Stress is a major factor in all our lives and indeed some stress is good for us. It keeps us alert, stretches us achieve more than we could initially have envisaged and makes us dig deep within ourselves. But sustained stress over long periods of time or experienced in several areas of our lives simultaneously can be wearing and ultimately impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Stress can cause health problems, reduce the efficacy of our immune system and impact on our confidence and self-esteem.
Let’s look at five top tips to manage stress:
– Prioritize what’s going on in your life, what you need to do each day. Lists can be a great way of managing your priorities. Keep a notepad handy. That way you ensure that you don’t forget what needs to be done each day. Write everything down, from collecting the dry cleaning to making an urgent phone call. Itemize the list by degree of importance and cross each one out once done. If emergencies occur you may need to reorganise the list but at least everything can be readily referred to. And at the end of each day you can see how much you’ve achieved.
– Delegate. Some people are wary of asking for help. They don’t want to lose control or are concerned at what others might think. But delegating is an important part of co-existence. Whether it be at work or at home, with family, colleagues or friends, including others in tasks is important. It makes a task inclusive, empowers the people involved, gives them a sense of responsibility and pride in what they are doing, maybe even teaches them new skills. And they may come up with new ideas or better ways of doing things. Equally, they get to see how much you do.
– Accept that there’s no need to be perfect. Many people stress at the prospect of making a mistake and consequently check and double-check everything they do. However, most people appreciate that mistakes occasionally happen and adopt an, ‘it could just as easily have been me’ approach. In fact, many mistakes are discovered before any real harm is done; they are a fact of life, come from being productive. And successful people often say that they learned more from their mistakes, from the things that went wrong, than they ever did from the familiar, more routine parts of their business.
– Identify how much of your stress is self-imposed. Do you allow other people to judge you, are even triggered by voices from the past, of a dismissive school teacher or a critical parent who found you wanting and the echo of their words continues to influence and affect you. Counselling and hypnotherapy can help to heal the memory of those past experiences, deal with the demons and become confident and strong again.
– Take care of yourself. Establishing a balance in life is an important way to manage stress. Ensure you have regular breaks throughout the day for healthy food and water, minimise caffeine intake and unhealthy snacks. Exercise is a good balance in a life with much intense mental effort. Try to maintain a healthy sleeping routine. Switch off an hour or two before bed, wind down and, especially in stressful periods of your life, be good to yourself. Schedule in some fun.
Susan Leigh is a Counselor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples in crisis to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.
Further help, advice and articles are available. For more information email, telephone or visit her website.