Finding the right balance

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Stress is a reaction to feeling under pressure. In some instances, stress can be an understandable and even healthy reaction. Excessive and/or prolonged stress, however, can become a problem. Fortunately, there are known strategies for stress reduction. With that in mind, here are three key tips on how to manage stress.

Look at your home-/work-life balance

This has long been a major issue around the world. Prior to COVID19, lengthy commutes often extended workdays well beyond recognised hours. To make the situation worse, commuter trains were notorious for being overcrowded and unreliable.  

Now, the mass adoption of remote-/hybrid-working has eased the pain of commuting. Unfortunately, it has opened the door to other problems. In particular, it has blurred the lines between home life and work life.  

There are, however, ways to address this. For example, even if you can’t have a separate office, you can dress for work and change again when your work-day is over. You can also go for a walk (or just out of your main door) before and after work. This can help to reset your mind.

Talk to somebody

No matter what your stress level, talking to somebody can help. In fact, sometimes, just verbalising your feelings can be enough to release your stress. Even if it isn’t, it can help to identify the root cause(s) of your stress and hence point towards the right path to a solution.  

The solution may be one you can implement yourself. If not, however, never be afraid to ask for help. You might be surprised at what is available once people know you need it. For example, if your stress is related to finance, you may qualify for a mental-health breathing space.

If you’re in employment, it’s generally advisable to make your employer aware of how you’re feeling. Modern employers are typically understanding of mental health issues. This is largely due to greater awareness of them and their implications. It’s also due to the practicalities of employee retention together with stringent legal obligations.

Take care of your physical health

The mind and the body are linked. This means that problems with the mind can affect the body (and vice versa). It also means that looking after your body can help you to feel better in your mind. If you’re experiencing stress, you may find that you forget to eat and drink properly. You may also find that you lack the motivation to cook.

If necessary, use your mobile phone timer to prompt you to eat and drink when you should. If you can’t be bothered to cook, then buy healthy foods that are easy to prepare. You can even get healthy ready meals although you may need to buy them from specialist retailers. If you don’t have any in your area, try looking online.

Make a point of taking at least some exercise and following a night-time routine that helps to promote sleep. Keep a journal of your eating, drinking, exercise and sleeping habits, along with your overall mood and experience of stress. This may help to identify patterns. For example, you may find that a lot of caffeine makes you feel more stressed.

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