Have you lost track of your own needs somewhere along the line, juggling the ever increasing demands of work, relationships, family, finances and those seemingly never-ending emails? When was the last time you had time by yourself, planning where your life was going rather than being rushed headlong along the river of life, struggling merely to keep yourself afloat and your head above water? You need stress management!
Life nowadays is fast paced and furious, and I doubt there are many of us that are not suffering, to some degree, from stress. Stress has become the excuse for everything and anything, used indiscriminately, and definitely the cause of many a health issue. But is it real? And is it something you should pay more attention to?
The answer to both of those questions is 'Definitely'.
My 5-step stress management plan
1. Manage your stresses
Exercise, diet, meditation, counselling and sleeping well will all help you cope better day to day. But be aware that they address the symptoms of your stress, not get to the root of whatever the cause. And unless you dig out the roots, it's just not going to go away. You have to do more than just 'manage' it.
2. Write a list of all your stressors
Most of us run so fast in our daily lives that we rarely take time to stop and become aware.
Sit quietly somewhere, close your eyes, and let everything that stresses you come to mind. It could be anything from years ago, to what happened in the office yesterday.
Write them on a list.
Give each a title - 'argument with Mike'. 'Being made redundant'. 'Dropping Aunt Mabel's vase'.
Rate the issue you are dealing with out of 10. Is it an 8/10 problem, or merely a 5? Once you have a list, you know what needs sorting.
3 Work out your life balance
How many hours a week are you working? How many times a month do you visit family? When was the last time you saw and spent time with your close friends? Exercise? Time spent alone thinking, or just resting? Make a commitment to do less of the things that don’t make you happy, and more of the things that do. Few of us on our deathbed wish we had spent more time in the office!
4 Take action
Dedicate 15 minutes a day to clearing each stress on the list. Reserve the same time each day for dealing with a single issue. Within a month you will have sorted the majority of your 'stuff'. Change your habits and your life will change too.
5 Deal with the ‘emotional stuff’ too
It’s much easier to shift the practical, physical things around. Take that Vitamin D daily; book two sessions a week in the gym.
But emotional scars and difficulties tend to be things we find less easy to deal with. Difficult people, difficult events? We all have them and these are the things that are hard to live with. Lighten your load: Your doctor can refer you to a counsellor or psychotherapist.
Make the appointment!
Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health.
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