Using R.I.D. to Rid your Life of Stress

Written by:  Rony Ngamliya-Ndam


         The past two years have been extraordinarily difficult for everyone. The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to impact daily societal functions. Though the pandemic is still ongoing, the introduction of vaccines, the reopening of businesses, and the lifting of mask mandates symbolizes a slow return to normal life.

Many of us have either been personally impacted by COVID-19 or know individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19. Partnered with personal experiences with the pandemic, the slow transition back to post-COVID-19 life may lead to increased frustration or stress. It is important to be able to recognize and address instances when your stress is negatively impacting your physical and mental health.

         Life comes with all types of stressors. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has stated that temporary, minor stress is healthy and a normal part of life. However, long-term stress can have much more lasting impacts on one’s wellbeing.  If you are unable to manage your stress, or stress is becoming chronically part of your daily life, it may be time to consider a new approach to dealing with your stress. One easy-to-remember stress interventions is R.I.D: Recognize, Identify, and Deal. This article breaks down how you can utilize R.I.D. to rid your life of stress!

Part One: “R” Recognize

         Are you able to recognize when you are feeling stressed? This may seem like an odd question, but your answer to this question is very beneficial. In society, it is widely accepted to overwork oneself and ignore stress. This leads to stress becoming a normal part of everyday life, thus, making it difficult to recognize signs of excessive stress. The pandemic and the transition back to normal life may worsen this cycle. It is easy to become preoccupied with daily rituals and in turn forget to focus on your wellbeing.

The first step of overcoming stress is recognizing when your stress is adversely impacting your wellbeing. When you are experiencing an overwhelming or mentally draining situation, take a step back and analyze your thoughts and behaviors. While doing this, you may recognize specific behaviors that signal that you may be experiencing increased stress. Have you noticed you are feeling uneasy lately? Have noticed you are more willing to participating in adverse behaviors or activities? Do you feel more tired than usual? It may be helpful to know the signs that may signal to increased levels of stress.

Below is a list negative behaviors and thoughts that may be due to increased stress:

  • Low energy or increased feelings of burn-out
  • Increased feelings of sadness
  • Feeling frustrated with life, work, or relationships
  • Feeling as though you do not have control over your life
  • Worrying about the future
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Overeating, undereating, or binge eating
  • Detaching from family members or friends
  • Physiological signs:
  • Feeling physically tense
  • Frequently clenching your jaws or fists
  • Body aches or pains
  • Headaches
  • Fidgeting or restlessness

You know your body best. If you recognize you are experiencing an abnormal number of adverse thoughts or behaviors, it may be best to seek out professional help. You may reference this guide to help you in the process of choosing the right therapist.

Part Two: “I” Identify: Identify the Source of Stress

         The next step after recognizing when you are experiencing adverse stress is identifying the source of your stress. One way to identify the source of your stress is by reflecting on your daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. There may be a specific aspect of your schedule that makes you feel overwhelmed, or you may be adding too much to your weekly schedule. In addition to examining your schedule, you can also look at your relationships. There may be a family member, friend, or co-worker that is adversely impacting your mental health. Major changes in your life can also lead to increased stress. Are you planning to, or have you recently moved? Are you in the process of looking for a new job? Has your financial situation changed? The source of your stress could also be a lack of a self-care routine in your life.

Discovering the source of your stress will allow you to choose the appropriate intervention to deal with your stress.

Part Three: “D” Deal: How to Deal with your Stress depending on the type

         After discovering the source of your stress, you must now choose how to deal with your stress. The type and magnitude of your stress will dictate the type of intervention you will use. If the source of your stress is more permanent, such as a relationship or your job, it may not be beneficial to use temporary interventions. Instead, it may be more beneficial to evaluate how you can permanently mitigate the stress those environments. If the source of your stress is something less permanent, such as a feeling unproductive or not getting enough sleep, a more temporary intervention may work.

The magnitude of your stress also dictates the type of intervention you choose. If your stress is minor and inconsistent in occurrence, first try to resolve your stress on your own. However, if your stress becomes unmanageable, chronic, or feels out of your control, it is always best to seek out the opinion of a professional therapist.

Below are some recommendations on how to deal with your stress:

Feeling overwhelmed about COVID-19, news channels, or social media?

  • Try taking a break from reading or watching any media that discusses COVID-19 or any other topics that may be inducing your stress
  • Try being more selective with the media you choose to watch or read
  • Only watch or read sources you find trustworthy and reliable

Feeling overwhelmed at work?

  • Talk to a trustworthy supervisor about your feelings at work
  • Take some time to relax and recharge after work
  • Use a non-work-related support system to mitigate stress
  • Though this may not be possible, decide if the drawbacks of your job outweigh the benefits and if it is un your best interest to remain at the job
  • Try meditating or doing yoga

Feeling underproductive?

  • Try adopting a daily routine
  • Pick up a new hobby that you enjoy
  • Try limiting your time on social media

Eating unhealthier lately or feeling physically unhealthy?

  • Try implementing a weekly meal plan
  • Look up recipes and DIY videos that would make eating healthy fun
  • Try meditating or doing yoga
  • Try slowly incorporating exercise into your weekly routine
  • Avoid adverse practices such as overeating or overdrinking

Feeling more tired?

  • Avoid electronics or stimuli at least one hour before going to sleep
  • Slowly try to eliminate dependency on coffee and instead focus on adopting a sleep schedule
  • Try slowly incorporating exercise into your weekly routine

Feeling lonely or feeling the need to detach?

  • Try joining a community-based organization or support group
  • Try to plan activities with members of your support system

Many of the recommendations listed above can be found in multiple categories. This is because many sources of stress are intertwined. Stress is often a culmination of multiple overwhelming and distressing events in our daily lives. It is best to try multiple interventions and to seek professional help if needed.


         For many individuals, minor stress is a normal part of life. However, stress that is unmanageable or overly distressing should be taken seriously. The best way to handle stress if by first recognizing you are experiencing stress, then identifying the source of your stress, and finally dealing with your stress.

Below are some resources available for mental health assistance:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:

Phone: 1-800-273-8255 (English, Spanish)

TTY Online Chat: link

TTY: Dial 711, then 1-800-273-8255

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services:

Phone: 1-800-662-4357 (English, Spanish)

TTY: 1-800-487-4889

National Alliance on Mental Illness:

Phone: 1-800-950-6264 (Available Monday-Friday, 10 am -10 pm EST)

Email: [email protected]

Text: Text ‘NAMI’ to 741-741

National Domestic Violence Hotline:

         Phone: 800-799-7233

National Sexual Assault Hotline:

         Phone: 800-656-4673



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