What are the best practices in stress management?
As we continue our collective battles against the ravages of stress, it would be best to cap off our conversation with our very own “Golden Rules of Stress Management”.
These gentle reminders will serve as guideposts as you create your own effective techniques in combatting the individual stressors in your life.
Always remember: it’s impossible to get rid of all the stressors in one’s life.
It’s simply impossible because our minds will always find ways to see situations and circumstances as stressful. However, you will no longer be trapped by your own stress cycle. Stress will now be siphoned out of your life whenever it rears its ugly head.
Are you ready to beat stress? Here are the new rules of the battle against stress:
1. Choose to Relax
Do you consciously choose to relax or be stressed?
I’ve heard this countless times from family and friends: “How can I relax? I can’t relax now! I’m so stressed!”
I’m often at a loss for words when I hear such statements from other people because they seem to forget that they actually just made a choice and that choice was to be stressed.
Again, everyone has a choice when it comes to stress. You can choose to bathe in the aftereffects of your body’s stress response and feel like a wrung piece of cloth or you can choose to manage your stress so it won’t bring you down.
What are your options for relaxation?
There are countless ways to relax without having to resort to emotional eating, smoking, drinking alcohol and other destructive habits.
For me, the most effective method of relaxing is through my daily exercise routine. I wake up at 6 AM and I do cardio and I lift a few weights before showering. At around 8 AM, I feel so refreshed and happy that I stay positive and relaxed for the whole day.
I’m not saying that you should do exactly the same things that I do because that might not work for you at all.
Some people may actually become even more stressed because they have to wake up early to exercise. But what works for me, works just fine and so I continue with my morning exercise routine.
Try to find out what relaxes you the most and try to make it a daily or weekly routine.
David, a close friend of mine, finds extreme pleasure and relaxation when he goes to the spa for deep tissue massage. He usually disappears a few times a week to get massages when the demands of his work stress him out. Some people find his frequent spa sessions strange, but he’s happy and relaxed all the time so it seems to be working for him!
2. Get Sufficient Sleep Every Night
Are you getting enough sleep every night?
Many teenagers and adults develop a most unhealthy habit of staying up late every night even though they know they have to wake up early the next day, either for work, school or family-related activities.
Eventually, these folks believe that 4 or 5 hours of sleep is enough to function throughout day. Usually, these sleep-deprived individuals begin to feel sleepy after lunchtime or right before dinnertime.
They struggle to stay awake and they are actually more stressed than usual because their bodies are protesting against the lack of sleep.
How can you have better “sleep hygiene”?
To avoid this scenario, aim to get at least 6 hours of sleep every night. Six hours of sleep should be the minimum, not the maximum. It would also be helpful if you establish a healthy sleep routine every night so you will be able to turn in early at the same time every night.
This will help train your body to rest early and wake up early as well. Avoid “clock counting” or the habit of counting the hours left until you have to wake up in the morning. This will not help you establish a healthy sleep routine – it will only encourage you to stay up late even if you don’t really have to.
Does sleep affect the quality of our days?
Sleep can have a huge impact on your stress levels at work and at home.
You will have a more positive and happy disposition when you have enough sleep and you won’t feel so angry when someone irks you at work. Again, being stressed is a choice. If you purposefully don’t get enough sleep every night, you’re making a conscious choice to be stressed when you wake up because you lack enough sleep.
3. Stop Worrying
Why is worrying harmful and stressful?
Worrying, like stress, is a natural response to the presence of perceived issues or problems. The purpose of worrying is to help you prioritize problems that need to be solved urgently. However, many people develop a chronic worrying habit that can cause severe stress for many, many years.
Chronic worrying doesn’t help solve problems: it actually prevents you from setting goals and actually creating solutions to your problems. When you worry too much, your body readily reacts with stress and the stress can make your mind foggy and unreliable in terms of formulating solutions.
When you worry, you don’t focus on solving the current problem, you just focus on the problem itself.
If you catch yourself worrying often about a problem you have, tell yourself to stop worrying because you’re going to sit down and think of a solution.
Write down all possible solutions and pick one that appears to be a good option for your current problems. Think of the resources that you need to implement the solution and take action as soon as possible.
4. Start Being Organized
Are you organized enough to be relaxed at home or at work?
One of the most common sources of stress in the modern world is clutter and disorganization. Disorganization, especially at home, can continuously trigger the stress response and this much stress can drive anyone crazy.
If your house and office are in shambles and you don’t know where to start, try contacting a professional organizer so you can have someone to consult with regarding the clutter at home. Seeking help is a good option if you simply do not know the first step in getting organized.
5. Spend Your Time Wisely
Why is time management vital to stress management?
Time has turned out to be one of the most valuable resources that a person can ever have.
Stressed homemakers, students and professionals all have a collective dream: to have 2 – 5 extra hours per day for everything that needs to be done.
If your daily schedule is hectic and you feel that there’s never enough time for all the things that you need to accomplish, it’s possible that you are not managing your time wisely. Time management is the foremost and probably the most important productivity strategy in human history.
I am able to manage my time judiciously by using digital to-do lists (they’re on my tablet and smartphone) and by writing down things I have to do on my annual journal. I also plan things weeks or months ahead of time and I try to accomplish them earlier so I can buy some “free time” in the future.