Simple ways to self manage stress

WORDS: Alistair Mitchell PHOTOGRAPHY

Does your head feel like a pressure cooker because of the demands or changes to your job? Is all the drama in your family sitting on your chest like a boulder and you feel like you can’t breathe? Are you playing elite level sport and pressure of success and public scrutiny is clouding your judgement and performance? Then you, my friend, are stressed! Stress can be negative and positive. Its purpose is to help us navigate an unpredictable world and determine which new experiences are good, bad or dangerous. It also primes us to respond to similar situations in the future. Unfortunately, chronic stress has been linked to illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, and traumatic childhood experiences can hinder mental health later in life. But the good news is there are some simple was we can manage the things that cause us stress and manage ourselves

1.Exercise. Yes the simple things are often the best. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.

2.Sleep. Sleep is a powerful stress reducer. Following a regular sleep routine calms and restores the body, improves concentration, regulates mood, and sharpens judgment and decision-making. You are a better problem solver and are better able to cope with stress when you’re well-rested.

3. Practice mindfulness. Learning to focus on your breathing can help you reduce stress. If you are able to take a few minutes out of day and breath in silence this can greatly help you reduce your stress.

4. Value yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favourite projects, or broaden your horizons. Do a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.

5. Write a reflection journal. Create a journal where you can write down your thoughts and process events that have happened to you. This can help you get a fresh prospective about the situations you are in.

6. Organize yourself. Set aside a few minutes a day to create a planner in order to get your thoughts straight and take in a chill pill to avoid the chaos that might be taking place around you currently.

These are just a few points and tips to help get the stress you may have under control. One of the best ways you can help control your stress is by coming up with ideas on your own that have worked on reducing those stressful moments.

“The best stress manager is yourself”.