When we think of stress, it would be fair to say that we generally associate it with things that we don’t like. And it is ubiquitous – almost everywhere we look people are talking about it. However, we all need a little bit of stress to be at our productive best but too much stress can certainly be a bad thing. Feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to accomplish the things that we need to and that are important can begin to permeate our lives when stress spirals out of control. In order to reduce that, try looking at the 9 steps below to help you get your stress under control.
1. Make two lists. One of all the things that are stressing you out and another of what you need to do. Then, try to complete just one task from your to-do list. Putting your stressors on paper in front of you can be a healthy release. Additionally, the first step in a project is commonly the most daunting. You’ll feel more in control by getting that first step over and done with.
2. Spend time with those around you and get support. Spending time with family and friends can be the fix you need. It’s easy to get stuck in your head about things and sometimes just letting it out and feeling supported/knowing you have people on your side can be of comfort.
3. Exercise. Exercising helps clear your mind so that you’re only focused on the activity in front of you. Additionally, it gets your ‘feel-good’ endorphins pumping and can improve your quality of sleep.
4. Resolve personal conflicts. Personal conflicts can have more of an impact on you than you think. Your relationships are important to you and if something is bothering you or not sitting right, it can be the icing on the cake of a stressful day. Reach out to the person and communicate what you’re feeling.
5. Prioritise ‘you’ time. It can be hard to say no to friends and family, but it’s important to take time to fill up your personal fuel tank. This can take the form of an activity or hobby that you’re passionate about or having a nap and just staying in to watch a movie. It’s ok to say no if it means conserving your energy and maintaining a healthy headspace.
6. Get a good night sleep. A good night sleep can be enough to fix a lot of problems. It helps calm and restore the body, stabilises your mood, improves concentration and sharpens cognitive function.
7. Reflect on what’s stressing you out. And consider whether it’s rational or not. Will it matter in a week? A month? A year? Some stress can be good and it’s important to care about the things that matter but it’s also extremely common to get weighed down by something that’s insignificant.
8. Reduce caffeine. Often times when people have a lot they need to get done they turn to caffeine to give them energy. However, we don’t recommend this as caffeine is a stimulant that has been shown to increase anxiety.
9. Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Stress can come from a fear of the unknown or of things that are out of your control. Meditation and mindfulness help you stay focused on the present. Additionally, relaxation techniques can help mitigate the bodily effects of stress.