Stress is the bodies’ physiological and psychological response to when the demands on us outweigh our perceived capacity to meet these. It is closely linked with high work load or feeling over burdened by different demands. Feeling unable to control or influence the situation also seems an important contributing factor. A common response is often to work harder and cut back on things that take energy away from this. However watching our stress levels is important as when our bodies don’t feel good, we don’t feel good.
Here are some ideas for managing our stress levels:-
*If life is very busy, it is really important to have time out and take regular breaks. Although this may not solve the actual underlying issue, evidence suggests this can be surprisingly effective. Activities can range from something quite simple such as taking a proper lunch break, doing a crossword, going a short walk to ring fencing time to meet up with friends, do something creative or plan a break.
*Talking things through with a friend can help to release some of the feelings and gain a different perspective. This is can be a better way than venting frustrations through an ill advised email or an ill-tempered conversation.
*Keeping a journal for recording can be helpful. This can help gain more perspective and emotional distance from the situation.
*Try to avoid using cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or comfort eating to manage stress. These may provide some short-term relief but longer term can upset the body.
*Having “technology” free periods. Avoid using computer devices and games close to bedtime as these can over-stimulate the brain. Keeping up with emails and texts can itself be a source of stress and makes it harder to switch off and take a proper break from things.
The ACAS website at acas.org.uk is a good source of information for stress in the work-place.
For more on psychological health and wellbeing, please watch this space.