By Ian Pearson
Most people would agree that stress is a normal part of life. But just because it’s “normal,” it does not mean that we do not need to worry about persistent, chronic stress that puts us under pressure every day. Stress is a real and serious threat to our health, both physical and mental. It can endanger your emotional equilibrium and affect your personal relationships, but also your professional performance. Just because stress is inescapable in our everyday life, it does not mean we cannot do something in order to relieve it and lessen its harmful effects. Learning how to manage your everyday stress is going to benefit you in the long term. Here are a few strategies that will help.
Face the problem
The first step in managing stress is identifying its source. It’s easy to brush it off, saying that your job is stressful, but the only way to improve the current situation is by looking deeper. Are your work tasks stressing you out or is it your procrastination and poor time management that make it unbearable? More often than not, we are also somewhat responsible for our stress levels. Start a journal and note down what causes you stress and how you deal with the situation. This will help you see patterns clearer and come up with ways to cope.
Control stressors as much as possible
Some stressors are out of our control, and you cannot possibly eliminate all of them. However, there is still a lot of unnecessary stress we expose ourselves to that could be minimized for the sake of our wellbeing. For instance, we already mentioned procrastination and poor time management. Get to the bottom of these issues and you’ll do yourself a favor. In addition, learning how to say no is an invaluable skill. Know your limits and when it’s time to focus on yourself instead of other people. If there are certain situations or people that stress you out, limit your exposure to them or try to understand what needs to be changed so that they don’t affect you negatively as much.
Accept what you cannot control
While you may take control over some of the stressors that are causing you problems, obviously, you cannot control everything. Learning how to accept and deal with things you cannot change is also an important strategy. Instead of beating yourself up about things that are out of your control, be kind to yourself, practice mindfulness and gratitude, and focus more on the positive things. It’s never all bad.
Stay physically active
Exercise is important for both mental as well as physical health reasons. It’s also one of the best ways to relieve stress – it boosts your brain’s happy hormone production, it helps you take your mind off things, and it leaves you pleasantly tired, ready for a good night’s sleep. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, incorporate exercise into your daily activities. For instance, cycle to work, or walk your friend’s dog. Any kind of exercise is welcome.
Look to improve yourself
You might feel like managing your stress is beyond your capacities. However, what you might be lacking is confidence in yourself and your abilities. If you are ready to change your life but are not sure where to start, you might want to consider looking up performance coaching. Talking to a professional can help you understand yourself better and see your path clearer. It will empower you to change your mindset and take better control of your personal as well as professional life. When it’s about your future and your wellbeing, it’s worth going the extra mile.
Set aside time for fun
Our days are usually so hectic and busy that we hardly have time for ourselves. However, leaving ourselves no time to mentally take a break and do something we love is exhausting and leads to frustration and unhappiness. This is why setting aside time for fun is an important stress management strategy. It does not sound too bad, does it? Nurturing your love for your hobby or simply taking some time off to watch your favorite TV shows will recharge you and relieve some of your stress.
Keep in touch
In the daily hustle and bustle, sometimes we go weeks without seeing our friends. However, keeping in touch with loved ones and spending time together regularly is one of the best medicines for stress. As little as having a cup of coffee together will momentarily make you forget about your problems and make you feel better. So, be sure to make time for connecting with others. Text an old friend, call someone for a walk, or join a club. Nothing can substitute human connections.
Share your worries
Keeping everything bottled up naturally makes us tenser until we reach our breaking point. You can control this better and manage your stress by simply sharing your worries with others. Even if they can offer you no solution, simply talking about your problems will lessen your burden. However, make sure you do not treat your friends as personal therapists. Ask them if they are comfortable with you sharing your worries, or consider talking to an actual therapist. Learning how to manage your stress is an important part of self-care. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re having trouble doing it all alone. After all, your wellbeing is the most important.