Stress is powerful. In the heat of a hectic moment, your heart rate elevates and your blood pressure increases due to the human body’s natural fight or flight response; however, according to the American Psychological Association, smaller stressful bursts stretched out over the course of a regular work week can cause this response to be stuck in the “on” position.

As the warm temperatures and care free days of summer are swept away by the autumn air, it’s only natural for stress to ramp back up.  When real stress hits, no amount of pumpkin spice lattes alone can bring your mind and body back down to earth. Rather than take stress as it comes, get strategic this season! Here are some ways to improve your stress management and make sure it doesn’t cause you to stumble this season:

Schedule Stress Siestas

Slowing down during moments of high stress is extremely important. However, in the middle of chaos, it can be difficult to find the time to step away and take a breath. There is no shame in scheduling time to destress! It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time (5-10 minutes will do just fine); what’s most important is the action of consciously setting aside time for self-care. After all, if it’s on your calendar, you’re more likely to stick to it!

Stretch It Out

Stress can feel like a purely mental condition, but it also has staggering effects on physical health. It makes sense, then, that one way to lower levels of stress is to get active. Whether it’s a quick stroll or a few minutes of purposeful stretching, a little bit of exercise can go a long way. Physical activity produces endorphins, which your body then uses as natural painkillers and to improve sleep. The lesson here is clear: if you’re feeling stress today, get up and move it away!

Beware of Hanger

Hanger is when hunger crosses the line from a feeling in your tummy to full out outrage directed at others. We’ve all been there – it’s an hour until lunch, you’re dreaming of that burrito down the block and every little thing is driving you up the wall. The light headedness, headaches and stomach pangs that come with hanger are no joke. Plan ahead for hanger with snacks! Healthy options like carrot sticks and grapes will keep your mind (and stomach) busy, reducing your levels of stress-related hanger.

Misery Loves Company

When you’re in the middle of a stressful moment, it can feel like the whole world is out to get you. A natural reaction to this feeling might be to move more inward, focusing on your own goals, closing an office door and working online. Unfortunately, this can often just exaggerate the problem. Instead, get social! Talking through issues with coworkers could give you a new perspective on an old problem (or just take your mind off of things!) Get social and say goodbye to stress with friends.

Go To Your Happy Place

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have a “happy place”; you know, that location you go to in your mind that just feels perfect. Whether it’s a pristine sandy beach, a cabin deep in the woods or a place from your favorite childhood memory, these visualizations can actually be an effective tool for lowering stress. A simple trick is to keep a picture or other token that reminds you of your happy place at your desk. When stress hits, all it takes is a moment glancing at this reminder, breathing deeply and visualizing your relaxed joy to shake it off.

Fall can be a stressful season, but with a little planning, you can conquer these negative feelings. What do you do when stress is high at work? We’d love to hear your stress management suggestions in the comment section below!