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Top tips: Stress busters

By RAMariyam 29 Apr 2019

If you know me then you know I'm a MEGA stress freak. Literally, anything has the ability to make me tip my balance and next thing you know I'm Michael Scott running up and down the hall screaming it's happening. 

And so, having to deal with stress all my life means I had to come up with a rescue plan to help me stress less and IT ACTUALLY WORKS! So sit back and relax, let's get un-stressed. 

1. “Stress-less” Schedule

Most of the time what stress does is that it essentially delays everything. It works as a barrier between work and actually getting it done. If you're thinking about what you need to do and the amount of work load you have, without actually doing it then you're making the situation worse. Therefore, build “Gap Time” into your day. 

Rather than taking everything head on in one seating, plan and schedule. Yes this might take more time. But it helps to know when it's break time. This way you won't burnout as easily. Ask yourself, “How am I doing?”  Take a deep breath, focus on how your body feels. Relax. Breathe.  Simply scheduling a very short “gap” into the stream of information flowing into your consciousness, will allow you to plug into your “self” and interrupt any stress reactions that are building and make adjustments, which will gradually build your resiliency to stress.  

2. Be Assertive

Think about why do you have so much workload? Is it because you're taking on too much than you should have? When we find ourselves excelling at something it's very easy to get carried away and take on more workload than usual, and then when it comes down to getting it done we struggle. So, think about what you're taking on, can you actually meet your goals? Will you be able to fit everything in? Remember we only lose our work life balance when we're too invested in one or the other. This is where being assertive comes in, whether it's simply your to-do list or work, learn to say “No” or “Maybe”. Stick to one thing at a time, this way you'll stress less knowing you have plenty of time to get things done. 

3. Connect with people 

Having a good support system and I can not stress this enough, is EVERYTHING. Whether that's a network of friends, family or colleagues, this can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way. If you don't connect with people, you won't have support to turn to when you need help and besides, let's face it, any excuse for a break right? The activities we do with friends help us relax. We often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever. Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems, it's all about perspective. 

4. Find the switch and turn it off

One of my biggest weakness is not being able to put things down when I need to. I'm usually everywhere and nowhere at once. For example, I could be in a lecture but be working on something work related, I could be at work and be working on something uni related. I might tell myself I'm taking a break from revision but my break really consists of me answering emails or working on something other than revision. What's worse is I'm constantly thinking about what I need to and when everything needs to be done by - rather than finding that switch and turning it all off. 

Therefore, turn off your phones/ thoughts/distractions after a set time, i.e- I won't reply to emails after 8pm each day.  Or I will spend half an hour at the end of each day, looking at the things I've managed to do rather than the things you didn't manage to do. This will allow your body to fully “unplug” from the day’s stressors and to just breathe. (This also means that while at lunch—just focus on eating lunch or chatting with your friends—don’t spend lunch texting or checking emails)

5. Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk

Migos were on to something when they were singing walk it like I talk it. This really works as a stress busting power house!  I read this somewhere, "the best stress management techniques are two- fold including both a psychological and physiological intervention"—talking and walking are simple and cheap. Therefore,  talk to someone about what you are dealing with.  It does not have to be a professional, a like-minded co-worker, friend or loved one will do.  Just the act of venting your frustrations makes them easier to cope with on a daily basis.  

Walk.  Get out and break a sweat.  Physical activity is far and away the best stress buster out there.  Our bodies have a fight or flight response built in to either fight off an attacking tiger or run away from it to safety.  When under acute stress our bodies are flooded with adrenaline and other chemicals to help us escape the “tiger” (our stress) While some times you might be restricted to run and hide in the comfort of your beds, such as at work or in the library, but what you can do, is take a brisk walk during your lunch hour or a jog after work to blow off steam and greatly reduce your body’s stress response. 

These are a few of my stress busters which have helped me stress less. Truth is you won't magically learn to handle stress overnight, but the most important thing to remember is that we can change and adapt our thoughts-we control stress, it doesn't control us.

Now if you excuse me, it's time for me to nap and procrastinate.

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