Stress comes along with life's incessant demands on our time and energy. Severe stress can lead to physical illness and depression if we don't find ways to relieve and reduce our stress. How well do you handle stress? Take W's stress quiz now and come back here to read up on tactics you can use to reduce and relieve the stress you experience.
You can use these tactics to reduce your stress.
1. Exercise 3-4 times per week
You’ll feel better because you’ll release the pent up energy and loosen your tense muscles. Plus, after a good workout, your brain releases endorphins, which reduces your sensation of pain and increases your feelings of happiness and well-being.
Take time to think before you commit or make an important decision. Consider what you want and what you can do to move towards the outcome you desire. Can you resolve the issue in a way that will cause you less stress in the long run? Even if you can’t do anything to change your situation, consciously recognizing there’s nothing you can do can help you move on. Meditation, yoga and tai chi are great ways to improve your breathing and clear your mind. After practicing breathing and meditation, you'll learn to tap into that calm when you feel tension.
3. Talk to someone
Talk to a good friend, a colleague you trust, a doctor or counselor about the challenges you face and how you feel. In a report on stress, health and the benefit of social support, Statistics Canada found people who have someone they can talk to reported less stress than people who didn’t.
4. Take care of yourself
Eat healthy meals at regular intervals, take breaks from your work to relax and reflect, make time to do things for yourself. You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time for a break or to do activities you enjoy. Not only are you more capable of handling stress when you’re healthy and rested, but you’ll be happier, too. Try to live your life closer to what you see as a good work-life balance.
5. Negotiate, offer solutions and say no
Make it a rule not to answer anyone’s requests right away. Take some time to think of easier ways to handle the request, alternate solutions, and people who could assist in or take on the task. Say no more often. Saying no is not a sign of weakness; it’s not saying you “can’t”, it’s saying you decided you won’t. Saying no commands respect. If you always say yes, could you be giving the impression that you’re not busy? When you say no, your decision may initially disappoint others, but you shouldn’t feel guilty. If what they need is important, they’ll make it happen without your help.
6. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Everything you do doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be an expert at everything. Are your social and recreational activities stressful, too? Let someone else organize the fundraising. Pare your schedule down to the essentials and remember to relax and enjoy yourself!