Destress your lifestyle

Managing stress goes hand in hand with managing all areas of your life. A healthy, regulated lifestyle will help you to cope with stress and will ensure that you don’t end up with unreasonable loads of stress on your shoulders in the first place.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Set your priorities and organise your day according to them.
  • Delegate authority.
  • Tackle the tough jobs first.
  • Keep meetings short.
  • Avoid perfectionism and negative self-talk - be gentle with yourself.
  • Good communication is very important, especially during stressful periods. By listening carefully and allowing people to speak, you will potentially gain more support and understanding in the long term.
  • Keep physically in touch with those around you. Touch has been found to be therapeutically beneficial in terms of stress and deprivation of touch has been linked to increased stress. Massage, hugging and playing with a pet are all ways of keeping in touch.
  • Keep in touch with your environment. It will help you to “ground” yourself and to give perspective to your life. Gardening, walking on the beach or working with clay are just some possibilities.
  • Try to keep sleep and meal times consistent.
  • Try to be present-minded, i.e. relaxed and alert, in the moment. It will save time due to mistakes that are made while rushing. It will also save energy.
  • Moderate or reduce strenuous activity or exercise until the stressful period abates. This will alleviate “double demands”.
  • Every day, no matter how busy you are, make some personal or family time.
  • Be clear about your boundaries during times of increased stress. One often becomes so proficient at dealing with everything that gets thrown at you, that you continue functioning at full throttle. This can become the unhealthy norm.

(Health24, updated January 2012)

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