Every stress management article out there promotes identifying the cause of your stress – treating the source and not the symptom. The problem with this is that for most people who are active in the economy, life in general is the source of stress. Trying to get through what we’ve planned, feeling pressure to constantly up our game, and continually feeling the need to create balance, are just some of the areas that contribute to feelings of stress.
Regardless of the source of your stress, if you resolve it, there is a high likelihood that it will be replaced by something equally, or more, stressful. The principle then is to learn how to manage your stress levels so that you feel in control of your life.
The below are 10 simple stress busting tips that really work and can transform your life:
- Learn to say no! If it’s not your responsibility, do not allow someone else to increase your workload and cause distress.
- Categorise what matters to you. We can all list our priorities. It’s when clients and colleagues start to pressurise us that we lose sight of what really matters. Keep the vision of what really matters firmly in your mind.
- Do what you enjoy doing first. There is a time management principle that promotes getting the work you don’t like doing out of the way first. We advocate that in fact the opposite holds true. Doing what you love and what you’re good at increases your energy levels so that the rest of your day is more fruitful, productive and enjoyable.
- Exercise. Whether it’s yoga, running or going for a walk, the human body needs the endorphins that come from physical movement. They are a natural stress reliever, and give us the ability to think clearly.
- Breathe. For years we have been told that we slump at our desks and only fill the top 12% of our lungs’ capacity. At least every hour, take a few seconds to have a few really good, deep breaths – inhale for five slow counts, gently hold for five counts, and then exhale for five slow counts.
- Cold water. Most of us are slightly dehydrated. By sipping cold water we not only rehydrate, but we also refresh ourselves and keep our bodies, and energy levels, from slumping during the day.
Positive talk. Although stress does not arise from a negative self-perception, how we handle stress can be strongly influenced by how we perceive ourselves and our stress levels. Be kind to yourself and be kind about yourself. Watch your internal dialogue, and if you wouldn’t talk that way to a loved one, don’t talk that way to yourself.
- Have fun. So many people get caught up working incredibly hard to build a life that they want, and forget that the process is part of life itself. By the time you’ve achieved your goal, you will probably be too exhausted to enjoy it. Let yourself appreciate all the moments along the way.
- Let others help. So often our stress comes from the belief that we have to do everything, and it all has to be done 100% right. Getting another perspective can often offer amazing insights, and realising that imperfect is also good enough is a valuable step in managing feelings of overwhelm and stress.
- Rest when you’re resting. When it’s time out, it is not time to discuss, or read, or think about work. It is time to let your body, mind and psyche take a break. Embrace it.