Stress can affect each of us on a daily basis. Juggling work commitments, dealing with professional life and trying to keep an organised personal life is like being caught in a washing machine. It is overwhelming and can have a direct impact on your physical, mental and emotional health.
We live in times where life goes at a 100 miles an hour. Sometimes we don’t have time, or even find 5 minutes in order to simply sit down and think.
From my personal experience I noticed that I often create my own stress, I will trigger it through my ambition by chasing perfection, which by the way, does not exist (surprise, surprise!).
I am wondering, why do we spend so much time in the gym taking care of our body and condition and so little time spent taking care of our mental health. We often forget about our mental health because it is not visible and some people treat it as a taboo? If you look deep down into your mental health, you have to answer a question whether it is as fit as your body?
Let's answer the question of when you last did something for your mental health. Especially during current circumstances related to Covid19, we need to take care of our body and soul.
We all know that feeling when (no matter the cause), your heart starts to beat very fast, your breath becomes short and heavy, you wake up at night thinking about work, things to do tomorrow, and you enter this state known as the “fight-or-flight” response. In that state, your immediate thought is to either fight off the stress quickly or run away. Hands up who has experienced this. ME!
What you need at this point in time is to find ways to control and deal with stress so you can find the balance and stability in life. I know what you are thinking right now: “hmmm it is easy to say”. Indeed, it is easy to say, however I wish to provide you with few tips how I try to do it and hopefully this will help you find your way through stressful situations in your life
One of the best ways I find to lead a healthy and happy life is by dealing with the stress factor positively. It is OK to feel stressed, it is OK to feel this way. You are not alone.
I try to build my emotional strength by concentrating on the things that are within my control. Since I was a little girl, my mum always said that "in life, more often than not, there's a solution to a problem." I would say that this is a very important quote which I always remember of when struggling. I can say that my mum is right.
People are constantly experiencing stress and constantly asking: How to overcome stress? How to reduce stress? How to become immune to difficulties? Stress is an integral part of life. Stress is the source of negative emotions. Stress is malaise, anxiety, frustration, strain. Often you do not have any influence on certain situations in life, you have to come to terms with unpleasant circumstances. Often, however, a person can influence their problems and can reduce stress and even eliminate some of its causes. How is this possible? Below I would like to share with you how I deal with stress which helps me to find the balance in life.
Accept that it’s normal to be stressed: There is nothing wrong with you if you are feeling stressed. We all feel stressed some of the time, so do not be afraid to admit it. Connect with people. Do not forget that you ARE NOT ALONE!!!. Humans are social animals: We crave feeling supported, valued and connected. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your worries and help you see things in a different way. A problem shared can really be a problem halved and as the old advert said, “it’s good to talk.”
Positive thinking: Once I was told that I am too positive and that I am too enthusiastic and too happy…… Positivity is my shield which protects me. I learn to approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. This definitely helps me to reduce stressful situations. Always try to think positively about the situation you are in and learn to focus on the things you can influence and not on the things you can’t.
Healthy eating: Often, when feeling stressed we reach for unhealthy comfort food like ice-cream, chocolate, pizza etc to cheer us up. It can feel great to begin with and the occasional treat is fine, but too much of this and you can start to feel more tired and lethargic which can make you feel even worse. Our body needs to be healthy, strong, happy and properly fuelled to help you tackle and even eliminate stress. Do not forget about the daily portion of fruits and vegetables. Eating celery, walnuts, eggs, potatoes, oranges, green beans, blackcurrants may also reduce a level of stress. Magnesium is an element that affects the proper functioning of the nervous system, so it is worth providing it with the right amount in the food consumed or supplementing. CAREFULL! Drinking alcohol is not a good option. From problems you must not run away, you need to meet them and overcome them.
Be active. After a very busy and stressful day a good way to unwind the negative emotions and stress is exercise. In my opinion exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. Going to spin class or body pump helps me a lot and I would highly recommended however, if you don’t like going to the gym I would suggest going for a walk, clear your mind. Walking for even 20-30 minutes each day is going to be helpful. The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. During the national lockdown I have exercised online with my friends. You can also try and make it fun!
Sleep: If you find that you are stressed and not getting enough sleep, you're not alone! Sleep is very important and essential for your well-being. Good sleep practice can increase productivity and reduce stress. It can improve concentration and your mental health. Good quality sleep can boost your immune system, prevent chronic illnesses, and maintain your physical fitness. What helps me to get a good night sleep is a hot bath with a lavender oil and magnesium flakes, I avoid any electronic devises 1 hour before a bedtime. Try it and you will be sleeping like an angel.
Try to understand the other person: Stressful situations can arise from our relationships at work and with friends and family. Arguments and stressful situations can arise from the most innocuous circumstances and sometimes it is difficult to understand how they arise. Always try to understand why a person feels the way they do or have said the things they have said. This way I can reduce a friends’ stress as well as my own!
Have some “me time”: Sometimes you just need to down tools and create some space for yourself. Reading, playing video games, watching “Dirty Dancing” for the 100th time, taking part in a Zoom Pub quiz! All of these can work. It’s important to remember that life doesn’t need to be lived at 100 miles an hour, certainly not all the time. It might not be easy to find this time, but you need to.
So, this is what I try to do to help me through the stressful times. More often than not, this works for me, but everybody is different and there are many approaches to dealing with stress. If you have any positive stories, or techniques that help you deal with stress, please share through the Women’s Business Link’s forum.