Woman managing stress

9 Simple Ways You Can Take Control of Your Stress, Not the Other Way Around

Successful Stress Management

It is possible to manage your stress while still getting done what you need to do. Here are just nine steps that you can take to wave high stress levels goodbye.

Although stress comes in many forms — a stressful job, financial worries, illness or simply feeling as if you have too much piled on your plate — there are some universal steps that you can take to become a pro at stress management.

Practice Mindfulness

One of the easiest steps you can take to lessen your stress is to practice mindfulness. This does not mean, however, that you need to go on a mindfulness retreat every time you get stressed.

Mindfulness can be as simple as sitting for ten minutes while listening to a recording of rain, with your eyes closed and taking deep breaths at your work desk. (Better yet, go outside and stretch your legs as well).

You will soon find it easier to tell what your stress triggers are if you spend time alone with your thoughts everyday. Once you know what your triggers are, you will be able to put steps in place to take before a stressful situation comes your way.

Spirituality can also be a great help to reduce stress and can make up part of your mindfulness exercises.

Learn When to Say 'No'

We all would love to take every opportunity that comes across our road but doing so can leave you burnt out.

Instead of simply saying "yes" to everything, put goals in place. Through following — and sticking to — these goals, you will be able to tell what to say "yes" to and what to leave.

You should also be realistic with your time and how much you can fit into it, while still having time for your family and yourself. If you find that your whole calendar is filled to the brim and you’re just dashing to catch up; it’s time to scale back and free up some time.

Set a Personal Routine

You may feel like there isn’t a moment of your time that is not already taken up with work or other commitments, but the truth may be quite different. For example, there may be changes you can make to your routine that will let you make better use of your time.

By leaving a bit earlier for work, or leaving a bit later from work, you may just miss a lot of traffic (and stress). The same goes for shopping; rather than doing a day’s shopping at a time, only shop once a week and make do. This will already free up time during the week.

A routine is important for you to make sure that:

  • You get enough sleep.
  • You eat a healthy lunch and take your lunch hour break (and we don’t mean gulping it down at your desk).
  • You put in time to exercise at least every other day if not every day of the week.
  • You know how much time you have available for work and leisure every day.

Once you get used to having a routine, you will more than likely see you have more time that you can spend with friends, family or even doing some hobbies.

To make technology work for you is also a big step in not only giving you more time in a day for the things that really matter, but also taking a lot of stress away from you.

Smart phones, with the accompanying apps and time-suck, can be a means to break routine. However, they can also help you track your routine and habits, help you keep your daily paperwork on track, and send you important reminders.

Look at using apps for your to-do lists, reminders, and even mental health and chronic pain tracking. You can even use white noise apps to lull you to sleep!

Take Time for Yourself

We all need time to ourselves, whether it is to practice a hobby, get some exercise, see friends or even just sit in a comfy chair drinking tea while staring out the window.

Keep your me-time sacred each week instead of sacrificing it as soon as something else comes up. Use this time to rest and revive yourself. Not only will you feel refreshed and less tired, but you will also be able to do more with your new-found energy.

Make Realistic Lists

Another simple stress management tool — especially if it is something like a stressful work environment — is to make a list. Make a list of everything you can do that can either diffuse the situation, or ease some of the stress from your shoulders.

For example, will a change in your routine help? Perhaps you need to re-evaluate your budget and see where you can cut down and save?

It’s important to keep these things realistic, however, and not to heap more stress on yourself.

Write It Down

Linking up with your mindfulness practice, you can make sure that you slow down and do take in the small details of everyday life. Use your observations to find things to be grateful for. You might even find a detail that brightens your whole day!

Journaling: whether it’s a regular journal or a gratitude journal, writing down what you experience “crystallizes your thoughts about the experiences you’re having.”

Avoid Too Much Caffeine

Although a cup of coffee in the morning may be your ultimate treat, too many cups of coffee or energy drinks can have a detrimental affect on your health. Also, they can completely mess up your sleeping pattern, which, in turn, can lead to heightened stress levels.

By managing your caffeine intake, you can also improve your stress management.

Stop Trying to Play Catch-up

One of the most important things that you can keep in mind when you are getting very stressed is: whether you’re stressed about something real, or, an imagined perfect life that always seem just out of your reach.

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