The impact of stress
We all experience stress to varying degrees in our life, and not all stress is bad for us. In fact many people find some pressure to be helpful motivation for getting things done, rising to challenges and meeting deadlines.
However, when the pressure becomes too much and you experience constant stress, this can knock your confidence and leave you feeling that you are not on top of things and unable to cope. Too much stress will have a detrimental impact on your health and wellbeing.
The Mental Health Foundation defines stress as “the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable”.
There will be times in life when we are under more pressure, and may have additional circumstances to manage such as caring for someone with an illness or a new role, creating more stress. When we experience too much stress, this can result in feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and at risk of burnout.
Stress is one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work in the UK, therefore it is really important to find ways to manage stress and minimise the impact. The good news is that there are things which you can do to reduce stress and keep the pressure under control.
Ways to reduce stress
Understand the signs – It is important to be aware when you are feeling stressed and to recognise the signs. This will help you to take action before you become overwhelmed. Notice your emotions and behaviour. Signs can include feeling irritable, missing deadlines, constantly worrying and being tired all the time.
Take your health seriously – Looking after your health is important, especially during busy times. Find ways to exercise, such as taking a short walk, get enough sleep and ensure you plan healthy meals. Make sure you engage in activities you enjoy and take time for self care.
Manage your time effectively – Be on top of deadlines by planning what you need to do, and prioritise what is most important. Managing your time well will help you feel in control, be more effective and reduce stress.
Say no to stuff – Taking on too much is a big creator of stress, so don’t be afraid to say no to a request that will add extra pressure. Consider if you really need to do everything on your list and find activities or tasks that you could drop or delegate to others. (Find out more in my blog 5 benefits of learning to say no.)
Take breaks – It is so important to stop and take time out during a busy day. Remember that taking short breaks during the day, rather than pushing through, will make you much more effective. Look ahead and plan time off for leisure and activities which allow you to rest, switch off and relax.
Connect with others – It is easy to neglect time with others, often those closest to us, when we are busy. Connecting with others is important as it will help you to stay grounded and keep a healthy perspective. Make sure you spend time with the people who matter to you and provide you with energy.
Get support – Seeking support from a loved one, friend or colleague will show you that you are not alone and will help keep things in perspective. Consider working with a coach to gain more insight and discover strategies to reduce the stress in your life. A coach will help you identify areas you would like to improve and support you to implement changes in a planned way.
Whilst stress may be part of life, it is important to recognise the difference between the type of pressure which motivates you and the stress which has a negative impact on your physical and emotional health. So be aware of the signs which too much pressure can bring.
There are things which you can do to take control and reduce stress in your busy life. Ensure that you look after yourself, manage your time effectively, connect with others and get support. By doing these things, you are more likely to prevent stress becoming problematic and reduce its impact on your life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog
My name is Diane Benson and I support busy professionals to be more effective, reduce stress and achieve a healthy balance in life. Providing clarity and focus for a more fulfilling personal and professional life.
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