Steps To Start Managing Stress

Steps To Start Managing Stress
On a daily basis we face things that will be a stress to us. There's no getting away from that. It's not a bad thing either. In the short term, a stress is an external stimulus that we adapt to, our brain realises this and it knows how to deal with it the next time.

The problems start to arise when we the number of stressors we face increases and increases to the point that we feel overwhelmed.

Workload starts to increase, we have meetings all day, deadlines to meet, targets to hit. You might go home and have kids to take care of, so after they've gone to bed, the laptop of iPad comes out again and carry on finishing off that report that you didn't have time to complete in the office. By the time you get to bed your mind is racing. You can't switch off, so sleep quality and quantity suffers. When we get to the office the next day, we feel fatigued, struggling to concentrate, so grab a couple of strong coffees; chain yourself to the desk to get on with the rising workload. You don't have time for lunch, so just grab whatever you can from the shop over the road along with a can of red bull to power you up for the afternoon. You then get back to your desk, head nodding after an hour or so, mental focus dropping. You grab another coffee and a few biscuits to keep you going again. Get home at the end of the day and work late into the evening again...

This continues day in and day out until it just becomes habit. You know you should do something about it because it might now be starting to affect your health; blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood glucose and lipids, weight - especially noticing fat increase around your middle!?

So what can you do about it? It's not like you have loads of time, so you need a few simple things you can do on a daily basis, form into habits that will start to have a positive impact straight away.

Number one, start drinking more water. As mundane and obvious as this may sound, it will have a massive impact on your health, sleep, energy levels and concentration. Ideally you should be having 1 litre of water per 23kg of bodyweight. This might sound a lot (around 2-4 litres for most people), but it's around 4-8 pints per day... if I asked you to go out and drink 4-8 pints of lager after work you'd probably be able to manage that!? Get a water bottle, keep it on your desk, fill it first thing in the morning and then set yourself a target of how many bottles-worth you're going to drink per day then start from there. Do it for a week and see how much better you feel by the end of the week.

Secondly prioritise your veggies. Again nothing sexy about it, but veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients our body needs to function healthily. Dark and left green veggies also contain fibre. Fibre helps to slow digestion through the gut which not only helps to keep you full (the first step to reducing that growing waist line?!), but it also binds to the 'bad' cholesterol and helps with it's passage out of the body. Really useful if your last health check noted increased cholesterol levels.

The final one for now is get moving. Now I know you're really busy, so I'm not expecting you to start going all out in the gym 5 times a week. Start by taking the stairs to the office instead of the lift; going for a walk on your lunch break; getting out at the weekends for a walk in the countryside or a game of golf. If you can get in the gym either before, after work or on your lunch break then thats a bonus. It might sound strange but start exercising more and you will start to notice an increase in energy levels.

Start with these small actions and as they become habitual, start to introduce new ones. You should soon start to notice stress levels feeling more under control and your ability to deal with them improving.

As always, let me know what you think; if you find these tips useful and how you got on integrating them into your daily schedule - chances are there'll be someone else who may benefit from your experiences and find your tips useful.

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