In episode 6 of the Transmit Safety Podcast, I sat down with a friend, Bunmi Ibitoye, and we chatted about the benefits of journaling to manage stress. Bunmi is a stress management and wellness coach with over seven years of professional experience within the public health sector, and I learned a lot during this interview.
If you don’t keep a personal journal, you want to keep reading. If you already do, hopefully, this post will give you a few more ideas and tips about using prompts to help de-stress your day. You can expect to learn:
- The impact of prolonged stress on our bodies
- What are the common signs and symptoms of prolonged stress?
- 3 Tips to start a personal journal
- The key benefits of keeping a personal journal
- Journaling prompts to inspire you
Make sure to bookmark or pin this post and refer back to it as you go about managing stress and creating your own unique habit around journaling.
The Impact of Prolonged Stress on Our Bodies
Okay, so prolonged stress has a lot of detrimental impact on the body, resulting in both physical and mental health issues. So we can have things like:
- Tense muscles
- High blood sugar levels
And the last one is specifically dangerous, so let’s talk a little bit more about hypertension.
When we experience stressful situations, the stress hormone is released. And the major one is cortisol.
So when those are released, they help the body to respond to the stressors. It makes the heart beat very fast, the blood vessels will get thinner, and that makes the blood pressure shoot up for a little while.
But what happens if we keep having experienced experiencing stressful situations over a prolonged period of time?
Well, then we will continue to release those stress hormones, and because of that effect on the blood vessels, your blood pressure will increase.
That’s how stress can lead to high blood pressure.
It also increases the risk of having depression, and difficulty sleeping, to mention a few.
What Are Common Signs and Symptoms of Prolonged Stress?
Signs and symptoms might show up differently in different people. So, you might ask yourself, what are some common signs of prolonged stress?
What are some of the other triggers that we might recognize as prolonged stress happening within our bodies?
According to Bunmi, you should look out for:
1) Constant Headaches.
2) Teeth grinding. Sometimes it may be when sleeping or even when you’re awake.
4) Indigestion. You might have constipation or maybe trouble digesting. Another symptom is frequently using the restroom. People don’t realize it, but stress disrupts the digestive process.
5) Muscle Tension.
6) Frequently feeling tired. If this happens almost every day, or every day, that might be a strong sign of stress.
These are just some physical symptoms of prolonged stress, but it’s important to also talk about its behavioural signs.
When you experience stressful situations, you might see that you start experiencing some behavioural signs such as.
- Eating too much (commonly known as stress eating), or eating too little.
- Snaping at everybody for no reason or reacting in a way that’s not proportionate to the issue.
- Constant worry or worrying too much about things you can’t control.
- Not being able to concentrate.
3 Tips to Start a Personal Journal
Alright, now that we’ve covered the impacts of prolonged stress on our bodies and the common signs and symptoms of prolonged stress. But what can you do about it?
How can you manage stress?
Bunmi and I have one recommendation for you: JOURNALING.
I attended one of Bunmi’s journal challenges on social media and connected with it. I developed the habit of journaling and became more consistent with my personal journal – not my professional journal, but my personal journal.
But I know that starting a journal can feel daunting to some people. When you’re staring at a blank page, it’s so easy to go, “where do I even start?!’
So, here are some tips to help you start a personal journal that will help you manage stress:
- Choose the time and frequency that works for YOU. Don’t turn the journaling habit into another to-do that will just cause you more stress.
- There are no rules. You don’t have to do it every day. You don’t have to do it in the mornings. You don’t have to do what you saw somebody else doing. You can do what feels good to you.
- Keep it simple. Write about your everyday life. You don’t need to think abstractly. You also don’t need to overthink how and where to write. It can be a notebook, a doc on your computer, or an app like bytelyfe.app that you can easily access using your phone. Again, back to rule #1: do what works for you.
The Key Benefits of Journaling
The main benefit of a journal is that it helps you lower your stress levels and gives you mental clarity; you’re able to concentrate, get things done, and solve problems more easily.
Journaling helps you identify different ways in which you can solve problems, and it frees up your mind.
I know that when I write in my journal, I have a little self-care routine. I love it.
I get a coffee or a beverage, turn off my phone, and sometimes I even light a candle… There’s this meditation aspect to it.
But if I’m being honest here, there are also times I just don’t know what to journal about. And when I joined Bunmi’s journal prompt challenge, I learned all about journaling prompts, which was a game-changer, especially as I was just getting started.
7 Journaling Prompts to Inspire You
Sometimes you just don’t know what to write, you feel stuck, and your mind goes BLANK. Well, that’s when journaling prompts come to play.
You just need to follow the prompts and write your answers; before you know it, you can easily express your thoughts and take things off your mind.
Journaling prompts help you not to see journaling as a burden.
And you spend less time thinking, ‘What should I write about? How do I start?’
So, here are 7 journaling prompts that will help you de-stress and free up your mind:
- How did my day go?
- What went well today?
- What happened today that didn’t go well?
- Why didn’t it go well?
- What can I do to avoid these in the future?
- Have I experienced this before?
- If yes, what did I do to address it?
Another benefit you get from journaling is that the next time you face that situation, you’ll remember you already thought about it, and you know how to react better. You understand how you can best tackle that situation.
These are just a few you can get started with, but Bunmi also has 75 unique journaling prompts designed to help you express your thoughts, feelings and relieve stress.
>> Get it HERE <<
Please feel free to connect with me, Aimee Arsenault – on LinkedIn, Instagram (@transmit.safety), or Twitter (@transmitsafety) – and Bunmi Ibitoye – on Instagram (@flonahub) – to continue this conversation or bring us your questions about the topic.
Thank you for hanging on through this entire post!
Wondering how you can hear and learn more about this topic? You can find all of this amazing information – and more about how health and safety practitioners can de-stress and disconnect after a stressful day in episode 6 of the Transmit Safety Podcast – Stress Management Journalling with Bunmi [Link to the Episode].
To continue discovering ways to achieve a holistic approach to workplace health and safety, and become an impactful Health and Safety leader, make sure to tune into the next episodes of the Transmit Safety Podcast.