Dealing With Stress

Dealing With Stress

Author; the team at BSc HQ

Dealing With Stress

We often feel like there's nothing we can do about stress. The bills never stop coming, work and family responsibilities are always demanding and there never feels like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. That's life. But we have a lot more control than you might think. Stress management allows us to take charge of our thoughts, emotions, lifestyles, and the way we tackle problems. No matter how stressful your life seems to you, there are strategies you can use to relieve the pressure and take back control. Let’s take a look…

WRITE A TO-DO LIST EVERY DAY

Write a list of everything you need to do each day. Rather than letting this list overwhelm you, accept that you cannot do everything at once and start to prioritise your tasks in order of importance. Make a note of what tasks you need to do personally, and which ones can be delegated to others. This will help you break down your list into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks spread out over a realistic time frame. Remember to keep some time free to deal with unexpected and time-sensitive tasks, and include time for your own relaxation as well!

USE RELAXATION TECHNIQUES

Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to take away from this time. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge. Come up with a list of healthy ways to relax and recharge that you enjoy doing and try to implement one or more of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.

  • Go for a walk
  • Spend time in nature
  • Call a close friend
  • Relieve tension with a workout
  • Write in your diary
  • Take a long bath
  • Light scented candles
  • Enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea
  • Play with your pet
  • Spend some time in the garden
  • Get a massage
  • Read a good book
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Watch a movie that makes you laugh
Dealing_with_stress

Don’t worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned and will improve with practice.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SLEEP

A lack of sleep can be a significant cause of stress. Being kept awake with constant thoughts going through your mind about all the things you need to do is something you probably know too well. Instead of relying on sleeping medication, your aim should be to optimise your sleeping environment and bedtime routine to increase your relaxation. It is best to avoid caffeine during the evening, as well as excessive alcohol as these can lead to disturbed sleep. Avoid doing any mentally demanding work too close to bedtime so that you give your brain time to wind down.

 

DON’T FOCUS ON THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL

Unfortunately, some sources of stress are completely unavoidable. We can’t prevent the emotional stress caused by the death of a loved one, or the physical stress caused by a serious illness. In these cases, the best way to cope with stress is to just accept things as they are and know that things will get better. Acceptance may be difficult at first, but it will be a lot easier than trying to combat a situation you can’t change. Many things in life are beyond our control—especially the actions and behaviour of other people. Instead of allowing your stress response to take hold, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems. Look for the positive in every situation when facing major challenges, try to see them as opportunities for personal development. If a stressful situation is attributed to your own choices, reflect on why this happened, and learn from your mistakes.

 

LEARN TO SAY NO

One of the biggest causes of stress is having too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. On top of this, many people will agree to take on additional responsibility, causing MORE stress! Learning to say “no” to additional tasks will help to reduce your stress level, and can also help you develop more self-confidence. Many people find it difficult to say “no” because they want to help and are trying to be nice or polite. Others fear conflict, being rejected, or missed opportunities. These barriers to saying “no” are all created by you. You may feel reluctant to respond with a definite “no” at first but by practicing some pre-prepared phrases to let people down more gently, you will become more confident!

 

MOVE YOUR BODY EVERY DAY

Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body. Physical activity plays a major role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress, and you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits. Just about any form of physical activity can assist in relieving stress and reducing feelings of anger, tension, and frustration. Exercise releases endorphins that elevate your mood and make you feel good. Not to mention it can also be a great distraction to your daily concerns. While it is recommended that you exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to gain the most benefit, you can build up your fitness level gradually. Remember that even small activities can add up over the course of a day. The most important thing is to get yourself up and moving!

     

    FOCUS ON A BALANCED DIET

    Be mindful of what you eat. Eat a healthy diet comprised of at least 80% whole, nutritious foods, and 20% more processed calorie-dense foods. If our bodies are well-nourished, it can allow us to be better prepared to cope with stresses. Start your day with a balanced breakfast to keep your energy high and try to continue this with nutritious meals throughout the day.

    REACH OUT

    The most efficient way to take control of your stress and potentially avoid overreacting to an event is to reach out to someone. Communicating what you are going through can be very therapeutic, even if there’s nothing you can do to change the stressful situation. Reach out to family and friends and connect regularly in person. The people you talk to don’t have to be able to fix your stress; they just need to be there to listen and help you feel comfortable and safe. Here are some strategies:

    • Have lunch or coffee with a friend.
    • Reach out to a colleague at work.
    • Schedule a weekly dinner date with someone.
    • Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly.
    • Go for a walk with an exercise buddy.
    • Call or email an old friend.
    • Go to the movies or a concert with a friend or family member.
    • Try to meet new people, create new connections.
    • ACCEPT YOUR ROLE IN YOUR OWN STRESS
    • Do you define stress as temporary.. even though you can’t remember the last time you took a break or a time out for yourself?
    • Do you define stress as a normal part of your work or home life, or as a part of your personality?
    • Do you blame other people or outside events for the cause of your stress?

     

    Accept responsibility for the role you play in creating and managing your own stress, it is the first step in getting it under control. It all starts with you!

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