Managing your stress
How to manage your stress / Lack of sleep / Exercise and stress
One of the first things you need to do to start managing your stress is to understand what is causing your stress – your work, doing too much, and/or your environment can all be factors. You can then work to change the situation, by avoiding or altering the stressor or change your reaction to stress.
Some of the specific things you can do to manage your stress include:
Take care of your body so that you are able to manage your stress. Get some rest and relaxation and allow your body to rejuvenate and recover, this includes getting 8 hours of sleep
Take up some regular exercise as a stress reliever
Avoid unnecessary stress by learning to say “no” and setting boundaries, minimising your ‘to do’ list and avoiding people, situations or environments that make you feel stressed
Change the stressful situation so that it doesn’t become stressful by expressing your feelings, compromising and managing your time better
Adapt yourself to stressors and regain a sense of control through relaxation techniques to alter your response, or by reframing the problem and looking at it in a different way
Accept that some things you can’t change and don’t try to control the uncontrollable
Keep fun and enjoyment in your life by doing things that you enjoy and are relaxing or fun
Lack of sleep and stress cycle
When you feel stressed and anxious you may also find it difficult to get enough sleep. Unfortunately continuously being sleep deprived reduces your ability to manage stress. Lack of sleep also makes it more difficult for you to concentrate. This combined with tiredness decreases your ability to perform well at work, leading to mistakes or poor performance, which can unfortunately lead to more stress. If you have become used to feeling tired all the time, you will be amazed by how sharp and alert you feel once you start regularly getting a full night’s sleep.
Some tips to help you get a full night’s sleep:
You may have got into a habit of working up until you go to bed, think you are tired, but find once you get there your mind is still racing. Give your mind time to unwind by not doing anything mentally demanding several hours before you go to bed
Try to do a relaxing activity such as reading an enjoyable and undemanding book, some yoga, or meditation and try to relax and clear your mind
Write down the thoughts that are flying around your mind in a notebook so that you can address them later in the morning
Try to go to bed the same time every night so that your mind and body get use to the predictable routine of sleep
Avoid caffeine after 4pm as this is a stimulant that can disrupt your sleep
Avoid excessive alcohol. Although you may think that it is a sedative that will help you sleep, it often disrupts the quality of your sleep
Exercise as a stress reliever
Getting involved in some regular fun physical exercise is one of the best stress relievers. Exercise improves the blood flow to your body and brain, increasing the availability of essential nutrients and helps your body more quickly remove toxins. Exercise also decreases stress hormones and releases positive feeling endorphins into your body which make you feel happy. Research has found that those who exercise regularly have less of a physical response to stress. This means that exercise can actually help increase your body’s ability to cope with stress and provide you with some protection against feeling stress in the future.
Exercise is also a great outlet for frustration that often builds up when you are feeling stressed. Sometimes just doing exercise takes your mind off what was causing you to feel stress and gives you some time out. Exercise also generally involves changing scenery which can help distract you from what was causing you stress giving you time to unwind.
Therapy and medical treatments
Sometimes you may need some help from a professional with managing your stress, particular if your stress is causing you high levels of anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress management therapy can also help you identify your stressors, adapt your response to stress and give you someone to talk to. Stress management therapy focuses on how you think about stressors, provide you with techniques to manage your stress include conflict resolution, relaxation techniques, time management and help you feel more positive about your life.
There are also medications that can be prescribed to reduce stress that your doctor can talk to you more about.
Recovery from stress
It’s good to know that recovery from stress is possible with the right treatment. Did you realise research has shown that the relationship between you and your counsellor is one of the most important elements for a successful outcome? How do you know if the counsellor you find will be the best fit for you?
Select Counsellors provides a unique client counsellor matching service to ensure you see the right counsellor for you, first time. We have a pool of highly trained Sydney based counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists and will match you with the right therapist based on important information collected in a personalised assessment about you and your needs. At Select Counsellors our key priority is Finding you the One. To book an assessment click here or call on 1300 123 680 to speak in person with a Select Counsellor.
Click on the links below to find out more information on stress:
The Helpful Guide