Anything taken too much is bad for the health, and the long term effects of stress are well documented, which is why it is such an important area. As with everything in life prevention is always better than cure so I have provided 6 steps to help you avoid becoming stressful.
A little stress is actually good, as it could serve to help you function at your best. However, stress that seems a little too much could take a physical, as well as mental, toll to your body. Stress should be managed in order for depression or anxiety to be prevented.
I recommend you see a stress counselor if you think you may be suffering from stress but there are a few preventative things you can do for yourself:
Write it out, schedule it out.
Overwhelm is a result of having too much in your head to deal with so write it down, get it out of your head and down on paper.
You will find a things-to-do-list much easier to manage than having errands all crumpled up in your head. Writing down the tasks, and putting a specific schedule and time to do them, helps anyone manage activities one chunk at a time. Crossing out an activity that has already been accomplished is very rewarding and could actually help you feel more relaxed when doing the other tasks at hand.
One at a time works.
Focus and put all your attention specifically on one task at one time. It does not help to feel panicky about the other undone or to-do tasks. Thinking about them only adds unnecessary stress and could even hamper in doing the task you are attempting to accomplish at present. Just focus in on your one task, whether that task is spending time with the kids, or writing the next chapter of your book. Block time in your schedule for your most important tasks to ensure you experience balance.
Relax and take it slow.
At least, try not to expend too much energy on activities that are currently not priorities. This is in order for your energy to be not easily expended on the tasks that are not that important, at least for now.
Also spend time relaxing in between your work, just 2 minutes with your eyes closed standing out in the fresh air is enough to bring back mental alertness and to help you feel calmer. I recommend 10 minutes away from your desk every few hours. Taking this time for yourself will mean that you come back stronger and more focused. The longer you spend working without a break the more your effectiveness diminishes.
Delegate, delegate, delegate.
You really don’t have to do everything all at once and you definitely don’t have to do everything on your own. Get into the habit of asking for help, or paying for help. When there is a feeling of being overwhelmed that is cropping up, hire someone to mow the lawn or get a sitter for your children. The feeling of being pressed to finish something on time will somehow be eliminated if tasks are delegated. It takes a load off unnecessary worry and anxiety. Moreover, it is easier checking up on how things are, than worrying yourself sick doing everything on your own, all at once. Remember that delegating does not mean leaving someone to get on with it and forgetting about it, because if that person makes an error you end up feeling even more stressful. Make sure you check up on progress and let them know that they should ask you if they are unsure about anything.
Give yourself a reward.
You deserve it. Acknowledging your accomplishments, no matter how big or small, is an effort that is necessary before getting on to the next tasks and activities. It reduces stress and could even make you happier in doing the next task. Also, it is really easy to spend your time in the future, thinking about how wonderful life will be when you finally complete your task or goal. However, usually when we get there, there are no celebrations because we are on to the next “thing to do.” By giving yourself a reward (something that doesn’t cost anything is the best reward!) you acknowledge where you are at, that you have completed another step. And when you get to your final destination success tastes sweet!
Give yourself a break.
You need it to be more productive. A ten to fifteen minute break during your work is necessary. Go visit a café nearby, take a quick brisk walk, or do anything to put your mind off work, at least for a while. This is necessary to refresh and recharge. Believe it or not, you can also stay in your work and sit with your eyes closed as you visualize a peaceful landscape or a relaxing scene. This frees the stress from your muscles and your mind.
I recommend everyone take a full hour away from their desk, many people find this difficult to do but it is really essential if you want to avoid stress. Invite a work colleague to go with you or spend the time in quiet contemplation. If you need to set outlook to signal when you need to take an hour, or set your cell phone alarm to go off, then no matter what you are doing stop, get up, and walk away. I promise you that you will return with more energy and creativity than you left with!
I hope you enjoyed reading these six steps and that you will choose to take one and use today, taking action is the prime step towards stress avoidance, or if you are already feeling the effects of stress.
While a little of everything is good for us, too much of anything isn’t and it is always better to learn how to relax and avoid stress than it is to have to learn how to deal with overcoming it. Doing so makes you healthier, happier, and a lot more productive.