While stress is a normal part of life, and even considered healthy in small amounts, when it becomes too much to handle and effects your physical and mental wellbeing it’s time to look into ways to manage it. There are certainly varying degrees of stress, but in our blog we’ll look at lower levels of chronic stress (specifically work-related stress) and simple tools to help you manage.
If it’s one of those days where it feels like everything and everyone needs your attention on important matters and tasks, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the daunting number of things you need to accomplish. If you’re having such a day, it can be helpful to begin an inner dialogue to help yourself prioritize things. When this happens, a few questions you can ask yourself are:
- Is there a way I can simplify this and if so, how?
- What matters the most?
- What is the one thing I can do right now?
Asking yourself these questions can help you step back and prioritize what is absolutely necessary so you can move forward and feel capable of handling what you need to in a calm and confident manner.
Exercise is beneficial for so many reasons, and apart from the physical benefits, it helps lower anxiety and depression in part because of the endorphins it releases. If you’re able to set up a regular workout routine, or even manage to fit in a walk during your lunch break, it will help you manage your emotions and find a greater sense of wellbeing. If however you are incredibly crammed for time and feel extremely overwhelmed, here’s an unusual self-care suggestion to help you manage in that moment- shake it off. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: standing up and shaking your arms and legs for a few seconds ideally followed by a couple of deep belly breaths. While it may look and feel strange, it’s a great way to release pent up energy and anxiety.
Your breath is an incredibly powerful tool to help bring you back from a fight/flight response to a parasympathetic nervous state. Simply taking a few slow deep breaths, with longer exhales then inhales, will quickly help you get back to a calmer state. A Yale study suggestions, “Breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of eight for just a few minutes can start to calm your nervous system.” This is because your heart rate increases on your inhales and decreases on your exhales so if you want to feel calmer it’s important to emphasize your exhales.
We hope these tips are helpful and provide practical solutions for your everyday work stress.