Here's a selection of practical actions and suggestions on how to develop a low stress, high resilience mindset. Make this framework part of your daily routine.
1. Stress is not the enemy
Managing stress does not necessarily mean eliminating stress from your life.
The key to successful stress management is to know how far you are able to move out of your comfort zone, and how often you are willing to do this.
Provided you anticipate and manage periods of high demand, and balance these with appropriate periods of review and recovery, you'll be in control of your commitments and your attitude, and well positioned to communicate any concerns you may have if you feel you're moving away from your zone of best performance.
2. Managing stress levels with healthy eating
Each day, aim to consume more foods that calm you than those which can aggravate stress. Oily fish, chicken, turkey, whole-grains, berries and nuts, will all help keep you calm. Caffeine, sugar, chocolate, pastries, refined carbohydrates, high fat foods and alcohol can all contribute to increased stress levels.
3. How to get a great night of rest and recovery
To be at your most resilient, you need to rest and recover well at night, but in very busy periods people can find it difficult to relax unwind and sleep well.
Spend a little time researching your guaranteed pre-sleep routine for the period leading up to bedtime to ensure that you are able to fall asleep promptly when you’d like to, and achieve optimum quality and quantity of sleep.
A warm drink and a few pages of a novel may be all you need to ensure good sleep. Don’t be tempted to work right up to the moment when you drop off.
4. Move more, stress less
Movement helps rid the body of stress hormones quickly so, even during your busiest periods, make sure you move regularly.
Don't view moving away from the desk as lost working time but instead associate it with an opportunity to stay calm, change your perspective, think creatively, and come up with some solutions that might be hard to access while sitting in front of your computer.
5. Balance your life and set some boundaries
Stress can be caused by too much work (or too much of anything in life) leaving you feeling that the balance isn't where you'd like it to be.
You'll find it harder to maintain balance in your routine if you're not clear what good balance looks like so be diligent in planning and making time for the things you enjoy and that nourish your overall success or there are plenty of other less enjoyable jobs waiting to steal that time.
6. Give yourself a break - regularly
Your mind and body need regular moments of distraction. Compile a list of small actions that you can do every day that you enjoy, that help you feel totally in the moment and that make you happy.
Then find an effective way to remember to put these actions into place. A few moments of reflection / distraction every 90 minutes can boost motivation and focus, and lead to your entire day being more productive.
7. Drink water, stay calm
Dehydration makes us irritable which leads to stress all round. Drink your 2-litres every day without fail.
8. Breathe, relax, refocus
It sounds obvious but we all think better and feel calmer when there's plenty of oxygen flowing to our brain. Regular breaks to breathe deeply and reassess your priorities for the day will help you minimise stress from morning to night.
9. Be a stress-reducing role model
Where you can, aim to reduce stress for others. Simple actions can make a huge difference so look to see where you can support your colleagues and they will look out for opportunities to return the favour.
Consider how you might avoid adding any stress to colleagues today – this is easily achieved by thinking about how you communicate. Aim to be focused with your emails, conversations and meetings so that you always help others to move projects steadily forward. Communicate messages that save colleagues time, rather than costing them time.