Ask Dr. Brandi Anything: How do I better recognize and manage stress?

Feb 9, 2023 | Health Education

Dear Dr. Brandi – I work a demanding job, have two small children, a husband, and try to maintain a social life. I don’t necessarily feel super stressed. I am grateful for everything in my life, but lately I have been feeling “off.” I have a headache most days, and I feel like I am pushing through my responsibilities. How can I tell if this is from stress, and what can I do to get it under control?

Kudos to you for paying attention to your symptoms! Awareness is the first step and too often, we ignore “minor” things like headache or tiredness. Given how many stressors we encounter in a normal day, it’s possible that we’re in a state of chronic stress without realizing it. Additionally, when everyone around us is experiencing the same thing, it’s easy to accept what we’re going through as the norm.

I encourage you to track or journal how your body responds to certain triggers throughout the day.

Below are three things that can help re-calibrate your lifestyle:

  1. Honor the season you’re in. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, but does everything need to be done now? Are there some things that can be postponed? Can you deprioritize them without feeling guilty? Remember, life happens in seasons. It can be challenging to have it “all” at once, but we can shift our priorities over time. Honor the season you’re in. Let go of the rest.
  2. Delegate non-essential duties. Are there things on your to-do list that can be delegated to others? Cleaning, childcare, meal prep? Work with your family to divide weekly tasks and consider outsourcing specific jobs to a third party if possible.
  3. Carve out “me” time. Frequent headaches are not to be ignored and if they worsen, it’s time to speak with your physician about your symptoms. Talking openly about your stress is a form of self-care. Additionally, taking time to determine what can replenish your energy is as important. Whether it’s a power nap, alone time, or fun time with friends try to take this time when possible.

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  • Brandi Sinkfield

    Dr. Brandi, is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist, who was inspired by her mother, a registered nurse who graduated with a degree in information technology. Through tough love and support from her father, extended family, and friends she attended Case Western Medical School and received her M.D. She completed residency training at Cleveland Clinic and dual fellowship training at Stanford Anesthesiology in Perioperative Management and Digital Health. Growing up she experienced the lack of transparency, shame and secrecy surrounding women’s health and body confidence driving her to imagine a pathway for her own daughter and other women to access information that empowers them and inspires confidence.