Do you cope with stress by distracting yourself with other activities? If you do, you’re not alone. According to the Mental Health Foundation, some turn to substances like alcohol or drugs to deal with the unpleasant emotions of stress. But these actions have the potential to negatively impact people’s mental health more than stress.
Similarly, people might turn to gambling as a form of coping with stress. But a key way to ensure that gambling stays responsible is by not participating in it when you’re stressed, depressed, or in recovery.
With Stress Awareness Month coming up in April, Before You Bet wanted to highlight some healthy ways you can deal with stress that can be carried with you throughout the rest of the year.
- Prioritize your health and wellbeing. Ensure that you’re taking care of yourself first and foremost, as it sets you on the path toward a healthier future. Starting simple is a great way to ensure health for the long term. Try getting into a good daily routine with three basic pillars of health: good sleep, nutritious food, and plenty of water.
- Practice mindfulness and self-compassion. When you start to experience stress, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Everyone experiences stress but how you choose to respond to it is what is important. Instead of being hard on yourself, practice mindfulness, which involves paying attention to your thoughts and feelings in a way that diminishes judgment and increases the ability to manage difficult situations.
- Talk to a professional if you need it. It is okay to ask for professional help and it by no means makes you weak. If you feel that you are struggling to manage stress on your own, you could potentially benefit from seeing a therapist near you. If you’re unsure of where to start, there are a wealth of mental health resources online from Mental Health America and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
For those who might be struggling with a problem with gambling, BeforeYouBet.org provides educational resources, a two-minute quiz that gauges the at-risk levels for problem gambling, and more. Ohioans can also access free, confidential, and around-the-clock support by calling 1-800-589-9966 or by texting 4HOPE to 741741.