Are we in the midst of a ‘stress epidemic’?

Most people would admit to exhibiting some stress symptoms! These would include crazy work schedules, managing relationships, money matters 7 then day to day stuff which seems trivial at the time…but might be the straw that breaks the proverbial camels back!! Things like being stuck in a traffic jam, your Skype call keeps cutting out, a friend is late again…actually my heart is racing just thinking about these examples!

So what can we do about it? 10 stress busters!

1)    Accept the things you can't change!
Unfortunately sometimes you’ll be in a situation that is out of your control, for example your company is downsizing…you can’t do anything about this…but rather than focus on what you can’t change put your energy & focus into something proactive that you can do…look for another job for example.    

2)    Keep moving!
Being active and exercising won’t make your problems disappear but it will make you feel better & take your mind of the situation for a while! It will also reduce some of the emotional intensity & give you a bit of headspace to clear your mind and think more clearly.

3)    Get off your bum & do something!
There probably is a solution to your problem. Rather than letting all your energy get used up on negativity towards the situation, try and find that solution. If you are passive & feel as though you are out of control…you’ll feel worse. By being proactive you will empower yourself!

4)    Connect with others!
By connecting with friends, colleagues, family you will have a support network of people who love you and have time and patience to listen in times when you need their help. Being with friends is fun; you relax and have a laugh (which in itself is a great stress reliever!). By discussing things that are concerning you with friends you can think through problems out loud and find solutions to problems that are on your mind.

5)    ‘Me’ Time!
This isn’t ‘waste of time’ as some my perceive it… ‘Me’ time is essential. In HK we work crazy hours, have crazy schedules and its easy to let the things we enjoy slip away. It’s important to relax, exercise, socialize…take an art class, learn a language, etc. But we need to build that into our schedules as ‘non-negotiables’ that we do every week…just for the fun of it!

6)    Set goals!
By challenging yourself to learn something new (see #5) you are continuing to learn and develop and this encourages you to be more emotionally resilient. It motivates you and gets you off the coach and away from the TV…which is oh so inviting and comfy! Its also passive…so get challenging yourself!

7)    Nasty habits!
Don’t fall into the trap of avoidance behavior…relying on alcohol, caffeine, smoking, eating unhealthily, etc. Women are better than men at addressing the problem and seeking sisterhood to talk their problems out. By using these ‘nasties’ your just creating a crutch that won’t solve your problems…may even create new ones! Best idea is to suck it up and address the issues that are causing you grief.

8)    Putting it into perspective!
Sometimes by thinking about others you forget about yourself…so by volunteering or getting involved in some community projects you become more resilient. You’ll meet other people and perhaps due to the things that they are going through in their lives will put your issues into perspective. By helping others your self worth will soar & you’ll start to feel better about your life.

9)    Work smart!
This means that rather than working all the hours of the day you prioritize what is your ‘biggest frog’ (See Brian Tracy’s book “Eat that Frog”) get that done and dusted. So your biggest hardest task is out of the way first leaving you with less important stuff to do last. Also don’t seek for perfection…do your best and then put that task to bed, otherwise one spends a lot of time redoing…and perfection is elusive!

10) Positivity rules!
We all have a squillion different things to be grateful for, look for positive things in your life and acknowledge them and show gratitude for them. As I mentioned in Feb blog…I am glass half full, by having that attitude you are generally a happier person! I had a coaching client today and one of her tasks for the next week is to write down in a journal at least one thing that she is grateful for every day as she drifts off to sleep she has that positive thought in her mind!

Write a list of 5 things that you’d like to do in your day but struggle to incorporate.
Rank them in order of priority.
Choose the top thing and for the next week incorporate that into your day, even if its just for 5 minutes and see how it makes you feel, does it alter your stress levels?