Tips for Managing Stressful Situations (Part 2)
Did you try some (or all) of the suggestions to manage your stress levels? Part 1
I’m sure you started with good intentions to remain calm, so let’s keep you that way by adding in some suggestions below and you can set yourself up to navigate the times when your stress levels do climb. Using these tips, as I have and frequently do as a preventative strategy, I hope will help you.
It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress.
Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress. To refresh, here are the five I covered in previously;
- Listen to the Music
- Have a Chat
- Speak it Out Loud, to Yourself
- Support your body Nutritionally
- Have a Laugh Let’s now add to the list, try these suggestions. Keep them handy for when you need them most and scroll down the list until one or a combination, reach out to you!
6. Swap a Coffee for a Tea
When you are stressed, coffee (in large doses) has the ability to cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, and can cause your (HPA) hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to go into overdrive. The plethora of choices of tea are sure to satisfy even the fussiest of palates. Warm or chilled, many teas offer antioxidants and amino acids that have a calming effect on the nervous system. The ritual of making a cup of tea can also be an opportunity for calm, offering you a few minutes to “be” whilst the water is boiling.
7. Time Out for the Mind
Sustained stress management rituals are the most effective long-term habits. Starting with a lifestyle audit, especially for the mind will highlight where the work needs to be done. Setting this up with some short and simple meditations and breathing styles can help now and long term. With mental health awareness at an all-time high, there are many apps and low impact exercise techniques that can help with the mindfulness. When you pop out for a walk or are making your next cup of tea, try a few minutes of a mediation app or simply breathing, then challenge yourself to take this further and join a class to learn new ways to care for your head space.
8. Move (please)
Yes, I know sometimes you lose your motivation and exercise is a chore. When I suggest “move”, take a walk, around the block, stand up and stretch, the movement can help to relieve a stressful situation and take you away from the immediate focus on an issue. Moving the body releases endorphins that can improve your mood in many cases, quickly. Build your on-going exercise plan, gradually and focus on how much brighter you’ll feel afterwards. If you do nothing else to help reduce your stress levels, please, at least go for a walk.
9. Get Your “Zeds”
Poor sleep is frequently the first casualty when you are stressed. A vicious cycle makes lack of sleep cause more stress and gets worse with time. Make sleep your priority, getting the number of hours you need each night. You know the rest; reducing screen time and creating a bedtime ritual. During the day to help you, pop into a quiet space and close your eyes for a few minutes, set an alarm so you know you can relax.
10. Breathe “easy”
The advice “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it holds true when it comes to stress. For centuries, Buddhist monks have been conscious of deliberate breathing during meditation. For an easy three- to five-minute exercise, sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind. This one is a favourite of mine and the phrase “brethingeasy”, my yoga teacher uses in class. It’s a reminder to myself that always makes me smile, refelct on a yoga class and remember to breathe consistently, conciously throughout my day!
Protecting The Body
The stress response is the body’s way of protecting itself against any danger or threat. When you sense danger, the body will immediately go into protection mode, “fight or flight” is what the experience is called. Whilst some levels of stress actually support the body, sustained and prolonged stress can lead to longer term issues, such as burning out and in extreme cases chronic illness. If you are experiencing extended periods of stress and you or others around you are noticing changes in your behavior’s and attitudes, it is time to seek some support and change habits that are contributing to your stressed-out state.
Learn More About Stress Relief
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Too much untreated stress can cause potentially serious physical and mental health problems. The good news is that in many cases, stress is manageable. With some patience and a few useful strategies, you can reduce your stress, whether it’s family stress or stress related to work.
Burnout is real and needs to be interrupted before it impacts your primary and secondary health. My practice of coaching women through my Thrive and Alive program identifies the habits that create the spiral into burning out. Together we remove what is not working and gets you down and implement rituals to support you and strategies to manage your reactions to triggers that cause you stress and pressure.