Hans Selye, scientist and author of The Stress of Life once said, ‘It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it’. Being committed to work, family and other activities is a good trait of a responsible person. However, indulging yourself in your daily activities continuously without taking a break or relaxing your body can lead to fatigue and other health problems. Stress management includes a wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at controlling a person’s level of stress, especially chronic stress, to improve everyday functioning. So, the essence of stress management is to stay in control of your life.
It is safe to say that it is impossible to entirely avoid stressful situations in everyday living. We can only aim to manage stress. Thus, in managing stress, there are some tips/activities you need to pay attention to. This article gives you ways to reduce and effectively manage daily stress.
Plan your time
When you continually go through your day with unplanned activities, you wear yourself out faster. When it comes to having a to-do list, we know there are days where we have a cumbersome list which we can’t finish. First, to overcome the pressure of extra activities and unplanned events, understand that you can’t do everything at once. Identify the activities that you need to do yourself and the ones you can delegate to others. Then identify the activities that need to be done immediately and the ones that can be done later. You will then be able to share out the tasks and prioritise the urgent ones.
Follow your to-do list as planned
In sticking with your planned activities, you must learn to say ‘no’. Some people are good planners; they write out their desired activities for the day according to priority and level of urgency. However, they fail to follow their activities as planned and end up having a stressful day. These people simply take on jobs and tasks given to them by others, they do not know how to refuse. You’ve got many things to do in just a little time, the best way you can help yourself is by learning not to add more responsibility to the ones you have created for yourself. Understanding why you need to say ‘no’ and saying ‘no’ to additional tasks and unimportant errands will help you reduce your stress level and improve your self-confidence.
Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine
Try to avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine; these chemicals are stimulants that may increase stress levels rather than reduce it. Unfortunately, many of us have been led to believe that taking these stimulants in stressful situations will help us cope better. This is quite far from the truth. Alcohol can be a depressant when taken in large quantity. So, using alcohol to alleviate stress is not helpful. Rather than drinking caffeine or alcohol, you should drink water or diluted natural fruit juice. Ensuring that you keep yourself hydrated will help your body deal with stress. You should also cut down on your sugar intake. Refined sugar can cause an energy crash, which can make you feel tired. Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
Do some physical exercise
Whenever you feel tired or burned out, engage yourself in physical activity or exercise. These activities/exercises help the body to metabolise the excessive stress hormones and restore the body and mind to a calm and relaxed state. You can decide to go for a jog or a stroll in the park to get some fresh air. Ensure you incorporate exercise into your daily routine, either before work, at lunchtime or after work. These exercises can also improve the quality of your sleep, which is a major way to deal with stress.
Not sleeping well or not having enough sleep can cause stress. However, stress can also cause a lack of sleep as thoughts and ideas keep running through your head and pull you into an unending vicious cycle of stress-induced insomnia and insomnia caused by stress. Lack of sleep can be caused by various factors. One of the ways to help yourself sleep adequately is to cancel out any sort of work that involves concentration, a few hours before your bedtime. As mentioned earlier, avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol as these can disrupt sleep patterns. To enhance your bedtime, you can take a warm bath before laying on the bed, or you can get an interesting book to read for a few minutes to relax your body. You should plan your bedtime and have a set time to go to bed each night.
Write down solutions to problems
One of the things that triggers stress in the body is having a problem and not knowing how to resolve it. Learning how to solve each problem you are faced with helps you feel more in control, thereby reducing stress levels. Never try to solve a problem all in your head; write the problem down and come up with solutions. Write down how to execute the solutions you’ve written down and, if necessary, where to execute them. The brain feels relaxed when there are solutions to a problem written on paper. This helps to avoid over-thinking a problem which can increase mental stress.
Take care of yourself when sick
Never assume that work won’t go well without you being there. You should delegate work to others who can handle it. Never try to please your boss or customer by working despite being ill. Instead, you should consult a doctor to get treatment and the right medication. You may lose a small amount of time managing your illness, but you could end up losing a lot more time if you try to keep working when you’re not fit enough, as your body will eventually make you stop and you could be off work for a number of weeks.
The mere fact that you are willing to read through this article means you desire a stress-free life or one with minimal stress. As a student, or career professional, it is almost impossible to avoid stress altogether, but by following these tips you will be a better manager of your life and live a truly stress-free life.