Top Ten Stress-Busting Tips
From The International Stress Management Association UK – www.isma.org.uk
1. PRIORITISE – DO IMPORTANT THINGS FIRST
We can spend a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so prioritise your day and do important jobs first. The unimportant things can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Try not to put off unpleasant tasks, avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority, and do them first.
2. ADOPT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Try to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep and rest – then your body is better able to cope with stress should it occur. Engaging in physical activity may help you to work off the biochemical and physical changes that happen when stressed. Relaxation also helps your body return to its normal healthy state. Good relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, massage and wide variety of complementary therapies.
3. DON’T TAKE ON TOO MUCH
Know your limitations. We can become stressed and take on too much because we don’t want to let people down, but we can end up doing more than we should. Learn to delegate effectively and be assertive so that you can say ‘No’ without upsetting or offending.
4. BE AWARE OF WHAT IS CAUSING YOU STRESS
Take time to discover what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts and behaviour to reduce it. Mindfulness training can help you to understand your own mind and body better, so you less likely to move into stressful reactivity.
5. AVOID UNNECESSARY CONFLICT
Try not to be too argumentative. Is it really worth the stress? Look for win-win situations. Look for a resolution to a dispute so that both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Find out what the real cause of the problem is and deal with it.
6. ACCEPT THE THINGS YOU CANNOT CHANGE
Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on all that you do have control over. Managing change effectively is important for all of us, and things can change so quickly in today’s society. We need to flow with the changes.
7. TAKE TIME OUT TO RELAX AND RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES
During work hours, regularly take a 10-15 minute break if you can. At least one annual break of at least 10-14 continuous days is recommended.
8. FIND TIME TO MEET FRIENDS
Friends can ease our troubles and help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends helps us relax and we will often have a good laugh. It boosts the immune system that can be depleted when we are stressed.
9. TRY TO SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY, DEVELOP A POSITIVE THINKING STYLE
If something is worrying you, try to talk over the issue with someone before it gets out of proportion. Often to talking to a friend/colleague/family member will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective. You may also need to consider professional help in order to achieve the desired outcome and prevent ill health/burnout.
10. AVOID ALCOHOL, NICOTINE AND CAFFEINE AS COPING MECHANISMS
Long term, these coping strategies may just add to the problem. For example caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, too much and the body reacts to this with the stress response increasing or even causing anxiety symptoms. Remember too, that alcohol is a depressant.