These days stress is a buzz word. Many women talk about being stressed. Having too many things to do and so many options can be stressful. We feel stressed because of demands from others and our own expectations of ourselves. There is too much to do and too little time. Even relaxation and recreation can seem stressful. There are ways to manage stress but there is no single way that will help in every situation or for every woman.
To reduce the amount of stress in your life:
• Cut out unnecessary tasks and let yourself take some short cuts. Work out what you can manage at the moment and don’t make unreasonable demands of yourself. Would you expect someone else to do everything you have on your plate and to the standard you set yourself?
• Ask yourself, ‘Will the world end if I don’t get this done or if I make a mistake?’ This works for me when I am getting things out of proportion.
• Energy levels fluctuate through the day. Where possible choose low energy times for easier routine tasks. Use your high energy times for tasks which are more demanding or require greater concentration or creativity. First thing in the morning is a low energy time for me so I stick to routine tasks. I pack things the night before so I am organised if I am going out.
• Think what advice you would give to a friend if she was in your situation. I sometimes find myself telling a friend to take care of her needs and realise I need to follow my own advice.
When you are feeling uptight and stressed
• Take some slow deep breaths. We have all heard this advice but it does help to loosen your chest if is getting tight.
• Have a laugh. It is good for your health because it increases levels of the hormone gamma interferon which boosts the immune system. Perhaps you can have a laugh at yourself to stop yourself from taking life too seriously. Apparently a faked laugh is as good for your health as the real thing.
• Visualise your ‘happy place.’ For some visualising a place in Nature calms them down. The beach is a popular place for many. Some people find thinking of their favourite flower helps.
• Get some exercise. Taking a walk may be the easiest form of exercise as you don’t need special clothes and you don’t need to book anything. Many years ago I used to enjoy a game of social basketball. I found I couldn’t stress about my life while playing. All my energy and concentration was going on the game. At the end of the game I would realise the world had continued turning even though I hadn’t stressed while I was playing.
• If you are thinking of the worst case scenario just tell yourself to ‘stop’. A doctor gave me this advice and I have since read it in other places. In some situations it works better to put a quick stop to thinking of the worst than to make lists of the best possible outcomes and the worst. The problem with the lists approach is you spend some time imagining the worst.
• Dab some essential oil of lavender, citrus or another relaxing fragrance on a piece of fabric. Smell it regularly throughout the day. If you are with other people you may want to choose to do this when you have a couple of minutes alone. On the other hand perhaps you could start a trend in the office and reduce everyone’s stress level.