Stress can really mess up our lives. It impacts our relationships with friends and kids, it impacts our relationship with the one who shares our life and we love – and it really messes up our performance at work. Therefore, stress control is crucial to a healthy life and managing stress at work and at home is fundamental to a balance in both our business and in our personal life.
Stress has the effect of a dust cloud. If we have stress in our relationship – you can be sure that it will show up in our work and in conversations with our friends – and likewise – if we are stressed at work – this is going to impact the quality time that we have in the rest of our lives.
When You are Dealing with Stress at Work or at Home This is What can Happen
· You forget to do something important because something was stressing you out.
· You skip exercise because you are stressed about something – and then you take it one notch further and turn to comfort food?
· You feel stressed and take it to bed with you and simply murder a night of sleep. Not to mention that if you cannot sleep at night – you end up butchering the following day. You wake up with anxiety and it simply takes away your show.
Stress is pure poison and yet it is really a natural part of life. Stress is never going to go away – so we really have to learn how to deal with it. Stress control is the key to a better life.
Let us face it – how often do you think – one day when I reach my targets and become successful – I am not going to feel stressed any longer? Now if you believe your own stories – you may live in hope.
But the truth is that the bigger your success and the bigger your aspirations – the bigger the stress level is going to show up. There is no such thing as a stress-free life.
Even if you are the calmest and most collected person on earth – you will always experience some degree of stress. One time the Dalai Lama was asked if he – the most peaceful man on Earth ever felt stressed. His reply was his trademark belly laugh – and he did not have to answer because everyone knew that – even the Dalai Lama feels the power of stress.
How Do We Recognize the Source of Stress?
There are different types of stress.
We feel stress when either we or someone we love is not well. That is emotional stress.
We feel stress – if we feel that our income is threatened. That is existential stress.
We have stress because we are set targets that are overwhelming. That is physical stress.
So, there are different types of sources where we can feel stressed. Welcome to the Stress Control Club – there is no such thing as a stress-free life. We can never escape some or other type of stress.
So, how do we manage stress at work and at home – if life is going to keep shoving it in our face?
Those who build wellness practices in their life cope better with stress. A healthy and balanced life is great as a coping mechanism.
In order to build stress busters which will keep you and your business alive, you first
need to understand how regular stress builds up. The steps are really simple.
If you have ever used a pressure you will understand quick how pressure builds.
A pressure cooker cooks faster by acquiring heat and slowly starts building steam. Once it builds enough steam it locks up – and that is when you need to regulate and release the steam. If you don’t lower the heat and release the steam –what happens? The whole contraption literally explodes!
So, what you need to do is learn to release the pressure before the lid blows off the top – before you literally explode. This is the stress control methodology that we will dig deep into in this article.
In order to manage stress at work and at home effectively you need to find the warning signs – the triggers – that building pressure and release them in good time.
As I said earlier – we cannot avoid stress. But in reality, there are two situations in life that really trigger stress.
- A set of circumstances that someone else creates for us or – or it is just life hitting at us – like when someone gets sick.
- A chain of events that we create for ourselves.
In both instances you have to ask yourself the first and most important question
a) Is this a situation that I can solve? Or is this a situation without solution?
If it is the latter than no matter how much you stress and worry about the situation – you cannot solve it – so you literally need to talk yourself out of the stress by understanding that you cannot correct the course of the problem by taking any action.
From experience, I know that life has a way of twisting and turning and it will eventually unravel in front of you. Accept what you cannot change – and for a while live with it until you have better clarity.
b) If the situation is one that can be resolved – then the best thing to do is to do two things.
- You chunk it down to bite size parts. No matter how difficult things look – there is always a process that can be implemented where you take it one step at a time.
- You keep it in perspective. I have a very special way of tricking my mind – when I feel I am out of my depth in a situation. I tell myself – how will I look at this situation a month from now – or a year from now when it is eventually solved?
The reason that I trick my mind like this – is that from experience – I have looked back at situations that looked impossible to solve – and later in time – they just faded in significance. Therefore, this strategy allows me to fade the situation as and when it happens – so that it will not take up all my energy. This is my number one strategy for stress control.
I could give you a lot of suggestions on how to decompress – including doing breathing exercises – but you can really find better positioned people to tell you how breathing will really improve your ability to deal with stress – as well as repeating affirmations for yourself.
But you know that I am more positioned to make you think about where the stress comes from – and this is how we can start dealing with our stress.
TOP 10 TIPS ON HOW TO MANAGE STRESS AT WORK AND AT HOME:
1. Manage your Expectations
If stress is not being provoked by someone else – then it is being provoked by yourself. Which in turn means that you are setting expectations for yourself which may or may be achievable.
Whilst I advocate that taking yourself out of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to see results, I certainly do not encourage taking yourself to your “danger zone”
When you set expectations of yourself you need to ask yourself two important questions.
- Is this real and attainable?
- Will I feel good about my life?
As high performers we live in the world between our “comfort zone” and our “danger zone”. Remember whilst nothing is impossible – it is impossible to score everything right.
So, get CLEAR ON YOUR EXPECTATIONS in order to have better stress control.
Do not put yourself under unnecessary pressure because you are setting yourself up to achieve the impossible or in an impossible time frame.
2. Discuss Your Expectations with The People Who Are Directly Involved – Make Your Intentions Clear
Let me put this in practical terms. Let’s say you are planning a family holiday. You are going to London with the kids. Now you already know that you want to spend a day at Harrods – browsing and shopping.
Your husband on the other hand – is the arty type and cannot wait to spend a morning at the Tate Modern.
Your kids are super excited on going on the Ferris Wheel – the London Zoo and romp in the parks.
If you hop on the plane and just get to London – each with his own agenda – without discussing your expectations– you can rest assured that you are going to have a family disaster instead of a family holiday.
If instead you plan ahead – and you agree to take the kids to the zoo whilst the hubby is at the Tate Modern – and he is with the kids on the Ferris Wheel whilst you spend a decadent morning at Harrods – everyone is happy. The kids – you and him. But if there isn’t a plan – there is going to be dissatisfaction.
The very same happens in your other areas of life. And especially your work. If you are expecting your colleagues or your staff to pitch in some work as a team – but you do not make your intention, clear – then you are in for disappointment and stress.
3. Learn How to Manage Your Time Better
A lot of people fall into the trap that they do not know where their times goes. For people who do not know how to manage their time – it is easy to overestimate the amount of time they have available to finish a task but underestimate the amount of time that each activity takes to complete.
This usually leads them to taking on more tasks then they can manage to finish and therefore become over committed and spread themselves thin. When you spread yourself thin, you not only lose your focus, but you also fray your nerves and very likely you end up getting stressed.
If this sounds like your days, you need to map it out and have a studied schedule. You have to set your tasks and then literally tick them off as you execute them.
Watch out for the daily distractions. Phone calls with friends that seem like stress busters but in fact eat up precious time. The occasional distraction of colleagues dropping in on you.
Carefully list your tasks and the time you expect you need to complete the task. These are stress control kickers which will really help you.
4. Break Down Your Mammoth Tasks to Bite Size Chunks
As a super achiever you tend to aim high. You set targets and you set goals, but as we know – things do not always go as smoothly as we like.
Whether it is setting small tasks in hand with short deadlines or bigger goals which are fundamental in structure our business which keep you awake at night for many nights. You never know when a crisis is going to break out and stress is going to hit hard. That is when we are running the risk of crumbling under the pressure. So how do we deal with crisis when it hits us?
The best way to deal with a mammoth task is to break it down is smaller tasks. This makes it look a lot more viable and then you also have a plan and a time frame to go along with it. It will probably will not look like an impossible task any longer.
This tip applies both for managing stress at work as well as at home.
5. You Do Not Have to Go It Alone – Reach out to Others and Communicate.
S-T-R-E-S-S. Someone Trying to Repair Every Situation Solo.
Admitting that you are stressed and finding it difficult to cope – is not the end of the world. Actually, by admitting that you are out of your depth and reaching out for help – you are actually engaging assistance – and you will be surprised how more often than not you are going to get it from places that you are least expecting.
There is no shame in admitting that you are stressed – unless you make it a habit of shifting your responsibility to others. But the truth is that people who get super stressed are usually people who bite off more than they can chew. It is rare for people who are lazy and shirking work to feel stressed at work. Those are experts on inflicting stress on others.
So, if you are feeling very stressed at work and you are overwhelmed with tasks, you should discuss this with your team or your boss. You need to explain why you cannot cope (mark _ I said explain not complain).
If you manage stress at work by communicating you are bound to feel co-operation which will release a lot of your pressure. You should be clear on where you are seeing problems – where you do not have vision on how to solve them. No one reads minds – therefore explaining and communicating with clarity is very important if you are hoping to get positive feedback.
Another great tip to managing stress at work is that you should not leave everything down to the last minute before you reach out for help. If you are out of your depth – and you have problems that you cannot solve – do not try to figure it out on your own and get tangled in your own wires. That is definitely not the best way to manage stress control. You ask for help at the opportune time. And, if you are hoping to meet your deadlines don’t ask for help a few minutes before the alarm has rang.
A burden shared is a burden halved. Talking about your problems and about your stress is a natural pressure release. And sometimes you will be astounded by the pearls of wisdom that you will get from people who are not directly involved in your problem. They have a different perspective.
Do not go alone - reach out!
6. Take Time to Unplug and Unwind
Taking time to disconnect is very important. Earlier I pointed out that people who have a different perspective – or a different take on your problem – may help you see things outside your limited sight. Disconnecting have the same effect. It is a great way to implement stress control.
Take time to unplug, put in some physical exercise and have a good rest.
It is very likely that when you go back the next day and tackle the problem with a fresh pair of eyeballs, you are going to see the situation a lot more clearly and will be able to handle it better. You will have new insights that you did not see before.
Whatever pressure you are having – unplug and reconnect after you have re-charged your batteries.
7. Stress Control - Stay Positive – See your cup Half Full
This may sound counter intuitive when you are really having problems, but it is a fact that people who have a positive attitude will find solutions much faster.
However, if you’re not feeling chirpy – you may find it difficult staying positive. But here is how you can lift your spirits.
Chronicle your Three G’s at the end of the day. These are Gratitude – Goodness and Goals. Write down a list of whatever it is that you are grateful for, list a number of good things that have recently actually happened to you, and write down the goals that you have already achieved despite the stress.
By actually writing these down you will own them, and you will see that your spirits will lift. This is a conscious effort to lifting yourself up and moving forward. It is the best mindset in which you go to sleep. Over time you will start seeing your cup half full instead of half empty and you will equip yourself emotionally to handling difficult situations as they arise.
8. Stay healthy – It is a priority
It is natural that when you are feeling stressed that you put in even more time atyour desk and end up working even harder. This is sometimes called “doing busy work” and it is especially so if you are losing your perspective.
Physical work and exercisewill take my mind off the immediate problem and generate oxygen in my brain. It is the ultimate stress control tool.
A dose of exercise and healthy eating is essential. Alcohol and smoking may appear to be a quick fix for relaxing you, but you do feel the effect the day after. The same goes for either skipping meals, or ordering fast food take-outs which are a quicker short-cut when you have a tight schedule and feel hungry than preparing your food. Eventually these habits do take over and your health and your performance will end up suffering as well.
9. Try to get well organized and declutter
It is said that a disorganized desk is evidence of a disorganized mind. But in reality, when your space is organized and tidy you will be able to know where everything is and therefore manage your time and your priorities a lot better.
A tidy space will make you feel a lot more relaxed and will avoid a lot of time wasting looking for stuff which in turn will make you even more stressed.
This tip applies well both for managing stress at work as well as at home.
10. Moaning and Losing Your Temper will not Ease your Stress
Although it is normal, that when you are feeling stressed your natural reaction is to moan. Moaning will not help you ease your stress. Sure, it is important to really digest how you are feeling about a situation and even share it with your family or colleagues, but you need to limit the moaning and groaning because it will actually only make you feel worse.
Taking action is what will actually decompress your stress. Besides, people are receptive when you moan the first time and will empathize but if you make a habit of it – there is a good chance that they will start avoiding you.
It is natural, that when we are stressed, and we are in a difficult situation – we need to vent out and let off some steam– but we also need to be mindful of our tempers because toxic tempers can ruin relationships – and compound the stress.
The Final Take-Aways on How to Manage Stress at Work and in Life
These were our TOP 10 TIPS ON MANAGING STRESS AT WORK AND AT HOME. But I would probably add a few nuggets of wisdom which I collected when I was doing research for this training.
Don’t procrastinate – as it is better to take bad action than no action whatsoever. Listen to relaxing music – which will automatically lighten up your mood and finally LEARN WHEN TO SAY NO!!
Too often we get trapped in stress because we do not know when to draw a line and say “I’m sorry but my schedule is full and I cannot help you”. There are 24 hours in the day for everyone – and no matter how you try to stretch them – they will remain the same 24 hours – so be mindful of what you accept to do in your day and time which shaves off time from more important things.