We can all feel stressed at various points in our lives. This maybe because of work, family life or life experiences or indeed a combination of them all. How we deal with stress is very important. Stress can impact on us both physically and emotionally. Stress can raise blood pressure, give rise to headaches, insomnia, obesity, rapid heartbeat, reduced immunity, tummy problems, heartburn and muscle tension to name but a few. Emotionally stress can alter our mood and our behaviours, thinking can be less clear/rational, it can make us withdraw from activities we used to enjoy and impact on our self-belief. It sounds scary I know, but by being aware of how stress could potentially be impacting on us we are more likely to take positive action to reduce stress where we can.

How do I reduce my stress?

Stress can be exacerbated as we feel out of control, so one way to help is to figure out how to regain control of the situation, if you can break it down into chunks you may find this easier. For example; Stressor: work, that is big … is it really every aspect of work (it might be) or is there something that you can pinpoint; a deadline, speech, assessment, lack of time, overwhelming workload, etc? By forcing yourself to break it down, it may become more apparent how to find solutions. It may also make you more aware of the balance between positive and negative aspects of the situation causing stress.

Prioritising your workload and considering what really needs to be done can also be enlightening, where is the stress/pressure coming from; expectations of yourself or those of others? Stop and think, are there some elements that could wait. This may not always be possible but consider it each time. Can some tasks be delegated?

Try to set yourself achievable goals in both your work and personal life, instead of I will clear my desk by the end of the day set yourself a more achievable target of clearing one part of it. That sense of accomplishment can be a huge boost to the morale.

Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of those around you, can you help each other? Talking to friends or colleagues may also help, sometimes just verbalising how we feel has a huge impact.

Consider your self-care, positive self-care can help reduce stress. Please see previous blog on self-care for ideas.

Take time to consider what has gone well in your day, acknowledge your successes.