stress busting tips

Stress is perceived in the mind, suffered in the human spirit, experienced via the emotions, expressed in behaviour, and "held" in the body. ~ Anon

1. Learn to manage your time more effectively - We waste a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so prioritise your day and do the important jobs first. The unimportant ones can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Also, don't put off the unpleasant tasks - avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority and do them first.

2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle - If we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure we get adequate sleep & rest our body is better able to cope with stress should it occur. If any of these areas are not happening for you it is usually a warning sign, don't ignore it, ask for some help.

3. Know your limitations and do not take on too much - We cause ourselves a great deal of stress because we like people to like us and don't want to let people down. We then end up doing more than we should. Learn to delegate effectively & be assertive so that you can say no without upsetting or offending.

4. Find out what causes you stress - Take time to discover what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts & behaviour to reduce it. A stress assessment can help you to fully understand the causes, implications to your health & how to manage, cope & make those necessary changes.

5. Avoid unnecessary conflict - Do not be too argumentative. Is it really worth the stress? Look for win - win situations. Look for a resolution to a dispute where both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Find out what the real cause of the problem is & deal with it.

6. Accept the things you cannot change - Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are & concentrate on all that you do have control over. Managing change effectively is essential or else performance will be reduced.

7. Take time out to relax and recharge your batteries - Alongside holidays, with at least one break of 10-14 continuous days recommended, you will perform more effectively during work after even a short 10/15minute break, easily making up the time you used relaxing.

8. Find time to meet friends - Friends can ease work troubles & help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends help us relax and we will often have a good laugh. It boosts the immune system that is often depleted during stress. If you do become stressed, engage in some form of physical activity. It works off the biochemical and physical changes that occur within your body due to stress. Relaxation also helps your body return to its normal healthy state. Good relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, massage and a variety of complimentary therapies.

9. Try to see things differently, develop a positive thinking style - If something is concerning you, try to see it differently. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets out of proportion. Often, talking to a friend/colleague/family member will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective. You may also need to consider professional help in order to achieve the desired outcome & prevent ill health &/or burnout.

10. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as coping mechanisms - Long term, these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to the problem. For example, caffeine & nicotine are stimulants, too much & the body reacts to this with the stress response increasing or even causing anxiety symptoms. Alcohol is a depressant


International Stress Management Association UK 2009

How To Beat Insomnia

1. Adopt a regular sleep pattern Go to bed at the same time Get up at the same time every day.

2. Follow a getting ready for bed ritual Security check to ensure safe environment.

3. Engage in a relaxing/unwinding activity pre sleep Reflect on days events, plan for next day early in the evening.

4. Reduce your consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol.

5. Do not eat a big meal late at night.

6. Have a hot milky drink shortly before you go to bed.

7. If you smoke, give it up, or at least try to do without cigarettes late at night and never smoke in bed.

8 Do not allow your bedroom to become too hot or cold. Somewhere between 60 to 70°F (15 to 21°C) seems comfortable for most people.

9. Sleep on a comfortable mattress. Is your bedding the way you like it? Is it too heavy or too light? Too warm or too cold? Experiment until you find the best solution.

10. Exercise during the day.

11. Avoid afternoon naps.

12. Try to stop worrying about not sleeping just resting in bed will do you some good.


Based on MSc SMP Group work 1996