All Stressed Out
Most of us will have experienced stress at some point, but what can we do to get the right work-life balance, so we can live a stress-free life? Writes Tracy Hargreaves
We live in a stressful society. With the increase in social media channels it sometimes feels we constantly have to look good, work extra hard and keep on top of a hectic family life because that’s what everyone else is apparently doing.
April is stress awareness month and a time when health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country will join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern day stress epidemic.
There can be good and bad stress. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. The first thing to do is recognise you are stressed and take time out for yourself to make some changes. Symptoms are varied and can include: constant worrying, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, general unhappiness and withdrawing from others.
However, here are some easy tips to help alleviate stress.
Avoid too much caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Unfortunately, these are the things that we turn to when we aren’t feeling our best and increasing these won’t solve your problems, it will simply create new ones so try and keep to a minimum. Make sure you get exercise. Even if it’s just parking your car a bit further away from the office so you have a longer walk and don’t feel guilty for taking a break from your desk, it will do you good in the long run. Being active produces endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. It also improves the ability to sleep and we all know how much better we feel after a good night’s sleep.
Taking control of your life is a big one. There are only so many hours in the day, therefore prioritise what needs to be done, both at work and at home. Talk to your boss, colleagues and your family and be realistic about what you can achieve in the day. You don’t have to be a superhero and get everything done. If possible delegate, or get the kids involved in helping around the house. Little things can make a difference.
Open up. It’s really important to talk to someone about how you feel. Even if it’s just your hairdresser! Bottling things up can make things seem worse than they actually are.
Try a new activity. This will help switch your mind off what the issues are and on to something else. It could be anything from yoga, starting a new night school class, or simply reading a book.
Try and laugh every day. Not only does it release endorphins, it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.