Stress is an expected response to challenging or dangerous situations.
A small amount of stress can be a good thing and can even increase energy and motivation. But if stress becomes greater than our ability to cope, it can affect our quality of life and cause problems with physical and mental health.
We are living in a fast paced world. We are constantly connected – to our families, work, the news – thanks to technology and social media.
Switching off isn’t easy!
We’ve all read the advice of having a “phone free hour” before bed.
How many of us have actually done it?
The problem is that unmanaged stress levels have detrimental effects on our health. In order to prevent this from happening, it’s important that we recognise the impact that stress is having on our bodies, mood and behaviours.
If you are experiencing 3 or more of the symptoms above, it might be time to take note and start looking after yourself.
Here are 10 simple steps to manage and reduce stress.
1) Things to Avoid- You need to avoid or at least reduce your consumption of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are all substances that raises levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body thereby increasing your level of stress rather than reduce it. You should instead drink water or diluted fruit juices and herbal teas to help keep yourself hydrated and enable your body to cope better with stress. You should also reduce your intake of sugar. Too much sugar can cause a sugar crash which can lead to you feeling very tired, confused and anxiety.. A healthy diet is very important to help clear your mind and make you feel better about yourself.
2) Exercise- Physical exercise is a good way to de- stress, clear your head and make you feel much calmer and relaxed. If you feel stressed get some fresh air and go for a walk. Try to include exercising into your daily routine. Exercising will also help to improve your sleep.
3) Get More Sleep- A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Stress can disturb your sleep as you will have thoughts running through your head stopping you from relaxing enough to sleep. You need to learn how to switch off from work or whatever it is that is causing you stress. You need to give your brain time to calm down before you go to bed. Try taking a warm bath or lighting some candles in your room and reading a book to tire you eyes and help you forget about the things that worry you. Avoid caffeine in the evening as this can keep you awake. You should also aim to go to bed at the same time each night to get your body into this routine.
4) Try Relaxation Techniques- You need to try a few different techniques to see what will work best for you. A simple technique is to focus on a word that has a positive meaning to you. Words such as ‘calm’, ‘love’ or ‘positivity’ can work well. Focus on your chosen word, if you find your mind has wandered and feel yourself getting worked up, try to block this out and focus on your chosen word. Simply repeat the word to try and focus. It can be hard to focus at first you just need to practice.
5) Talk to Someone- Sometimes talking to someone about how you feel can help. Stress can cloud your judgement. Talking to a friend or a professional can help you to see things more clearly and help you to find solutions to your stress.
6) Keep a Stress Diary- Keeping a stress diary is very effective as it will help you to determine what it is that causes you to stress. Keep a diary for a few weeks and see if this will help. Take note of the date, time and place of where you feel stressed, what you are doing, who you are with, how you felt emotionally. Use the diary as a guide to understand what causes you to stress. This will help you to avoid stressful situations and learn how to resolve this.
7) Take Control- Stress can be triggered by a problem which may seem impossible to solve. You need to take control and write down all the possible solutions to resolving this. Think of the pros and cons to each solution and choose the best option for you. Write down the steps involved in this: what you need to do, how will you do this, who is involved and where will it take place.
8) Manage Your Time- A common cause of stress is our ‘To Do’ list which feels like it is never ending! You need to accept that you can not do everything at once and learn to prioritize. Make a list of all the jobs you need to do and list them in order of priority. See which jobs you need to do yourself and what to delegate to others. See which jobs need to be done today, this week and next week. This approach is allowing you to break down your tasks into smaller and more manageable lists.
9) Learn to Say No!- For many people you can feel extremely stressed when you have too much work to do yet you still will agree to take on additional work. Learning to say ‘No’ to additional work will help you to reduce your level of stress. A lot of people find it difficult to say ‘No’ because they want to help and are trying to be nice. If you feel uncomfortable saying ‘No’ at first, try another way of getting out of it. Try saying “I’d love to do this but…..” or “I’m sorry I can’t help as I’m busy right now”.
10) Rest If You Are Ill- If you are feeling unwell make sure you rest. You might feel like you can keep going but this will make you feel worse. It is important to rest up to allow your body to recover.
Love The Vida Glow Team xxx