Stress is a sneaky thing at times. We can think we are tipping along nicely, thinking we are all good and coping with all that life is throwing at us. And then it takes just one thing sometimes to have us teetering over the edge of how much we can cope with. Then we can end up on the verge of burnout, fatigue, depression as well as coping with high levels of stress.
So what can we do to support ourselves to prevent things getting to that point?
Stress can be a response to many different situations or events. Stress triggers for everyone will be something different. It could be changing jobs, losing a job, a relationship ending, a difficult manager or co-worker at work, moving home, getting married, becoming a parent for the first time, an ill child or relative, alongside coping with normal day-to-day life. This list could go on and on. So no matter what your particular stress triggers are, know that they are as valid as the next person’s, and that your own stress levels are very much worth addressing.
Finding key strategies and techniques to support yourself is one aspect of what will enable you to reduce your stress levels. Knowing where to begin in managing your stress is the first step and then creating strategies and techniques that help reduce your stress levels is the next step.
So, first work to be mindful of your stress levels – regularly ask yourself how stressed you are feeling, at the beginning of your day and at the end of your day. Rate your stress out of 10 if that helps. Recognise what your stress triggers were, and what aspects of your day were less stressful.
As you then work to manage your stress triggers recognise what are the things that you have direct ownership and control of in your day-to-day life. Things that you can control can include choosing when to take breaks from work, when to exercise, when to reach out for support, when and what to eat and when to rest and sleep. Things you have less control over are other people’s behaviours, how much work they do or don’t do, what they say and who they say it to or how they behave towards people.
So pause for a moment and consider what could you do differently that would help take some of the stress away from your day.
Set a daily intention to assess and address your stress levels. Make a pledge to yourself to offer yourself the care and attention you need while coping with high levels of stress. Think about how you can actively work to let go of any or all of your stress triggers on a regular basis. What are the things that help take your mind off your stressors? Set an intention to do more of those things that help take your mind off your stressors.
Think how you could create your own personal ritual of letting go. Take time to let your stress out through meditation, exercise, a walk outdoors, reading a good book, cooking, a dog walk, a horse ride or watching your favourite movie. Think – what works for you? Make some time for that activity. Then before you step into the activity give yourself permission to let go of all those stressors while you are involved in that activity. This ritual will also strongly support your ongoing levels of wellbeing.
If in doubt, talk things out or get support. If you are thinking “I am not sure this is something I can do on my own”, explore what professional support you could access.
If you feel it would help to have a conversation about your next steps – email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be delighted to arrange a time to talk.