A to Z of Soft Skills: M for Manage Stress
Ugghh! Stress management again!! And some more of – meditate, be calm, stay happy, do yoga, blah blah blah!
I know yet another post on stress management seems like same old, same old. But bear with me. It’s got what you know and some of what you don’t too!
If you’ve watched the film, Life in a Metro, there’s this scene where Irrfan takes KonKana to the office terrace and tells her to scream her frustration out. Initially she finds it hard to do. But he encourages her and joins her too. When she’s done he tells her that her system is now serviced. I so vicariously feel the stress relief she must feel after a hearty – throaty rather – scream! Phew!And I am sure there are several times during the day when you feel like screaming your head off but can’t. I so wish all our offices had a screaming terrace where we could vent out our negativity. But since we don’t have that luxury, here are a few things we can still do:
Let go: No, not in the “forgive the world” kind of way. But leave things that bother you about work, at work. Don’t carry it home and let your family be affected by it. Likewise, don’t carry worries from home to work. Worry wouldn’t help in anyway so try not to do it.
Vent it out: If you are lucky enough to have friends (and are a woman – let’s face it, we are better at sharing), get some venting time every week. Getting together with friends is also a great way to catch up and relax. Sometimes all one needs is to get thoughts out there for them to stop bothering us. Just another version of screaming on a terrace.
Volunteer: This is one of the best ways to forget our own worries. And giving selflessly is a great way to feel happy. Find places with the less fortunate and give them your time every week. Orphanages, school for the blind, old age homes – there is no dearth of options.
Get a pet: Pets are proven to have a positive effect on us with the selfless love they have to offer. Even if you can’t get a pet of your own, maybe spend some time with the neighbour’s poodle. The benefits are going to be the same minus the hassle of taking care of one.
Limit screen time: Enough and more has been said about how being glued to our devices is affecting our health adversely. Use discretion and ration it out. It makes a huge difference. Cutting down will also help you keep work away when you are at home.
Get help: No, I don’t mean you need a therapist – although get one if you feel the need. I’m talking about using the benefits that technology has to offer. There are several apps that can help you switch off, relax and even sleep better. I use Calm sometimes. During my research for this post, I found 10 stress relief apps for moms – although I’m sure anyone can benefit from them. Some of them are free and available for on both, Apple and Android. I got Happify and Stress Tracker for myself. Let’s see how they work.
Fix hobby time: Fix a time for yourself – even if it is an hour a week – and don’t change it for anything. Spending time doing what you love is one of the nest stress busters.
Walk/workout: This is age old wisdom but trust me, it works. Taking a walk could be your own “me” time disconnected from everything else. Exercises release endorphins – the feel good hormones that beat cortisol – the stress hormone. So there you go!
Manage time: Another oft repeated , golden advice. We all have more to do than there is time in a day. Hence, it is very important to set realistic goals and complete what is possible. Get more tips on time management here – how to make a to-do list and stick to it.
Deep breathes: I don’t mean meditation. When we are stressed, our breathing becomes shallow. We don’t get enough oxygen because of that. Take long, deep breathes wherever and whenever you remember to. Just breathing deeply calms the brain, gives us more oxygen, relaxes the muscles and helps stress. Isn’t that a simple thing to do!
Sleep: Thanks to our devices, we mostly catch up on our online social life at night. Or finish reports. Or important emails. The more we expose ourselves to light coming from these screens the more we are losing melatonin, the chemical required to feel sleepy. So you get into a vicious cycle – I’m not sleepy, so let me work. But you won’t feel sleepy till you put work away and try to sleep. Creating an atmosphere conducive to sleeping is critical for the production of melatonin. Not getting enough sleep makes managing stress even harder.
Here are a few useful resources with more ideas to help manage stress:
Here’s a post from this challenge with tips on Juggling work and life
Ideas for the corporate crowd: How 9 CEOs handle stress
Stress isn’t something that bothers only high flying people with corporate careers. Work at home moms are stressed too: How to manage stress for stay at home moms
And working moms, doubly so: Stress management for working moms
While you knew most of these tips, the crucial thing here is to start applying them. Choose one, just one of these ideas that work best for you and start applying it consistently. Once that becomes a part of your routine, gradually work the others one by one into your life.
This post is a part of A to Z blogging challenge where I am going to write about 26 soft skills in 26 days and give tips on how to improve on them. If you like these posts, do share them and tell your friends about it.