10 Tips for Managing Stress
1. Make time for breakfast. Start the day with a reasonable breakfast, preferably including fruit, yoghurt, whole grain bread, nuts, porridge, and honey. They will provide a boost to the immune system and adequate supply of natural sugars.2. Pay attention to your body and the signals it gives you. Notice the early warning signs such as colds, back & head aches, excessive tiredness, loss of concentration, unrefreshing sleep and mood changes. Your body and mind are telling you to ease back and take a break.
3. Take regular breaks from your work during the day over lunchtimes and long weekends, to recharge your batteries. Always take holidays of sufficient length to provide a change which is relaxing, fun, stimulating or inspiring. Leave your laptops, Blackberries, PDA’s and mobile phones at home. You are not indispensable and it is good practice to educate others to manage without you.
4. Find ways of closing down your day that allow you to shift your mental state from work anxiety and concern, to home relaxation. Your families do not appreciate you bringing home your work and anxieties, especially if you lock yourself away every night. Use your journey to do something which helps you switch off. When you get home do something which signifies you are now focussed on your family. Develop a closure ritual to signify to you and others that you have stopped working.
5. Avoid unfinished business and putting off things we do not want to deal with are often the biggest causes of anxiety. Particularly towards the end of the day it is important to get closure on tasks, deal with unresolved issues with others and take actions to move forward with projects.
6. Your time is precious! Be selective about who you spend time with. Choose to be with people who are interesting, stimulating, positive and optimistic. They will restore your energy when it is low, encourage you during the tough times and provide an appropriate escape valve when it all gets too much. They will also help you to celebrate and maintain the feel-good factor. They will rub-off on you! Reduce your time and contact with people who have a negative take on life and those who leave you feeling drained.
7. Create a work and home environment or a space which calms, soothes, rejuvenates, excites, stimulates and feels like a haven of rest or a source of creative energy.
8. Have a good clear out on a regular basis, at least monthly. Removing clutter, old clothes you never wear and books/papers which you no longer need, will create space, light and a positive sense of moving forward. Clear, shred and recycle to free “space” for the new you!
9. Drink water, natural juices, smoothies, herbal and fruit teas as alternatives to coffee, black tea, alcohol and soft drinks. Your energy will be sustained rather than relying on quick fixes which ultimately leave you in a more tired state than the one you started in.
10. Be prepared to ask for help & support. This will save you time, prevent issues from escalating and allow others to feel included & appreciated. Remember to thank others and recognise their efforts on a regular basis. They will gladly support you when you need it most.