Juggling priorities in life can be a struggle at the best of times. When you throw young children, family illness and work pressure into the mix, managing stress becomes important as it has the potential to take over your life. And that’s just my own situation!
There are many other reasons why people become overburdened with a feeling of relentless tension, so I’ve put together a few brief handy tips which could help you to alleviate those overwhelming pressures.
… caffeine, alcohol or nicotine
Easier said than done, of course. However, you could at least start to lessen your consumption.
Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine will increase stress levels rather than reduce them. Alcohol is a depressant in large quantities and a stimulant in small quantities, so it is not a helpful a way of limiting stress in the long run.
Try water, herbal teas or diluted natural fruit juices, and keep yourself hydrated to enable your body to cope better with stress.
Physical movement can return your body and mind to a more serene, relaxed state.
When you feel stressed, go for a walk. Try to include physical activity in your schedule each day, as this will also improve your sleep quality.
Lack of sleep causes substantial stress, as I know only too well. Try to maximise relaxation time in order to go to sleep at the right time.
Give your brain time to quieten down by taking a warm bath or reading an easy book to relax your body and to help you forget about your worries. Aim to go to bed at about the same time each day so you get used to a predictable routine.
There are many relaxation techniques to reduce stress so find out what works best for you. Self-hypnosis, for example, is very easy and can be done anywhere. One technique is to focus on a word with a positive meaning for you such as ‘calm’ or love’.
Focus on the word and, if your mind drifts, disregard it and return to the chosen word. This can be repeated as many times as necessary. It may be difficult at first but relaxation is a skill to be learned and developed with practice.
Talking to someone about how you feel can be helpful because it can divert you from stressful feelings or release built-up anxiety.
Discussing things through can help you find answers and put things in perspective but make sure you talk with a trusted friend, colleague or professional.
Keeping a diary could help you become more aware of situations that cause you stress. So, note the date, time and place of each episode, what you were doing, who else was there, and how you felt physically and emotionally.
Use the diary to recognise what causes your stress. This will allow you to avoid stressful circumstances and create coping mechanisms.
7. Be Proactive
By finding resolution to your problems, this will help you feel in control and lower your stress levels.
You could write down a problem and produce as many different solutions as you can. Then, decide on the pros and cons of each one, and choose the best option.
In addition, write down the steps to be taken as part of that option. Include what, how and when it will be done, who is involved and where it will happen.
8. Time Management
Accept that you cannot do the whole shebang all the time, and start to prioritise tasks. List your real priorities. Then, think about what can be delegated to others.
After that, break things down into smaller, manageable tasks and include short, medium and longer timeframes. Remember to include time for relaxation.
9. The Power of ‘No’
Saying ‘no’ to unimportant requests will limit stress and could also boost self-confidence. Remember that obstacles to saying ‘no’ are largely self -created because you want to be liked or hold a fear of conflict, for example.
Initially, therefore, you might practice phrases to let people down gently such as:
“I’d love to do that, but”
“Now is not a good time. Why don’t you ask me again when…?”
10. Time Out
If you are feeling under the weather, don’t just plough on regardless. A short time out will help your body to recuperate more quickly and to re-energise you mentally.
If you feel like you need further assistance in managing stress in your life For more information, please feel free to contact me.