An innate behaviour, stress is your body’s way of responding and defending you against pressure, threat, and danger. It is often triggered by a situation in which we are unable to control or predict.
Everyone will experience stress at times, and sometimes this can be overwhelming. It’s important to understand that stress is wholly subjective, and one person’s response to a difficult situation may not be the same as another person’s.
In light of National Stress Awareness Day, we have spoken to various people across Price Bailey to understand how they effectively manage their stress, and are sharing techniques that we hope will help you manage your stress more efficiently.
The majority of the time, stress is not simply ‘black and white’. But rather, it is an amalgamation of difficult situations and events inside and/or outside of work that can cause this feeling. If work is causing you to feel stressed, then often this will negatively affect your life outside of work, and vice a versa.
What are stress management techniques?
The key to managing your stress is to ensure that you take steps to keep it at bay before it becomes too overwhelming. Having effective stress management techniques will enable you to combat stressful situations and contribute to a healthier and more productive lifestyle. There are many beneficial techniques to try, and below we outline 3 key techniques that you can try today.
- Identifying what triggers your stress
The first step to managing your stress is to identify what situations and/or events appear to make you feel stressed. If you know your triggers, then you can prepare for them. Take the time to think about what makes you stressed, or confide in someone you trust. Some questions to consider when thinking about your triggers, include:
- Are there any repetitive situations that occur that cause me to feel stressed?
This could include, paying a bill, juggling too many family commitments, a lack of sleep, meeting new people, or simply having too much work on at once.
- Are there any one off events that make me feel stressed?
Moving house, a death or illness of a relative or friend, organising an event such as a wedding or a funeral, divorce, redundancy, or starting a new job are all triggers that can cause people stress.
- Are there any ongoing situations or events that contribute to my stress?
This could include, family arguments, a change in work dynamic, supporting others or needing support at home, or ongoing work projects.
- Is there anything you are worried about that may happen again?
A bad experience previously may make you worry that the same will happen in the future.
Even if you identify the events or situations which make you stressed, the chances are you will not be able to predict every stressful situation – and that is ok. Stress may creep up on you when you are least expecting it, but being able to recognise you are stressed in unpredictable situations and coping with it is extremely important.
2. Organising your time effectively
Organising your time is a positive habit to have, not only in your work life, but also outside of work too. There are plenty of time management apps to help you organise, but for some you may find it equally as beneficial to organise your time by hand with the help of pen and paper.
Some things to consider to help you organise your time, whether inside or outside or work, include:
- Knowing where you’re currently spending your time
How are you balancing your work/life balance? Keeping track of where you spend your time will help you realise how much you can feasibly accomplish in a day, be careful not to overestimate how quickly you can complete a task – allowing yourself more time than you need will account for external factors that may cause your schedule to change.
- Create a weekly/daily schedule
You may be the type of person that takes each day as it comes, or you may want to plan ahead. Either way, creating a schedule will allow you to see your tasks for the day, and in turn stick to what you have created.
- Prioritise your time
Do you have tasks that are more pressing to complete? The ability to prioritise by; deadline, value of the task and urgency is important when deciding what you need to put first. Mastering prioritising will enable you more headspace to focus on the present and what needs to be achieved, and it will also ensure you do not fall down the pitfall of juggling too much at once.
- Knowing when to say no
Whether you have been asked to go out with friends for a meal or take on a new project at work, which realistically you are going to struggle to find time for, then learning to say no is vital in organising your tasks. When saying ‘no’ you should be assertive and not aggressive, perhaps providing the person who has asked with an alternative option.
3. Improving your work-life balance
Often we feel like there’s not enough time in the day to do everything we want. You have responsibilities, both inside and outside of work, your work hours may have increased, or you may have people that are dependent on you. An unhealthy work-life balance is one of the many factors that may cause you to feel stressed. So, how can you find an equilibrium between your career and your personal life?
- Prioritise your overall health
Your emotional and physical health should be your first priority. If you acknowledge this and care for yourself, then you will become both a better person and employee/employer. You will likely find yourself to be happier and more productive. Simple activities such as going on a daily walk or talking to a friend will likely make a big difference to your overall health.
- Setting boundaries
It is easy for the lines between work and your personal life to blur. Maybe you have a quick look at your emails during the weekend or annual leave, or can’t help but reply to a Teams message out of your normal working hours.
Having a weekly/daily schedule, and prioritising your time, will aid in ensuring the boundaries between your work and your personal life are more clear, as it will help determine when you will and will not be working.
Informing your team and manager of your boundaries will help them in respecting your approach, and vice a versa, if you sometimes find your personal activities get in the way of fulfilling your potential at work, then be sure to inform your friends and family of your boundaries.
No matter your stress triggers, it is important to bear in mind that the causes and effects of stress are different to everyone, and whilst sometimes a small amount of stress can spur us on to complete tasks and help us to feel more energised, at other times, it can have a negative impact or our work and personal lives.
Being able to identify these negative times, and preparing for them is an effective way to manage your stress. Both organising your time more efficiently and ensuring you take steps to create a better work-life balance will contribute to a more productive and positive outlook.
We always recommend that you seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before taking any action. The information in this article only serves as a guide and no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.
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