Stress is a part of life. Stress can negatively effect our health and our relationships, yet in some way, shape or form, we are all guilty of letting stress get the better of us. Whether or not you think you are coping with your stressors, or if you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, this week’s post discusses a number of ways to deal with stress in every day life.
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is a response to the mind feeling threatened, whether it be at work, at home or on the road. I explain stress in more detail here. Not sure you’re stressed? Read my post “24 Signs of Stress Here“.
HOW TO MANAGE STRESS:
- Plan for the week ahead. Take 15 minutes to look at your calendar and map out your commitments and identify potential stressors before they happen. Is there a chance you’re going to have to work late Tuesday? Does this mean you’ll be too tired for the gym Wednesday? Understanding your week ahead will mean the next steps will come much more easily.
- When you find your week ahead is looking way too overwhelming, review your priorities. If you have too much to do distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary.
- Plan your meals (or even just your snacks) so you don’t fall into the pattern of excess caffeine and excess sugar in amidst the chaos. Chop up some vegetables, boil some eggs, grab a turmeric latte mix and smash some avocado.
AVOID UNNECESSARY STRESS
- Now that you’ve mapped out your week (& possibly your month) your limitations are listed in front of you in black and white. Learn to say “no” to anything that will add to your plate or “tip you over the edge”. Establish personal boundaries and stick to them.
- Develop effective communication – if you’re consistently upset over certain topics and/or relationships, explore not what you say, but the way you say it. Sometimes changing the way you say things i.e. “OMG can you stop with X?”, to “I’m under so much stress at work at the moment, and when I come home, it would mean so much to me if you’d help me out by…” can flip the situation on it’s head and encourage an understanding from both parties.
ADAPT TO THE STRESSOR
If you can’t change the stressor (i.e. university, your job or your kids), regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude:
- Reframe problems – try and view stressful situations from a realistic perspective and adjust your standards. Avoid setting yourself (& others) up for failure. For example, there’s no way you’re going to finish the assignment before Friday and get 100%, so let’s aim for 70% and get it done the best way you know how.
- Focus on the positive – reflect on your own positive qualities and gifts and how you can manage the above and still be satisfied. I.e. university is so incredibly stressful right now however, I’m so lucky to be one step closer to reaching this end-goal and the people I’ve met along them way make it worth it).
ACCEPT THE THINGS YOU CAN’T CHANGE
Remember some stressors are unavoidable. In some cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things the way they are:
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable – many things in life are beyond our control. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control (i.e. all of the above!).
- Look for the upside – when facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. There’s an incredible TED Talk who explains just how changing your perspective on stress is better for your health. You can view this here.
- Share your feelings – expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic.
- Learn to forgive – accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments.
MAKE TIME FOR FUN AND RELAXATION
Make sure that you schedule some me time for self care. It will reduce your stress, increase your productivity and boost your happiness.
Be sure to set aside relaxation time in your daily schedule and try not to allow other obligations to encroach. Try and do something you enjoy every day.
Stuck for ideas? Follow my Tips for Managing Stress:
- Log out of social media – A MUST!
- Meditate – there are so many apps out there that can help you unwind. Start with 10 minutes per day and work your way up.
- Practice deep breathing daily, where you watch your belly rise and fall for a few minutes a day
- Put your feet up – literally
- Write it out – journalling is a great way to take racing thoughts and list them in a clear and concise manner.
- Make a cup of tea and enjoy it in the sunshine or nearby the window where you can watch the world go by (tech free)
- Read a good book or trashy magazine, whatever works best for you
- Go for a walk – whether it’s 10 minutes or 45 minutes, schedule time to get moving and find fresh air
- Schedule a work-out with a friend, perhaps even a walk or yoga class with a catch-up afterwards.
- Listen to your favourite music
- Stretch – lie on the floor at home and stretch your muscles or run through a YouTube Yoga sequence.
- Sit down with your diary/calendar (I print a blank one off my computer) and schedule away. Ensure there’s adequate time for work, rest and play.
- Plan your meals ahead of schedule so there’s no need to rush to the supermarket for last minute items, saving you time, hassle, money and traffic/parking woes.
- Don’t trust yourself? Book an appointment – whether it be a 20 minute massage at the shopping centre stalls, a facial, an acupuncture appointment or a chiropractic adjustment, book it in and get it done.
- If stress is getting the better of you and you just can’t seem to find the energy for any of the above, it might be time to talk to a professional. Consider an appointment with a psychotherapist or nutritionist to discuss some additional psychological and nutraceutical strategies.
How do you manage your stressors?