In today’s fast-paced world, developing stress has become easier for both young people and adults alike. According to health experts, in young people, being stressed comes about due to financial issues, academics and sometimes pressure from peers.
In most cases, the same causes may be experienced by adults, including pressure at the workplace and family issues, among others. Whatever it may be that leads to one developing stress or depression, medics say it’s unhealthy, and finding a way of getting rid of it is important to prevent further complications.
Alphonce Bivakumana, a twenty five year old student at University of Rwanda’s College of Education, says due to the tight schedule both at school and where he works, he started isolating himself from his colleagues, thinking that this would help him concentrate on his work.
“Within few months, I started experiencing chest pain and a fast heart beat, headaches and sometimes fatigue. After visiting a health care, the doctor advised me to stop indulging my brains in a lot of things and revealed that I was stressed,” he says.
Luckily, Bivakumana enrolled for aerobic classes as he had been advised to do to get his mind free and relaxed.
Just like Bivakumana, a lot of people can be under stress without knowing it. Doctors advise that the signs experienced by Bivakumana should be a warning that one needs medical check up to avoid further complications.
Tips on how to handle stress
Medics advise that preventing stress is essential as far as keeping one healthy is concerned.
With a demanding work schedule and a lot of bills to cater for, Rachna Pande, an internal medicine specialist says developing stress can be easy.
These, according to her could result in many health-related issues like hypertension, diabetes, heart problems, and peptic ulcer disease; hence the need to remain stress-free no matter the situation.
“Firstly, it is important to set priorities in life and work. Start doing the work which needs to be finished immediately; work that is not urgent can wait. Also, avoid taking up many responsibilities at the same time. it is important to organise the daily time table very well, as this helps to keep stress away from the mind,” she says.
“When many things come at the same time, just take a deep breath and think positively. Keep the mind focused on one thing at a time and start another after finishing first,” she adds.
On the other hand, Dr Janvier Rusizana, a general practitioner at La Nouvelle Clinic in Remera, Kigali, notes that one should focus on what they can handle first.
“If something remains undone it should be taken calmly. Whatever amount of work you may have, avoid multitasking if possible, especially for those that can’t handle,” he says.
Rusizana adds that the same case should be applied to paying bills and other things that require money. Paying and spending what you have at hand will keep stress at bay.
“Try to keep the mind filled with positive thoughts. Keep company of people with positive and encouraging words,” he says.
Rusizana also says that yoga and meditation are recommended as stress busters and for relaxing the mind. Breathing exercises or pranayam are very useful in this regard as well.
“These can be done even for few minutes in the office itself. Simple deep breathing for few minutes with eyes closed helps to relax the mind,” he adds.
According to Francis Kazungu, a general practitioner in Kigali, creative activities are also useful and healthy too.
“Fill the leisure time available with creative activities. Music, dance, reading good literature, and sports are good for the mind. Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine as they are harmful to your health,” he says.
Kazungu also notes that one should not forget about eating right.
“A balanced diet and regular physical exercise keep the body as well as mind healthy and fresh. One is supposed to be in charge of their environment and mind and not vice versa,” he says.
Rusizana says eating a healthy diet is vital as well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so being mindful of what you eat will ensure you are stress-free.
“Reduce caffeine and sugar as they often end in dampening the mood and energy. Also alcohol and cigarettes and drugs should be avoided at any cost. While on the other hand getting enough sleep is useful,” he cautions.
Once somebody starts to follow these tips regularly, Kazungu says, over time the stress will be reduced and they can sail through life with less or no pressure at all.