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7 WAYS TO…Manage Stress

Stress is increasingly becoming an issue in the lives of modern women. We are trying to juggle a zillion things at once – work, kids, hobbies, men, friends... It’s time to take some time out and get on top of our stress. Here are some helpful hints on how to do this:

  1. Identify your stress patterns
    What exactly is it that is making you stress? Is it rush hour traffic? Is work asking too much of you? Is it simply your kids leaving their dirty dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher? Once you have identified your stress triggers, keep track of how and when they attack. Then brainstorm some possible ways to minimise the trigger. Rush hour traffic – can you work from home? Can you change your working hours?
    Work overload – practise your prioritisation skills. Delegate. Stand up for yourself and say no if it’s all getting too much. Dirty dishes – Can you afford a maid once a week to tidy the house? What about a reward/punishment programme for the kids to motivate them to keep the house clean?
  2. List and prioritise
    When we have a lot on our mind, it’s easy to blow things out of proportion and panic. Make a list of all the things you have to do today, tomorrow, next week. Don’t panic about how long it’s getting, just get all those thoughts down. Now highlight any points that are especially important – make it a mix of big and little things. Work your way through the list, crossing off things as you go. As the list shrinks, you’ll feel better and capable of managing multiple tasks.
  3. Get enough sleep
    It’s not easy to get enough sleep at night. The average person needs between 6-9 hours of undisturbed sleep a night to function at full capacity. This may seem easier said than done when you have crying babies to look after in the middle of the night, but try your best to get your beauty sleep. Go to bed an hour early, or hire a babysitter for a night so you can sleep undisturbed. Also try to make your bedroom as comfortable as possible – ensure the room is dark and uncluttered.
  4. Eat better and exercise more
    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that phrase, I’d be rich. As clichéd as it is, eating healthily and exercising regularly does have positive benefits on your health – both physical and mental. If you ensure your diet is full of essential nutrients, it’s OK to have that glass of wine to reward yourself after a hard days work. Also try to find an exercise that you find enjoyable. Some people like to use yoga or pilates to de-stress. Others prefer a bout with a punching bag, or a team sport such as netball to thrash out their stresses. If you find something you enjoy, it will act as stress neutraliser.
  5. Take a bath
    Run a hot bath, light some candles, lie back and relax! A simple luxury like that every now and then will work wonders on your stress levels. Using soothing aromatherapy oils such as lavender will calm you and can even help you get to sleep.
  6. Treat yourself
    Along the lines of the suggestion above, treat yourself regularly. Whether it is having a bath, or else enjoying a facial, getting your hair cut or giving yourself a manicure, treating yourself can bring your raging stress levels back to ground level. Think of some things you wish you could do more often if you had the time, and then make the time.
  7. Read a book
    When the troubles of your world are becoming a bit too much to handle, bury yourself in the troubles of someone else! Reading a good book distracts you from reality and gives you some time-out. Read a cheesy romance novel for some light-hearted entertainment, or try a bestseller such as The Da Vinci Code to get your imagination running. If you’re after a particular solution, try reading a self-help book. Many academics put their expertise down on paper, and you may be able to find the solution to your problem in the pages of a book.
By pink 24-Sep-2006
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