5 ways to manage the stress in your life

Years ago when I first researched the topic of stress, I learned that there’s good stress and there’s bad stress.

The good stress works for us when we need a bit of a boost to get things done on a deadline or when we need to perform in whichever way, like speak to a group, give a presentation, and so on.

But then you reach that point. The point where you’re so fraught with nerves, you literally just snap at the slightest thing.

For some of us, this only happens as we approach the end of a long year without a holiday but for others, it might feel like we’re permanently frazzled and on edge.

That’s not good.

I generally manage my stress well but I’ve learned to check in with my body regularly, especially when I notice that I’m snapping at people and generally being unreasonable and not myself.

The key here is to acknowledge that some parts of life are going to be stressful. Your personality, life stage, and career will generally dictate what is stressful to you.

However, the trick is to incorporate enough of the stress busters below into your daily routine so you de-stress regularly.

  1. Exercise

Research shows that regular exercise is a good, healthy stress reliever. Find out what kind of movement works for you. There are dance classes, walking, running, swimming, cycling, kick-boxing, and of course, working out at the gym. From personal experience, I can tell you that a boxing class is a great stress reliever to take out your frustrations.

  1. Get enough sleep

Research also shows that most people need between 7 and 8 hours’ sleep every night. Just like babies, when we don’t get enough sleep, we get crabby and everything irritates us.

I set a goal to have an average of 7 hours 30 minutes of sleep every day. The lovely thing about an average is that you can’t only sleep well 2 nights out of 7. It’s got to become a habit.

  1. Learn to say “no”

Many people are stressed because of built-up resentment due to their inability or unwillingness to say no. Trust me – it gets easier the more you say it.

If it’s really difficult for you to say no, start with small things like refusing a second helping or declining to have a perfume sample at the mall. Then you build up to saying no to parts of projects or to invitations to events you don’t care for.

  1. Practise self-care

Self-care is not only taking a bubble bath to getting a manicure or a massage. I actually feel that it’s knowing what works for you and incorporating daily or weekly parts into your life. Part of my self-care is reading every day and getting outside for a weekly walk. My self-care also includes having strong boundaries like saying no. The main thing is to do something for YOU on at least a weekly basis, preferably daily.

  1. Use your support system regularly

When you feel overwhelmed or frazzled, call a friend, family member or colleague, either just to talk or to help you!

Stress assessments online test whether you have a person in your life to talk to when you feel stressed. Find such a person for yourself. You don’t always need answers; it’s just to talk through things.

Which of these ideas will you next put into practice for better mental health?

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