Life can sometimes feel hectic and overwhelming. So here are 16 stress busting strategies to help you and your colleagues stay calm, focused and effective at all times.
1. Accept that stress is part of life’s rich tapestry
There's a possibility that life might not always be plain sailing. There are times when we need to push out of our comfort zone to grow and develop. This can lead to feelings of anxiety or stress but will also usually result in some positive change or improvement in life. Embrace it, don't fight it.
2. Understand what feelings of stress mean
The stress response is a sign that we feel out of control in some element of our routine and that we need to take action to re-establish this balance. Once you are in the habit of responding appropriately to feeling stressed, you will feel calmer, sooner.
When stress strikes, take a moment to isolate the trigger and at least one corresponding positive thought or action that you can put into practice right away that will address the situation.
3. Redefine Stress Management
Managing stress does not necessarily mean eliminating stress. The key to success is to know how far you are willing to move out of your comfort zone and how often you are willing to do this. You can then manage how quickly you make progress through life without ever feeling overwhelmed.
4. Be a Team Player
Just as others may cause you stress, so you may cause stress for those around you. Pause for a moment and think about what you do that could cause stress for others. Then consider alternative approaches. If everyone in any team or family asks themselves this question, overall levels of stress are greatly reduced.
5. Change your attitude
Complaining colleagues or pressure situations may be frustrating but can be used to your advantage. Reassure yourself that while relationships may be strained or days can be challenging, every situation you find yourself in will teach you something valuable and you will always be learning new skills and techniques that will help you in the future.
6. Change your environment
Identify what it is that causes you the most stress and do something quickly to avoid these situations. Think about your daily habits and routines at work and what you might do differently.
In what new ways can you organise your day that will prevent you bumping up against people and situations that challenge your energy, effectiveness and mood?
Small adjustments can make a huge difference. Sometimes we're just too busy to think about our day this way so take time to plan and you'll reap the benefits later.
7. Change your approach but no need to reinvent the wheel
If you regularly feel stressed, whatever you are doing now is not working so something has to change. Identify what you’d like to change, find a colleague or friend who is successful in this area of life and model their approach. The way they operate might not provide the full solution for your situation but learning from others always provides new insights that help perfect our own success strategies.
8. Remember the stress response is natural
In the days of the caveman we dealt with it by fighting or fleeing, both of which can be difficult in a work environment. The next best thing is to channel your stress into positive activity - step out of the situation and immerse yourself in an absorbing project or take a short break for some physical movement. You'll instantly feel much calmer
9. Be honest about the lifestyle choices you make
Stress has mental and physical implications. You must be honest about your responses to stress and whether or not they will really help you feel better. Faced with a super busy day ahead, loading up with caffeine and a sugary breakfast will only leave you feeling more stressed. Alternative choices such as porridge or eggs with herbal tea or water will calm your system and help reduce stress levels.
Positive lifestyle choices can be invaluable in the quest to find simple ways to take control wherever you can and return to a state of calm, clear thinking as quickly as possible.
10. Get active regularly
Going for a regular walk, run, swim, gym class or team workout will not only make you fitter and healthier but it's an excellent way to forget office stress and focus on positive thoughts. You're not only looking after yourself but you’re adopting a great new habit that will help you manage stress.
For best results fit in some activity every day (10,000 steps or 30-minutes of low-moderate intensity movement) and aim to complete a more challenging workout or group activity every 2-3 days.
11. Eat Better and Sleep Better
When feeling stressed it can be tempting to let a healthy diet slip and eat foods that ironically enough will end up leaving you feeling even more stressed as they impact on your ability to physically and mentally relax and sleep at night.
Whether you forget to eat or you binge on coffees and fast food, you're making it impossible for your body to function well and wind down sufficiently in the evening to help you get a decent night’s sleep.
Good sleep is essential to recovering from each day, making sense of everything you’ve been through, recharging mind and body and boosting resilience for the day to follow.
Here are some healthy links that will improve your sleep
Eat your way to a great night’s sleep: 1
Eat your way to a great night’s sleep: 2
12. Book a Trip Away
Having something in the diary to look forward to can really help you get through challenging days. Don't wish your life away but filling your diary with great things to look forward to can dramatically improve your ability to cope with everyday pressure situations.
13. Take regular breaks during the day
A sequence of stressful events during a day can mount up and leave you feeling frazzled by bedtime. Stress isn't always bad and sometimes we need it to really get us motivated but just make sure you balance stressful events with time to nourish your mind and body and refocus.
Take a time out, change your scene, move your body, get some fresh air, eat a healthy snack or do something fun or distracting.
14. Get organised
Stress creeps in when we feel out of control. Look at everything you need to do each day and prioritise carefully. Tackle the big projects first and tick off your daily successes. Keep track of the way you organise yourself every day that brings you the best results and leaves you feeling stress free. Then aim to run each day in the same way.
15. Keep a stress journal
You don’t have to spend ages on this but it’s important to gather hard evidence around what creates pressure in your life. Every time something happens that leaves you feeling stressed, note it down. After a week, you should be able to see a pattern and spot what your stress triggers are. Now you know what you need to work on.
16. Don’t sweat the big stuff
Sometimes no amount of low level stress busting seems to help because perhaps you are not in the right company, position or situation for your personality type. Changing job, career or even family circumstances can feel like a tough task to take on but these are sometimes areas that need to be examined.
In fact, often people report feeling much happier once they’ve explored these areas and made some key decisions. Again, writing a journal should throw up some valuable insights for you to think about and take action on when the time is right. Remember, you might not necessary need to make any major changes immediately, or even for a while, but exploring options and giving yourself choices for the future is a great way to reduce everyday stress.