Stress Management Tips
Situations that create stress are as unique as you are. Your personality, genes, and experiences influence how you deal with stress. For you, a big family dinner may be stressful. Other people might enjoy the increased activity and responsibility, but find stress in other situations that are beyond their control.
There are many ways to combat stress, from taking a deep breath to readjusting the way you think while under stress. Each person should find a way that works for them. Some friends swear by a hot bath, others say time alone is necessary. Following are several effective self-care tips for on-the-job stress:
Take care of yourself
- Get good exercise, adequate sleep, and regular, balanced meals. Exercise helps burn off the excess energy that stress can produce. Set a regular bedtime and wake up time. This will force your body clock to set and combat the sleep disorder caused by stress. It will also make sure that you body is getting the down time it needs to repair itself. Good nutrition has important short-term and long-term benefits.
- Having someone to confide in is important while on the job and off. Sharing feelings with people you trust can be a first step toward resolving problems. Avoid relationships with "negative" friends who reinforce bad feelings.
Manage your time
- Set realistic goals and deadlines. Plan projects accordingly. Accept the fact that your in-box will always be full. Do "must do" tasks first. Schedule difficult tasks for the time of day when you are most productive. Tackle easy tasks when you feel low on energy or motivation.
Take time for yourself
- Not everything on your to-do list must be done today. When you get through half the list, put it aside and do something relaxing. During the work day, take short breaks to stretch, walk, breathe slowly, and relax. Take a vacation or a long weekend. Always put yourself as a priority on your to-do list.
- When necessary, learn to say "no" in a friendly but firm manner. Don't overtax yourself with social functions, especially during the holiday season.
Limit your work hours
- Make sure your working life doesn't spill over into your private life. Those who consistently work long hours burn out quicker than the rest. Try to limit school and work hours to 40 hours per week.
Change your diet
- Don't use sugar to get you through the day. Keep your blood sugar stable by avoiding sweet foods and eating carbohydrate foods instead, like potatoes, cereals, and pasta. Your body will break these down to sugars gradually. Take a good multi-vitamin and reduce your use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco...and the highs and lows associated with them.
Let your mind rest
- Find an activity that you enjoy and exercise for 20-30 minutes, three times a week. Doing something repetitive helps your mind take a break. Other ways to relax: