healthy body impacts a healthy mind, and vice versa," Smith said. "They're very interconnected. So when you're moving more, that unlocking those good chemicals in your brain, so that you can think more clearly and respond better to stress."

But besides hitting the gym and eating the right foods, your mindset can change the way you deal with stress, too.

"Sometimes we say, 'I have to go work out.' You change that and reframe it to, 'I get to go,' and that completely turns your mind around," Smith said.

Having a strong support system in your corner is also an important piece to managing stress levels. Be sure to surround yourself with people who will help you achieve your goals.

On the topic of goals, it's best to keep your resolutions in check and not try to over-achieve. Sticking to six or seven resolutions is tough, and often people fail or give up. It's better to keep it simple and try to improve just one area of your life to ensure success in achieving that one goal.

There are apps that can help, too. Headspace offers a "digital mindfulness" program that claims to positively impact your mental and physical health by reducing stress, improving sleep, increasing focus and improving relationships. My Strength is an app that helps to manage depression, anxiety, stress, sleep and more. The app allows you to track your mood, set goals and notice the changes over time. There's also a social aspect, as joining the community can help hold you accountable and keep you on track.

But if you're one to find technology stressful, don't be afraid to step away. Digital stress is caused by negative online interactions in emails, texts and social media. Digital stress has some telltale signs:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Unexplained stomach aches, headaches or body aches

If you find yourself with any of these symptoms that may be caused by digital stress, consider these ways to fight it:

  • Switch off from work. Take a digital detox. Being constantly accessible for work is a great way to bring on technology-related stress. After a certain time, make sure colleagues know you're unavailable to discuss work-related topics and just need to relax.
  • Have important conversations face-to-face. In-person conversations are much better when discussing important topics. It's easier to detect tone and avoid misunderstanding, unlike in text messages or emails.
  • Avoid the latest technology. You don't always need the latest Apple or Android gadget. Feeling like you always need the latest and greatest can put unnecessary stress on you.