Yesterday’s article was on stress and how it affects your health. Today we would like to provide some simple suggestions to manage stress.
First of all, how you respond to stress determines your stress level. Are you the type of person who panics and loses it all during the initial signs of stress, or are you a calm, level-headed person who tries to think rationally when placed in a stressful situation?
Secondly, understanding the types and sources of stress – work, finance, kids, bills, travelling to/from work, even daily cooking – is an important part of stress management therapy. In other words, watch out for what triggers your stress. These could be physical, emotional, mental or behavioral situations.
When you take the first step to identify the cause of your stress, you can learn how to manage it; not eliminate it. As mentioned in the previous article, stress is a part of life.
Practice letting it go
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, like waiting outdoors on a scorching hot day in a long queue that does not seem to be moving forward, practice letting go of your frustration.
Try not to waste your energy or your thoughts by becoming angry or frustrated as to why the queue is not moving quickly. Instead, ask yourself, will anything improve if I lose my cool? Try turning your focus on something positive, like visualizing how relieved you will be once you complete your task and head home to rest up your feet and have a cool drink.
Practice time management
When you find yourself running late for an appointment and matters are made worse with bad traffic, your stress levels will rise. With some time management, e.g., making sure you get prepared early for your appointment, ensuring you have everything you need packed beforehand, and giving yourself some extra time “just in case” something unforeseeable happens, you can avoid a stressful situation, because you will have some extra time.
Prioritize your work
When you attempt to handle many projects simultaneously on your own, you are pulling yourself in different directions. This normally happens if you are running your own business and have no hired help.
Make use of a time planner or task management app to help you get through the day effectively. You have to plan out a priority list for your projects – even the urgent stuff needs to be prioritized! Allocate realistic deadlines for your projects, or if possible, give more time to complete each project.
Instead of getting frustrated and stressed out staring at the huge pile of work on your desk, one option would be to rope in temporary staff to help out. Consider hiring additional staff to help tackle the extra load, if your business shows signs of increasing.
Be realistic and don’t get stressed out if you get too much work – yes, this can happen even nowadays. Learn how to say “no” and turn down projects that do not justify your effort, unless you really need the extra income.
Be kind to yourself (me time)
Fact – holding a job and running a family is stressful and will drain you out physically, mentally and emotionally. Kids need to be sent for music classes, swimming classes, etc. Get your partner or the grandparents to help out while you take some time to care for yourself on a regular basis.
Me time can be just 10 minutes every morning to pray or do some meditation before the kids come charging into the bedroom, an hour of your favorite exercise (yoga, breathing exercises or Pilates are very relaxing), going for a massage or facial. You will be amazed how much better and recharged you feel after spending some time on yourself.
Here are some other options that may help reduce stress:
- essential oils like lavender can help with relaxation
- smiling more
- play soothing or calming music
- confide in a friend or your religious leader
- maintaining a healthy diet
- laugh it off – remember, laughter is the best medicine
- take up a hobby, e.g., gardening, reading, baking, etc.
- take up a group activity, e.g., line dancing, tai chi, etc.
Important – do not self-medicate!
Some people reach for medication, smoke or turn to alcohol to retreat into a private world to avoid stress. Doing so is not advised as it will only increase your stress level and negatively affect your health. Talk to your doctor instead.
Bottom line – stress is part and parcel of life. We must learn how to manage our stress for a peaceful mind and a longer, healthier life. Your body will thank you too!
The purpose of this article is to provide simple suggestions on stress management, and is in no way to be taken as medical advice. Readers are advised to consult a doctor for proper medical information on stress related matters, especially if they are on medication for current medical issues.
4th August 19:30 2020