Now we’ve spoken about what causes stress, and the types of symptoms, it’s time to learn how to reduce stress. Each day I’m going to be sharing one tip to help you cope with stress and regain control.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Your body is really good at letting you know when you’re burnt out and stressed. If you’re getting regular headaches, feeling exhausted or experiencing little motivation, then it’s time to rest. You can’t take care of everyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself first.
You know when flight attendants tell you to put your oxygen mask on yourself first, and then take care of your children or others? This is exactly what self care is. You must take care of yourself before you can help others.
You’ll probably get clues from people around you too. They’ll ask what’s wrong after you’ve bitten their heads off a few times. This is a sign of stress. Having little patience for people and being short and snappy with them is your body telling you that you’re stressed.
Continuing to function at 100 miles per hour can be really harmful to you. You have to be kinder to yourself, and learn to rest.
Say no to people and their events.
Is your diary full of plans, your days filled with things to do? Then you need to get rid of some of these commitments. I realise you can’t cancel everything, but those that you do have control over, just say no. Your friends and family will understand if you say “I’m feeling really stressed and burnt out lately, so I can’t make it to your birthday party”
Take some time away.
It might just be a simple day off where you do absolutely nothing but watch Netflix in bed. It could also be time away. A short weekend break or change of scenery for a day can work wonders for stress. Not having your daily routine to deal with is sometimes enough of a break.
Talk about it.
Sometimes, people don’t even know you’re experiencing burn out. Tell your manager at work that the pressure is too much for you right now and you need help to make things better. Tell your partner that you need help keeping on top of the house work, so that you can enjoy being at home and not constantly thinking ‘I need to clean the bathroom, I need to iron, I need to mop the kitchen floor’.
Make sleep a priority.
Unwind before bed properly. No phones, TV or bright lights. Take a relaxing bath in the evening and read a book in bed with a dim light. Don’t have caffeine or sugary snacks for a good few hours before bed.
Children and burnout.
If you have children, then taking a day off isn’t always an option. Just don’t plan to go to a busy soft play centre when you’re physically exhausted. See if a friend or family member can take the kids for a day to give you a break. If not, a movie day on the sofa is always a good idea.
Sometimes you can’t just stop working and take time to rest. In this case you need to prioritise tasks that absolutely need to be done. The rest can wait. Delegate tasks to others and lighten your workload. Colleagues will understand when you tell them why. It would be nice to repay the favour in the future when you can see them experiencing stress and burn out.
What makes you happy?
It could be walking your dog, chatting with a friend on the phone, taking a long bath or having a walk in the woods with your child. Whatever makes you happy, do more of that.
It’s so important to recognise your limits and take a break when you need it. It’s not lazy and you shouldn’t feel worthless or like a failure when you’re running on empty. Remember, self care isn’t selfish. It’s ok not to be ok and to admit you need a break. Remember, you are important too.