Ever notice that a good laugh has a way of lightening your burdens? Or maybe you’ve experienced a scenario like one of these. Your day feels completely stressful and overwhelming, but then you coach yourself to step away from the frenzy, collect your thoughts, make a list of what’s going on– prioritizing what’s important. Has your list ever helped you discover that perhaps your day is more manageable than it seemed?
Or maybe you usually go walking with a friend before you start your workday. This week seems entirely too busy and stressful to fit in such “frivolities.” But you decide that instead of skipping it, you’ll go ahead and walk. Afterward, you notice it was good for you physically, socially, and emotionally and upon sitting down for the work day, you actually feel more able to attack the list of tasks.
Stress can come from many sources, which are known as “stressors.” Because our experience of what is considered “stressful” is created by our unique perceptions of what we encounter in life (based on our own mix of personality traits, available resources, habitual thought patterns and more), a situation may be perceived as “stressful” by one person and merely “challenging” by someone else.
Simply put, one person’s stress trigger may not register as stressful to someone else. That said, certain situations tend to cause more stress in most people and can increase the risk of burnout. For example, when we find ourselves in situations where there are high demands on us; where we have little control and few choices; where we don’t feel equipped; where we may be harshly judged by others; and where consequences for failure are steep or unpredictable, we tend to get stressed.
Stress becomes a problem when it operates out of its natural, intended purpose; that afterward when it occurs frequently and over a long period of time. The body will still produce hormones and experience the same effects of stress – rapid heartbeat, tightening muscles, fast breathing — no matter how often the stress occurs.
Therefore, if people experience stress nearly every day; their hearts, muscles, digestive and immune systems will endure negative consequences. People who experience chronic stress can suffer from high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heartburn, headaches, and viral illnesses. Stress can have very serious health consequences and therefore, needs to be managed effectively.
Stress management is having the ability to recognize situations that may cause stress, in order to use strategies to prevent the stress from occurring. Stress management also means setting up your life in a way that the opportunity for stress is unlikely to occur. The best approach to stress management is different from person to person, depending on the stressors that impact the individual and how each individual responds to various coping techniques. Thankfully, there are many known strategies that are widely used and very effective when it comes to managing stress.
Knowing your personal limits is crucial because being pushed outside of your personal limitations can cause unneeded stress. What some people consider a busy schedule, others do not.
Some people are equipped to handle multiple tasks while others need a simpler schedule. Therefore, you need to be aware of your boundaries, according to your personality and value system.
Eliminate things in your life that do not line up with what you personally can handle so that you experience stress less often.
Time constraints can trigger stress in people’s lives. Schedules often become overloaded, causing people to feel overwhelmed. In order to alleviate this kind of stress, making a list of priorities can help your schedule become more manageable and possible to complete.
Committing to a consistent exercise routine allows your body to release tension and even relax its muscles, benefiting your physical well-being.
Taking steps to support good health gives you the ability to focus on life’s responsibilities without added pressure or stress.
Maintaining good nutrition can help both your mind and body function well and give you the ability to cope with every day demands better. When your body receives its necessary nutrients and proper fuel, stress is less likely to accompany everyday tasks.
Adequate sleep is important for allowing your body time to repair and rejuvenate, which helps with mental alertness, memory, and concentration, and also boosts immune strength.
Going to bed at the same time each night, eliminating distractions such as television and mobile devices, and aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep each night are best practices for healthy sleep.