Stress is personal, unique to each person’s set of circumstances, personality, and even genes. Some people even seek out stress. But being busy and successful doesn’t mean being stressed or anxious. Stress at work can be really bad for your physical health, so it’s worth addressing the issues at the root of your stress. Stress can cause high blood pressure and affect your cardiovascular system – which can all have serious effects on your long-term health. Taking care of yourself can help avoid the problems associated with this, while you can also take the stress out of planning for your family’s health and welfare by considering a life insurance policy.
There are plenty of time management techniques that claim to reduce stress, although sometimes it can feel as if it would be easier to plan each day and prioritise if you weren’t already so stressed! As a perennial procrastinator, I’ve found online tools such as Google Calendar are a helpful start in managing time and freeing up some of your brain capacity. It has very useful alerts which will email or even send you an SMS text before appointments and tasks, which means you can effectively prioritise and put off tasks until later without worrying that you’ll forget about it.
Use a pen
Depending on your phone for reminders can quickly fall apart if it’s beeping with requests and distractions. Sometimes you need to switch the phone to silent, the chat status to busy, and close down your Outlook. If I’ve got an important task that requires time and focus, I might actually print out the information I need, pick up a pen and find a new, quiet space to think and work. It can be a welcome relief from gazing at a screen and its pop-ups and distractions, and if I’m lucky, I might produce some quality work. This technique goes well with a cup of coffee.
Of course, while caffeine can help you focus on a particular task, too much dependence on it can ultimately leave you feeling tired – particularly if you take lots of sugar, so ditch it if you want to keep on your toes.
But if your body is on the rollercoaster of morning caffeine, evening alcohol, tobacco and sugary foods – then you’ll find yourself reacting to situations on the fly instead of being calm and in control, focused and able to deal with problems as they arise.
Even moderate exercise is known to be an effective way of dealing with stress. Physical health is a great route to mental health. Ditch the quick fixes and you’ll feel better in the long term.
Yoga is often recommended, as are meditative practices. Even when you’ve arrived late at the office or you need a boost of energy to finish the task and get out of the door at the end of the day, there are quick and effective breathing exercises that can restore and rejuvenate in a matter of minutes – no caffeine or sugar required!
Take a deep breath
If you feel yourself getting anxious, then becoming aware of your breathing, its depth and regularity, can have an instant calming effect on your body and mind. Mark out your intention to take a certain number of breaths to help you focus while you do it. In fact marking out your intention to complete certain tasks during a particular period will help you focus and stay in control. Try this – it’s worked for me:
“I am going to close my eyes, take three deep breaths, and focus on what I have achieved today. Then I’m going to take four deep breaths and focus on what I want to achieve in my last hour. Then I’m going to finish this report.”
It’s important to deal with whatever is causing your stress and find a path out of it – it can easily become a vicious cycle, By contrast, being calm and in control can create a positive cycle, where managing your time effectively can give you more free time, and quality work gives you positive feedback to boost your mood. Whatever your job, remember that very few people at the end of their lives wish they had spent more time in the office!