Did you know that stress awareness month takes place every April?  Since its launch in 1992, teams of experts use this month to increase public awareness about stress, its causes, the negative effects it can have on the mind and body, together with how to relieve stress.  Below are 10 top stress busting tips…

  1. Learn to manage your time more effectively

We waste a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so prioritise your day and do the important jobs first. The unimportant ones can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Also, don’t put off the unpleasant tasks – avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority and do them first.

  1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle

If we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure we get adequate sleep & rest our body is better able to cope with stress should it occur. If any of these areas are not happening for you, it is usually a warning sign.  Don’t ignore it, ask for some help.

  1. Know your limitations and do not take on too much

We cause ourselves a great deal of stress because we like people to like us and don’t want to let people down. We then end up doing more than we should. Learn to delegate effectively and be assertive so that you can say no without upsetting or offending.

  1. Find out what causes you stress

Take time to discover what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts and behaviour to reduce it.

  1. Avoid unnecessary conflict

Do not be too argumentative. Is it really worth the stress? Look for win-win situations. Look for a resolution to a dispute where both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Find out what the real cause of the problem is and deal with it.

  1. Accept the things you cannot change

Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on what you can control.

  1. Take time out to relax and recharge your batteries

Make sure you take your holidays, remember to relax and have time out for yourself.

  1. Find time to meet friends

Friends can ease work troubles and help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends help us relax and we will often have a good laugh. It boosts the immune system that is often depleted during stress. If you do become stressed, engage in some form of physical activity. It works off the biochemical and physical changes that occur within your body due to stress. Relaxation also helps your body return to its normal healthy state. Good relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, massage and a variety of complimentary therapies.

  1. Try to see things differently, develop a positive thinking style

If something is concerning you, try to see it differently. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets out of proportion. Often, talking to a friend/colleague/family member will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective. You may also need to consider professional help in order to achieve the desired outcome and prevent ill health and/or burnout.

  1. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as coping mechanisms

Long term, these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to the problem. For example, caffeine & nicotine are stimulants – too much and the body reacts to this with the stress response increasing or even causing anxiety symptoms.