There are simple changes you can make to your daily routine to help lower and manage stress levels.
This list of tips helps with the day-to-day managing of stress and can lead to a happier and healthier lifestyle.
- Plan out your day so that you can reduce the feeling of always being “on the run”. Leave for appointments early. Prioritise your tasks for the day. At the end of the day make a note of what you have achieved. You can set up a simple self-coaching programme to help you set realistic goals and learn to coach yourself to make these kinds of positive changes (Grant & Greene, 2004).
- Take time out. Don’t try to work flat out for hours. If possible take a short break. Get some fresh air. Walk. Exercise is a well proven way of reducing stress (Long & Flood, 1993).
- If you tend to take on too much, learn to recognise your limits. Learn to say no. Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves first, so that we are better able to give to others.
- Even distress can be useful. When we learn to deal effectively with distress, we become more resilient. We develop personal strengths and hardiness. We can turn stress to our advantage (Maddi, 2006).
Check your diet and alcohol intake. Make sure your diet is nutritious and varied. Enjoy foods from the 5 core food groups, including colourful fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain and wholemeal breads and cereals, fish/lean meat and alternatives, and reduced fat dairy products. Some alcohol is fine, but relying on alcohol to relax and de-stress every day is not effective (or healthy) in the long run. Over time, we come to rely more and more on that glass (or bottle) of alcohol at the end of the day, which can make us more stressed and less able to relax naturally.
For more on diet and exercise, have a look at:
Take time to sit and relax at the end of the day. Don’t listen to the night-time news just before you go to bed. Typically, the news is quite disturbing. We need to get into a relaxed, positive mindset before bed. Spend some time thinking about the day. In your mind, or in a journal or diary, make a note of some of the good things that happened during the day. Even if the day has been hectic and stressful, there are typically quite a few positive things that happened. Think about those – feel grateful – you’ll sleep better (Wood, Joseph, Lloyd, & Atkins, 2009). Savour the experience.
Enjoy your day. Make plans for the next day. Enjoy your life!
Content adapted from: Coach Yourself, by Dr Anthony Grant and Jane Greene, and Eight Steps To Happiness: An Everyday Handbook, by Dr Anthony Grant.
This fact sheet contains general information and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific advice for your personal situation.
Grant, A. M., & Greene, J. (2004). Coach yourself: Make real change in your life (2 ed.). London: Momentum Press.
Long, B. C., & Flood, K. R. (1993). Coping with work stress: Psychological benefits of exercise. Work & Stress, 7(2), 109-119.
Maddi, S. R. (2006). Hardiness: The courage to grow from stresses. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(3), 160-168.
Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., & Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66(1), 43-48.