Note: This document is a work in progress. You can help improve it.
Why is it important?
- Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium & health
- Stress narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life
- Stress Management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive
Tip 1: Identify the sources of stress
- Easy to see stressor examples might be changing jobs, moving or relationship changes
- To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
- Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
- Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)?
- Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Tip 2: Practice the 4 A’s
- Avoid, Alter, Adapt & Accept
- Avoid unnecessary stress
- Learn how to say “no.”
- Avoid people who stress you out.
- Take control of your environment.
- Pare down your to-do list
- Alter the situation
- Express your feelings.
- Be willing to compromise.
- Create a balanced schedule. Adapt to the stressor
- Reframe problems.
- Look at the big picture.
- Adjust your standards.
- Practice gratitude.
- Accept the things you can’t change
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.
- Look for the upside.
- Learn to forgive.
- Share your feelings.
Tip 3: Get moving
- Physical activity is a huge stress reliever and you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a gym to experience the benefits.
- Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, and it can also serve as a valuable distraction from your daily worries
- Put on some music and dance around
- Take your dog for a walk
- Walk or cycle to the grocery store
- Use the stairs at home or work rather than an elevator
- Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot and walk the rest of the way
- Pair up with an exercise partner and encourage each other as you work out
- Play ping-pong or an activity-based video game with someone
Tip 4: Connect to others
- Spend quality time with another human being who makes you feel safe and understood
- Keep in mind that the people you talk to don’t have to be able to fix your stress. They simply need to be good listeners.
- Reach out to a professional when you need more than just a friend
Tip 5: Make time for fun / relaxation
- Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs.
- Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.
- Set aside leisure time.
- Do something you enjoy every day.
- Keep your sense of humor.
- Take up a relaxation practice.
Tip 6: Manage your time better
- Poor time management can cause a lot of stress.
- When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused.
- Don’t over-commit yourself.
- Prioritize tasks.
- Break projects into small steps.
Tip 7: Maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle
- In addition to regular exercise, there are other healthy lifestyle choices that can increase your resistance to stress.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Reduce caffeine and sugar.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.
- Get enough sleep.
Tip 8: Learn to relieve stress in the moment
- The fastest way to reduce stress is by taking a deep breath and using your senses—what you see, hear, taste, and touch—or through a soothing movement.
- Viewing a favorite photo.
- Smelling a specific scent.
- Listening to a favorite piece of music.
- Hugging a pet.
- Find what works for you.
Tips for Stress Management
- Start a stress journal
- Track your sleep
- Keep a journal
- Find a professional when you need to
Student Assistance Program with BayCare
Resources on Stress and Stress Management
- Stress Management Strategies: Ways to Unwind
- Managing Stress - Brainsmart - BBC
- How to make stress your friend
- Yoga For Stress Management