As part of our initiative for International Stress Awareness Week 2019, which runs from 4-8 November, Astutis are hosting a special guest blog from the International Stress Management Association:
As the winter nights draw closer, and the political saga continues, many of us can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed by what’s still left to come.
During times of uncertainty and change, there is often little we can do to influence or control the situation, which can leave us feeling powerless, angry and anxious. We all know what it is like to feel stressed when under pressure, whether it is a quest for a work life balance, money trouble, health problems, keeping up with social media, or winter blues - the list is endless. So, it is no wonder these uncertainties are causing us to feel stressed.
Many of us experience stress, but it can be difficult to manage. Dealing with, and managing stress is not only vital for our physical wellbeing, but also our mental health. With International Stress Awareness Week just around the corner, we asked Carole Spiers, Founder of National Stress Awareness Day and Chair ISMA UK, for her top 10 tips on how to manage and reduce stress.
Top 10 Tips for Managing Stress
1) Adopt a healthy lifestyle:If we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure we get adequate sleep and rest, our body is better able to cope with stress should it occur. If this is not the case, then this may be a warning sign so don’t ignore it. Engaging in some form of physical activity may help you by working off the biochemical and physical changes that occur within your body due to stress. Relaxation also helps your body return to its normal healthy state. Good relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, massage and a variety of complimentary therapies.
2) Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as coping mechanisms:
Long term, these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to the problem. For example, Alcohol is a depressant and caffeine and nicotine are stimulants – too much and the body reacts to this with the stress response increasing or even causing anxiety symptoms.
3) Find time to meet friends:
Friends can ease work troubles and help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends help us relax and we will often have a good laugh. It also boosts the immune system that is often depleted during stress.
4) Learn to manage your time more effectively:
We waste a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so prioritise your day and do the important jobs first. The unimportant ones can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Also, do not put off the unpleasant tasks – avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority and do them first.
5) Take time out to relax and recharge your batteries:
You will perform more effectively during work if you regularly take a short 10 / 15-minute break, easily making up the time you used relaxing. Alongside this, at least one annual break of at least 10-14 continuous days is recommended.
6) Find out what causes you stress:
Take time to discover what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts and behaviour to reduce it. A stress assessment can help you to fully understand the causes, the implications to your health and how to manage, cope and make necessary changes.
7) Avoid unnecessary conflict:
Do not be too argumentative. Is it worth the stress? Look for win - win situations. Look for a resolution to a dispute where both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Find out what the real cause of the problem is and deal with it.
8) 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 essential or else performance will be reduced.
9) Try to see things differently, develop a positive thinking style:
If something is concerning you, try to see it differently. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets out of proportion. Often, 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 and / or burnout.
10) Be kind to yourself!
Some people cope with stressful situations better than others, mainly due to being more resilient. The good news is that resilience can be taught, and all of these tips will help to build your resilience and enables us to cope with what life throws at us.
For more information about International Stress Awareness Week and National Stress Awareness Day visit: www.isma.org.uk.