13 Jun Managing Stress in a Stressful World
Whether we like it not, none of us are immune to stress and in the modern world there are triggers everywhere. For some it may be money worries or a high-pressure job, others may have family or relationship struggles, you could have health concerns be that physical or mental, or worries about the environment and dare I say it… Brexit!
Who ever you are, it is highly likely you will be faced with one or more of these stressors in any given week.
Stress is not always a bad thing, in fact it is inherently part of us and our survival mechanism which is designed to keep us safe in times of danger. However, if stress is not managed in the right way and becomes overwhelming, it can have a negative impact on your life.
My top tips on managing stress come from experience, having worked in a highly stressful job as a head teacher with very little work-life balance. I have learnt over the years how best to deal with the stresses in my life and ways to determine whether my stress levels are manageable or becoming too much. In learning to manage stress I have also found a huge sense of appreciation for so many elements of my life. By taking the time to understand the way I react to stress and what works for me to reduce it, I now have a much more mindful approach to my everyday life.
My first step when dealing with stress is to really try and identify the root cause of it. So many people throw the term “feeling stressed” around without actually acknowledging why or what is causing them to feel that way. Once you’ve identified the cause(s) you can start to look at ways to alleviate this pressure.
It’s important to step back and evaluate the people you are surrounding yourself with. Ask yourself whether they are positive, inspiring people who bring out the best in you. If the answer is no, as harsh as it may be, you should consider reducing the time you spend with them. This has been a huge eye opener for me in my current role. My team are optimistic, driven and always supportive of each other. This breeds positivity and spurs everyone on to be the best version of themselves.
Don’t underestimate the power of vitamins and diet. Stripping it right back to basics, get outside and get as much Vitamin D as possible! It’s scientifically proven that Vitamin D is a powerful mood booster so use it! If you work in an office, make sure you go outside at lunch, consider walking or cycling to work or enjoying the outdoors in the evenings and on weekends. Secondly on the topic of vitamins and diet, be completely honest with yourself. Are you eating too much processed/refined food? Are you drinking too much alcohol? So many people underestimate the significance this stuff has on the way we feel physically and mentally. I decided to adopt a plant-based diet and have experienced firsthand the benefits. I feel more alert, my skin improved, I lost weight and my overall mood was enhanced. Personally, I’ve never looked back!
Exercise has also been a huge help as a stress reliever. Not only does it flood your body with endorphins, it gives you a focus and some much needed time out for yourself. I’m a firm believer that we can’t expect to perform at our best mentally if our body isn’t fit and healthy. Find an exercise you enjoy and work on becoming fit4biz!
As I touched on in my last point it is so important in the stressful world we live in that we make time for ourselves. Dedicate some time each week to do something that makes you happy. When you find yourself feeling stressed in the week you can focus on that small gap where you’ll be totally away from it all. Investing in self care is essential for being in the best place possible physically and mentally. Be kind to yourself!
There will always be stresses in our lives, some more manageable than others. I hope that with these tips you’ll be able to relieve some of your own stress.