8 tips to manage and relieve stress

Unless you’re incredibly lucky, you’ll most likely have felt the pressure of stress at some point during your life. Even if you love what you do, most people’s lives have their particular stressful elements. In the short term, you could have a deadline to meet, or some sort of challenge to overcome, but when stress becomes a long-term issue, it can be incredibly harmful.

Fortunately, there are ways you can take steps to managing your stress in a more healthy and productive way:

Track your stressors and avoid them

  • Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them

  • Once you’ve identified some of the situations that cause you stress, avoid them

    Develop healthy responses

  • Do your best to make healthy choices when you feel the tension rise

  • Know your limits, and never take on more than you can cope with

  • Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to people if you don’t think you can do something

    Establish boundaries

  • Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself, such as avoiding work email at home and during the evening

  • If a particular person stresses you out, limit the amount of time you spend with them, or end the relationship altogether

  • Set aside time for each thing in your life, whether it’s work, family, or your hobbies

    Take time to recharge

  • Switch off from work and make periods of time for yourself where you are completely free from thinking about your job or the things that stress you

  • Take mini-breaks throughout your day using a productivity method like ‘Pomodoro’, where you work for 25 minutes and then have a 5 minute break

    Get some sleep

  • Build healthy sleep habits by limiting your caffeine intake late in the day and minimizing stimulating activities, such as computer and television use, at night

  • Use an alarm clock app that wakes you up in sync with your sleep rhythms, like the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app

    Learn how to relax

  • Go for a walk or spend some time outside and in nature, like a park, the countryside, or by the beach if you can

  • Call up a good friend for talk – this can help take your mind off things or even help you find solutions to your stressors

  • Read a book, listen to music, or watch a light-hearted film – sometimes you just need distracting

  • Take up meditation and deep-breathing exercises to help melt away your stress

  • Learn to focus purposefully on a single activity without distraction, and then apply this to other tasks throughout your life

    Get some support

  • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up, and speak out if someone or something is bothering you

  • Accept help from trusted colleagues, friends and family members if you need it

  • Be willing to compromise if you ask for someone for advice, and they suggest changing your approach to managing a situation in order to make it less stressful

    Accept that you can’t change everything

  • Don’t worry about things that cannot be controlled, especially when it concerns the behavior of other people

  • Look on the bright side – when facing major challenges, use them as opportunities to increase your skills
    and personal growth

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