The rat race of life has got us sinking into stress before we even realize it. The pointless pursuits after money, the demands of life and responsibilities have put us in such a state that we abruptly push away the silent screams of stress to the back of our minds.
Stress is overlooked. People consider it ‘just another effect of mismanagement’ or some ‘normal external circumstance’.
But in reality, it’s not like it.
So, what exactly is stress?
Stress can be defined as the inability to cope with a perceived threat (real or imagined) to one’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, which results in a series of physiological responses and adaptations. The effects of stress is dangerous and can take a heavy toll on your physical and mental health. In extreme cases, it could lead to depression, social withdrawal or even death.
Out of all the age categories, studies say that stress is mostly associated to people between 20-50, typically the working people. It is reported that, 80% of employees feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help. Unfortunately, children too have joined the rat race and parents aren’t paying heed to the signs of stress.
However, the good news is-it’s absolutely possible to manage stress. It just requires a little of planning, understanding and strategizing.
In this blog article, we will walk you through some tried and tested stress management strategies that has worked with most of the people.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Stress Management Strategies
1.Practice the 4A’s of life (Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept)
(I) Avoid stress that comes your way:
Stress can come in many ways (environment, friend/colleague, work front). Try to cut down the stress that comes to you as much as possible.
For example, if a person causes you stress, try to interact less with the person. If traffic annoys you, take a less travelled route. If you have a long list of works to be done, prioritize it with ‘must do’s’ and ‘should do’s’. Cutting down the unnecessary stressors can help you get over a major portion of stress.
(II) Alter the situation
If you can’t avoid the stress that comes to you, try to alter the situation. One thing people don’t realize is that there could be more than one solution to a problem.
For example: Let’s say that you have an important deadline to meet within a specific time limit, which you may feel unrealistic. Analyze the situation and look for solutions to finish the deadlines. If you haven’t found any, you could ask for extra time or at least enough resources to complete it.
Speak out to people to get things done instead of bottling up within yourself and stressing over it.
(III) Adapt to the stressor
If you can’t even alter the solution, then you will need to adapt to the stressor. Try to look at the big picture and adapt yourself accordingly.
Let’s say that you have worked on a project and it ended up to be an unexpected failure. Don’t fume over the failure. Instead, look at the learning opportunities the failure has given you. Analyze how long that failure will affect or even matter to you. If it isn’t going to matter to you on a long run, focus your time and energy on something else.
(iv) Accept the situation.
It’s always better to let go things you can’t do anything about.
For example: Let’s say that you are stuck in a traffic jam and you are late for a meeting. There’s nothing much that you could do about it than accepting the situation. Remember that, most of the stress is caused to us by our own thinking.
2.Take care of your mind and body
Like you give importance to your work, you also need to take proper care of your health. Your health is like a piggy bank. The more you take care of it, the more you invest in quality life. Take enough nutrients by following a healthy and balanced diet.
Remember that, your mind and body is just like a machine. If you don’t give it enough rest, it gets prone to wear and tear. While it’s true that sleep is necessary to your body, it only improves your metabolism and does nothing else. So, you need to set your body to a deeper level of relaxation to reap the benefits of good health. Practicing yoga and meditation channels your energy and helps you attain mindfulness. Along with yoga and meditation, it is also important that you allot one hour leisure time everyday to do something you love- music, dance, painting…. in fact, anything.
Learn the management strategies
It’s better to be productive than busy. If you have a series of tasks to be done-analyze, prioritize and schedule them and make sure that you do it. A lot of people fall prey to procrastination and finally end up being stressed out when they are not able to complete the tasks as per the schedule. You need to be mature enough to calculate the real time risks associated to not completing your tasks on time and cut it down while the situation is still at hand.
But it is also important not to allot back to back tasks and fit all the tasks into the schedule. Make sure that you allot short breaks between each task to make yourself more productive. You can use productivity hacks like POMODORO to plan your schedule. If you are not familiar with the technique, read about it here (https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique)
Stress is a common, but dangerous thing. If you don’t keep a check on it, chances are that it may accumulate to become a burnout. Make sure you always try to maintain a balance between work, family and yourself.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz
Let us know if the strategies has worked for you. If you have any suggestions, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.