25 WAY TO TACKLE STRESS

Any of these sound familiar?

Headache of juggling financial pressures; a never ending ‘To Do’ list; desperately trying to manage high expectations; battling to handle tense family; work or friendship dynamics; constant reminders of past experiences; exacerbated feelings of anxiety and depression…and it goes on and on

Stress can quickly escalate and become overwhelming and unmanageable.  Below are 25 tips to help you manage your stress both practically and mentally.

THE PRACTICAL

1.REDUCE GENERAL LIFE DEMANDS

If things just become too much, even if this is just for now, put aside general routines and tasks which are not urgent or necessary.  This allows a space to be created which you need to decompress and functioning efficiently.

2. PRIORITISE

Yes you have made the list but have you prioritised it?  Sometimes a list is just not enough, it needs to be categorised:

  • Urgent Important: Deadlines; Real crises; last minute preparations; meaningful appointments.
  • Not Urgent Important: Planning; problem prevention; self-development; health; relaxation; relationship building.
  • Urgent Not Important: some calls & emails, reporting on someone else’s problems, shallow relationships.
  • Not Urgent Not Important: Social media, Watching TV, Gossiping

3. GET ORGANISE

  • Make a to do list and up date, update and up date.
  • Keep forgetting – post-it on your fridge.
  • Note book with your task list
  • Calendar update; Diary carry with you

4. PLAN YOUR TIME

Planning your time is one of the best presents you can give yourself and as far in advance as possible.

Don’t just divide up your week, Divide up the hours in your day:

  • Break up your day into hours and set tasks for each hour, time of day.
  • Set 15 minutes in the go over your task list and how best to achieve them logistically, practically and importance.
  • Set 10 minutes at the end of the day to review your task list of that day – strike through, update, amend.
  • Set 10 minutes at the end of the day and write out the next days To Do list.
  • Review calendar weekly, check nothing is coming up.
  • Keep track: locate an area on your fridge where reminders go, where your calendar is; find a spot on your desk which has all your receipts, cards, letters and diary ready to be actioned when its time comes. 

5. TAKE ACTION

All these are well and good but if you don’t do the task written on the list the night before so ferociously then nothing will get done.

Try not to be overwhelmed.  Do one task at a time.  Once it is done cross it off.  This striking off will directly impact on your dopamine level giving you a boost to achieving your next task! 

6. BUDGET

  • Plan each Month before
  • List: How much comes in and How much goes out
  • Prioritise your spending
    1. Urgent
    2. Necessary
    3. Important
    4. Significant
    5. Minor
  • Divide spending amount in relevance to their importance
  • Put time and energy into researching options to help with getting the most out of your money 

7. DECIPHER WHICH TASK YOU DO FOR YOU & WHICH YOU DO FOR OTHERS

Take a piece of paper and divide it into four quadrants.  Label the quadrants as follows:

  • Things I do for other people in my life
  • Things I do for myself
  • Things other people in my life do for me
  • Things other people in my life do for themselves

Fill in all the quadrants with everything you can think of.

Have a look at the completed exercise and consider the following questions:

  • What do I notice?
  • What changes could I make?
  • What changes could I ask others to make?
  • What difference would these changes make to my life? 

8. DELEGATE & ACCEPT HELP

How many of the tasks are you doing for someone else?  How many of the tasks could be delegated to someone else?   Asking for help it necessary and normal. We can’t do everything on our own.

Sometimes it is us who make it hard for ourselves but not allowing people to help us.  You must allow others to help you, even if it is an ear to listen, it will help destress and unload the burden.  Use the support system you have around you.  It is ineffective to attempt tackling everything by yourself.  Recognise where you need help, what you weaknesses are or what is causing the most pressure and ask for help. 

9. KEEP A STRESS DIARY

If those thoughts of worry and stress can’t be kept at bay Keep a stress diary.  This can be used as a way to let go of or put away those worries to create space for productive and positive thoughts or as a management tool where you can reflect on to become more aware of the situations which cause you to become stressed and thus help you address them in the future.

  • Note down the date, time and place of each stressful episode
  • Note what you were doing, who you were with
  • How did you feel, physically and emotionally?
  • Rate each stressful episode on a 1-10 scale
  • When reflecting back think about
    • Are there any commonalities in the situation (i.e. triggers)?
    • What could be different about the situation which would have made it less stressful?
    • How effective were you in managing this stressful situation?
    • What could you have done to make the situation less stressful?
    • Did you use any coping mechanisms during the stressful situation?
    • What coping mechanisms could have helped during that situation? 

10. EXERCISE

Taking time out of our day to exercise will help us be more motivated, focused and energised in more ways than one:

  1. Reduces stress with the release of endorphins.
  2. Improves concentration, encourages productivity and creativity.
  3. Creates new brain cells and helps with decision making, high-thinking and learning.
  4. Increases relaxation by reducing muscle tension, metabolises excess adrenaline and thyroxin (chemicals which keep us in a state of arousal i.e panic!) and discharges pent-up frustration and anger. 

11. SLEEP & NOURISH

Give yourself enough rest time, time to recover and reboot.  Spread the nights out with a rest day in between; eat healthy the next day or following days; plan what you are going to eat and drink beforehand.

Enjoy yourself while setting boundaries which are balanced and achievable.  Try not to be too restrictive causing us to rebel against our own rules leaving us feeling guilty, shameful, disappointed.

 

THE MINDFUL

12. NOT ALL STRESS IS BAD STRESS

Stress is not always negative.  It can be helpful when you need a burst of energy.  If we see it as the enemy it will be one.

Find out what is associated with the stress you are feeling now.  If you label the stress and the cause you are more able to deal with the situation easily and effectively.  So rather than saying “I’m stressed with work” what about “I’m struggling with not getting that promotion” or deeper still “I feel undervalued, not good enough, unrecognised”.

13. KEEP YOUR COOL & STAY CALM

  1. Ways to stay calm
    1. Find out your triggers so you can better prepare for them
    2. Practice reactions to perceived or expected situations
  • Pre-empt with reading physical warning signs
  1. Deep breaths and seek space
  2. Breakdown what you mean when you say “I’m feeling stressed”. W

What you think its related to and what could a solution look like?

  1. Take yourself out of the situation and look back on it as if you were watching yourself in that situation, rerun the situation in your head, what did it feel like, what would you have like to done differently, what would help you next time in that situation?

14. RESTRUCTURING YOUR THINKING

Think positive and reframe negative expectations and thought patterns.  The premise being:

  • Events or situations do not have inherent meaning; you assign them a meaning based on how you interpret the event.
  • Behind every thought is your underlying beliefs and assumptions that are structure and instigate your thinking.
  • There is a positive intention behind every negative thought – i.e it is your mind which is thinking for You, it is not your enemy, it is a part of you, it is not out of your control because it is a part of you, it is not separate from you, it is you. It is not fighting against itself there is a positive intention, a protection perhaps in the form of defence, a preparation in fear or expectation of being hurt.

Example of Reframing a negative statement:

“I can’t handle this”

Into

“I’ve faced many challenges before, and I’ve managed and survived them all.   Not only that but I am stronger and more able because of it”.

You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind

Joyce Meyer

15. UNDERSTAND THE PRESSURE

Recognising where the pressure is coming from is essential in order to know whether we can control it or whether it is out of our control.  Is it an internal pressure which is causing stress or an external one?

If it is something you put on yourself you can change it but you need to look inside in order to do so.

16. RECOGNISE THE IMPOSSIBILITY PERFECTIONISM

Often it is we who puts the pressure on ourselves in the form of perfectionism.  Sometimes it is worth taking a step back and asking

Who am I really doing this for?

Is anyone else going to care or even notice if things are done to perfection?

Will the person still love me even if things aren’t “perfect”?

At what cost to my health and sanity is it in trying to achieve a “perfect” holiday season?

Only you can give yourself the break that you need by letting go of the fantasy that is perfection.

17. WAYS TO BE WORRY FREE IS SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY

Stress exacerbates difficulties felt with depression and/or anxiety.  Greater understanding, support and forward planning is needed when one is aware when a up and coming event, situation etc. will be stressful.

6 Ways to deal with Worry

  1. Emptying your Mind: this may involve writing down your pessimistic and negative thoughts, particularly before going to bed and when starting your day.
  2. Filling up your Mind with positive, powerful and supporting thoughts.
  3. Think of the positive things you have experienced during the day in people and in general
  4. Remove yourself from any situation that feels depressing, causes worry or panic.
  5. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
  6. Exercise and nourish yourself with good food. This will help both mind and body.

18. BE MENTALLY PREPARED

A particularly important way of managing stress is recognising WHERE you experience it most, i.e. at work, in the family etc. and WHEN i.e. particular times of the year, when on holiday, when in a strange place.  In knowing this you can help yourself prepare mentally.  Working through the questions below might help you with this.

  1. Write down what your worries or fears are?
  2. What do you expect to happen?
  3. Has this situation happened before or is it an internal fear?
  4. If it has happened before what would you have done differently in the situation?
  5. If it happens again what will you do?
  6. Think of all possible (real not just feared) outcomes (both “good” and “bad”) and the decision you would take in each situation.

To help us prepare for a situation we need to first decipher whether it is actual or an exception we then need to create the situation in our head as a role play determining how best we would like the situation to turn out and how we can control what we do to make that happen.

Remember you can only control what you do.

19. LEARN BY PAST EXPERIENCES & PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

What has come to past we can all learn from.   We can take those experiences good, bad and ugly and find something which we can use in the future.

What mistakes have you made and how can they be avoided in the future?

What mistakes have you made previously and how have you managed them this time?

What mistakes are you still repeatedly making?

What have your learnt from your past that you are putting into action now?

20. RECOGNISE AND FOCUS ON WHAT YOU HAVE NOT WHAT YOU HAVEN’T

We can get lost in the pressures of wanting everything “perfect” including ourselves.  Sometimes we need to take a step back and assess what you have in your life already.  This not only instills gratitude but also a sense of acceptance and contentment, rather than looking forward stay in the now.

If you feel like you still get brought down by thoughts of what you haven’t got, write them down on a list and grade them to their importance.  Leave the list and come back in a week or perhaps less of more and reassess how you feel about it, grading it again.  We often get caught up in the moment and if revisited at another time feel completely different about its necessity.

21. UNDERSTAND YOUR PERSONAL MEANING

Keep in touch with what life means for you.  What makes it special, what brings you happiness?  What is the meaning for you?

22. TRY AND BE IN THE NOW

Flashbacks of past experiences and reliving painful memories can be frequent and raw.  These are important parts of our past and need to be addressed.  Creating time to think, reflect, mourn and say goodbye to what has been often allows one to come back and connect with the now. 

23. LET GO

We sometimes hold onto the stress, even when we have no control over what is happening or going to happen, we still worry about it.  Why?  What is the worse that could happen?  You could be happy?

24. KEEP YOUR WANTS & NEEDS IN MIND

Remember this is your life.  Keep in mind your wants and needs.   Try not to get lost in the managing expectations and other’s wishes.  Keep your wants and needs a priority. 

25. ENJOY LIFE

In the end it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years, Abraham Lincoln

 

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