I am one of those people who don’t do well with stress. If I’m asked how well I cope with stressful situations, I’d tell you not very well. I always like to plan things early. I work my life around making sure I have as few stress triggers as possible by being very proactive, loving the planning process, going over the plan again, and not leaving things until the last minute.
I have learnt to work with both predictive and iterative planning systems but none is perfect because life is more chaotic than orderly. We just try to make the best stability out of it. There are lots of things that you can’t plan for, like that tragic phone call that changes your life.
It’s important to note how much stress can impact our health. If you’re anxious, worried, stressed, angry, or otherwise dealing with more mental health issues than usual, give yourself a break! Stress impairs health. Globally, 33 per cent of people are dealing with extreme stress in various forms of flight, fright, and fight modes.
Extreme stress is proven to cause panic attacks, reduced sleep quality, increased blood pressure, breathing problems, loneliness, and depression. Reducing stress levels is crucial for maintaining overall well-being. There are some strategies you can adopt to help reduce stress. The first thing to do is to identify the source. Determine the main causes of your stress. Is it work-related, personal relationships, financial issues, or other factors? Identifying the source can help you find effective solutions.
After identification, practise relaxation techniques. Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga. These techniques can help calm your mind and body, reducing stress levels. Exercise regularly. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting hormones. Regular exercise can help alleviate stress and improve your overall mental and physical health. Find activities you enjoy, such as walking, running, dancing, or playing a sport.
Maintain a balanced lifestyle. Ensure you have a healthy work-life balance. Dedicate time to activities you enjoy and that help you relax. Set boundaries to protect your time and prioritise self-care. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can significantly contribute to stress. Establish a regular sleep routine and aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, avoid screens before bed, and ensure your sleep environment is comfortable.
Reach out to friends, family, or support groups. Sharing your feelings and concerns with others can provide emotional support and perspective. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Organise your tasks and set realistic goals. Prioritise your responsibilities, delegate tasks when possible, and break down large tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Effective time management can help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can improve your resilience to stress. Eat a balanced diet, limit caffeine and alcohol intake, and avoid tobacco or drug use. Nourishing your body with nutritious food contributes to your overall well-being. Participate in activities that bring you joy and help you unwind. Engaging in hobbies can provide a much-needed break from stressors and promote a sense of fulfilment and relaxation.
Seek professional help if needed. If your stress levels persist or become overwhelming, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can provide guidance, support, and techniques tailored to your specific needs. Remember that reducing stress takes time and experimentation to find what works best for you. Incorporate these strategies into your routine and be patient as you manage stress.
It’s important to understand what you’re doing at each point in time to reduce stress. So plan your work environment. This will help you equip yourself appropriately, guard your time off, and recognise signs of burnout.
The new pandemic is anxiety cum depression. Be a considerate person; check up on friends and family. You could be the one who makes the difference in their day. We need an intervention—a new way of thinking and dealing with stress and social media toxicity.
Prioritising your mental health ensures emotional, psychological, and social comfort, as it influences how you think, feel, and behave. It also helps with making better decisions.
Levelling up requires a large stress-tolerance meter, and quality of life is how well you can handle “stress.” Remember, problems don’t go away. You just get better at dealing with them.
- Ovigho Okojevoh is the Executive Secretary, Society for Health Safety and Environmental Education