Stress management can help you manage the busy routine of everyday life. Dealing with daily stressors can take its toll on your mental health as well as your physical body. Stress management practices, subsequently, help you to prevent fatigue and reduce anxiety, improving your quality of life.
If you’re running a business, stress has a way of creeping into your life. Improved efficiency and better technology can be a double-edged sword when combined with increased pressure. Although managing stress and its causes may not be easy, with the right strategies and tools, it can be done.
With this guide, learn how these practices can help you, whether you choose to do this alone or with the help of others.
What Is Stress
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress is the body’s reaction to a situation that can be harmful or even threatening. It’s the way we react to change or think we might be harmed. It’s normal to feel stress in certain situations, but it can become a problem when you feel stressed too often. When that happens, stress can harm your health, relationships, and overall well-being. That’s why it’s important to learn how to manage your stress levels, improving your health in the long run.
Physical Symptoms of Stress
The body responds to stress with the fight-or-flight response, which includes physical changes such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension, and increased breathing rate. These changes can be beneficial when they occur infrequently. However, when they happen too often or remain at high levels for long periods of time, they can lead to serious health issues.
For instance, high blood pressure can cause heart disease as well as damage to the kidneys and brain. Over time, it may also increase your risk of a stroke. Stress is also linked to chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and migraines. Thus, stress should be managed to avoid the risks that come with it.
Identifying Your Stressors
Many factors can cause stress, including work deadlines, financial difficulties, relationship issues, and certain health conditions. Positive events can also cause it, such as moving into a new home or getting married. What’s more, some people may have an anxiety disorder that makes them more prone to release stress hormones than others.
What Is the Stress Response?
In general, people react to stress in one of two ways: either they become anxious and worry about the situation, or they become angry and aggressive toward others around them (or even themselves). Either way, this reaction often makes things worse, not better. It’s important to learn more productive ways to manage stress symptoms.
Types of Stress
Many types of stress exist, such as chronic stress that lasts indefinitely or acute stress that comes and goes at intervals. Some are short-term and relatively minor, such as feeling nervous before a performance or taking an important exam. Others can be more serious, such as losing a loved one or a job.
The Difference Between Good and Bad Stress
A lot of people think that all stress is bad. In fact, there’s a difference between good and bad stress. Good stress can help you perform better at work or school, for example, while bad stress can lead to depression and fatigue.
Good stress comes from doing something challenging or new. For instance, if you were in charge of a project at work, and it was important to get it right, that would be good stress since it pushed you to do your best work.
Bad stress comes from situations that are stressful but not productive. It can happen when you have no control over the outcome. For example, if your boss asked you to do something impossible or unreasonable, that would cause bad stress since it wouldn’t help you perform well on the project.
Good and bad stress can happen in all kinds of places and circumstances, such as:
High workloads may cause work-related stress as well as having too many deadlines to meet in a short period of time. It can also happen when you don’t have enough time to complete your work or if you feel like your boss doesn’t appreciate your efforts. Some people also experience work-related stress because they don’t know what their job responsibilities are or how they fit into the overall goals of the company.
The workplace is often hectic and stressful, so you might be experiencing work-related stress if you feel as if there are too many interruptions or if your boss is constantly changing their mind about what needs to be done. If that’s the case, take a step back and think about how you can make things easier on yourself.
If there’s nothing you can do to alleviate the stress, consider talking to your boss or looking for a new job. Taking control in this aspect of your life can prevent you from suffering from burnout.
Family-related stress can occur when you feel like your family members aren’t supporting each other or when they need more help than usual. You could also experience family-related stress if your parents are sick or someone has passed away recently.
Family members are often there to support each other, but sometimes it’s hard for them to do so. If you’re feeling stressed about your family, try talking to them about what’s going on or seeking help from a family counselor.
Financial concerns can also cause anxiety and worry in people who don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from or who are struggling to pay off debts, such as credit card bills or student loans.
There are many ways to deal with financial stress, such as saving more money or taking on side hustles. You could also talk to someone who can help you make better financial decisions and find ways to reduce your debt load.
Holiday Time Stress
Holiday stress is extremely common. Business can be slower, kids might be home from school, family is around, and there can be a flurry of expectations. Many people over extend themselves with finances/spending during this time as well.
During the holidays, setting up a budget and plan for key dates can be helpful to get your mind around what to expect. Having conversations early and spreading out gift investments over a couple of months can be a great way to reduce holiday time stress.
Tips to Reduce Stress
If you’re feeling stressed, it can help to remember that you aren’t alone. Everyone has stressful times in their lives, and there are ways to manage them. You can find stress relief by making time for yourself and practicing self-care.
Try some of the following tips:
Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept
This is a common, four-pronged description of stress management, showing how you or anyone can better deal with stress.
- Avoid: If possible, look for a way to avoid stressful situations. For example, you may be able to avoid a stressful situation by changing your schedule, taking time off, or something else.
- Alter: You can also alter your response to stressful events by changing how you perceive them. For instance, if you feel like an argument is getting out of control and escalating rapidly into a fight, try taking a break from arguing and going for a walk instead.
- Adapt: Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid or alter stressors, like a sudden death that causes grief in those around them. In situations like these, the best approach is usually to adapt — that is, learn how to live with the situation and make changes where necessary.
- Accept: Sometimes, you have to accept that things are the way they are and that there’s nothing you can do about it. This can be difficult because it means accepting that you won’t achieve your goals or make changes in the situation. Yet, sometimes this is the best way to deal with stressors.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; looking for social support is a sign that you’re strong enough to admit when you need help. If you feel like there is too much on your plate, consider delegating some of the tasks or responsibilities to others while you focus on yourself. You can seek out a counseling center that teaches stress management techniques to help you.
We are all surrounded by the noise from all sides. At the heart of that is our phones. It can be important for stress management to pause your notifications and be unavailable. A notification can become an immediate stressor. Having clear time when you won’t be interrupted by work can create some safe time for you to relax and recoup time with family or with yourself. There are definitely times when work will just take precedence, but if you find that there is always a fire at work, then it may be time to look elsewhere.
Learn How To Say No
When you’re asked to do something, consider whether it’s in your best interests. If not, politely decline and suggest an alternative way for the person to get what they want done. Learn how to say no without feeling guilty or causing problems with others.
You can do this by being honest about why you can’t do something and offer an alternative solution. For example, you may be asked to take on a new project at work. But, if you’re already busy with other projects, you might need to say no. You can let the person know that you’re happy to help out, but it will have to wait until your current workload is completed.
Get More Sleep
Sleep is essential to your health and well-being. If you’re not getting enough, make sure that you’re following these tips:
- Go to bed at a reasonable time each night and get up at the same time every morning.
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime.
- Reduce stress in your life through relaxation techniques, such as meditation.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
You can try to do regular breathing exercises to promote relaxation and better sleep. But if you’re still having trouble sleeping, consider talking to your doctor about any medications or supplements you’re taking.
Take Control of Your Workload
There are several ways you can take control of your workload. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed when you’re juggling different projects and responsibilities. By learning how to manage your workload effectively, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall mental health.
This can help you:
- Get more done in less time.
- Reduce stress levels and increase productivity — stress reduces creativity.
- Sharpen your focus on what matters most.
You can also make better use of your time by planning and prioritizing tasks that need to get done. This will help you become more productive when you are at work and give you a sense of accomplishment knowing that you’ve completed your tasks.
Look After Your Physical Health
Try to incorporate more physical activity into your life. It doesn’t have to be a gym membership or expensive equipment — getting out into nature and going for a walk can aid in stress reduction.
Deep breathing and other relaxation exercises can also improve your physical health, which can help you feel better and more energetic. Guided meditations that focus on clearing negative thoughts may also be beneficial.
If you have time, consider joining a sports team as a way to improve your physical health while engaging in social activity.
Stay In Touch With Your Hobbies
Make time for yourself. Don’t let work take over your life. If you can’t get away from it, try to find ways to relax: take a long bath, read a book, or do something else you enjoy.
This is all about making yourself a priority. Even if you currently don’t, start small by checking in with yourself, your body, and your thoughts throughout the day. The more you make time for yourself, the better you’ll feel about yourself.
Weekends can be a great time to relieve stress, but you should also look for times throughout the week and even each day to take a step back.
Managing Stress Isn’t Easy but It Is Possible
Life can be quite hectic and stressful. No matter how you plan for the events in your life, there will always be unplanned situations that come up. These can cause significant stress, but you don’t have to let this overwhelm you. By employing the right strategies and tools, as outlined in this article, you can take steps to manage your stress safely and in a healthy way.