1. Early warning signs.
Identify the early warning signs that tell you when you are getting stressed. These vary with every individual but might include things like tensing your jaw, grinding your teeth, getting headaches or feeling irritable and short tempered.
2. Identify triggers.
Identify triggers which can raise your stress levels and make it more difficult for you to cope. If you know what the likely triggers are you can aim to anticipate them and practice calming yourself or even find was of removing the trigger. Triggers might include late nights, deadlines or hunger.
3. Have a routine.
Aim to establish predictable routine – these can be calming and reassuring and can help you to manage stress. Routines can include regular times for exercise and relaxation, regular mealtimes, waking times and bedtimes, or planning ahead to do particular jobs on set days of the week.
4. Family and friends.
Spend time with people you care about and who care about you. See friends and family who you find uplifting rather than those who place demands on you, and share your thoughts and feelings with others when opportunities arise.
5. Change your mindset.
The difference between worrying and caring. It’s all in the mind. We sometimes worry, somehow thinking that this is a productive — or at least inevitable — response to stress. For example, fretting about your finances does nothing but get you worked up. Caring about your finances, however, means creating a budget, paying bills on time, using coupons and reducing how often you dine out. Just this small shift in mindset from worrying to caring can help you adjust your reaction to stress.
6. Perfection is overated.
It’s ok to make mistakes. Trying to be error-free and essentially walking on eggshells is exhausting and anxiety-provoking. Perfectionism tempers to hamper growth and success.
7. Making choices.
Choose what you want to do. Review your daily and weekly activities to see what you can pick off your plate. Reducing your stack of negotiable tasks can greatly reduce your stress.
8. Repetitive self-talk.
Notice your ‘self-talk’. When stressed we often say things over and over in our head that just add to our stress. This unhelpful talk might include things like ‘I can’t cope’, or ‘I’m too busy’, or ‘I’m so tired’. Even though these might be accurate descriptions of how you are feeling, it is not always helpful to repeat them and they can even make you feel worse. If you notice you do this try saying soothing, calming things to yourself such as ‘I’m coping well given what’s on my plate’, or ‘breathe easy’.
9. Do what you love.
Doing things you love is a must. It’s so much easier to manage pockets of stress when the rest of your life is filled with activities you love. Even if your job is stress central, you can find one hobby or two that enrich your world.
10. Practice relaxation techniques.
Make time to practice relaxation. This will help your body and nervous system to settle and readjust. Consider learning a formal technique like yoga, progressive muscle relation or meditation. Make time to absorb yourself in a relaxing activity such as listening to music and plan things to do each day that you look forward to and which give you pleasure.