Stress is something we all experience in our lives, whether we like it or not. It can really take a toll on our physical and mental health if we don’t handle it properly. A lot of us tend to see stress as a terrible thing that we need to get rid of, but the truth is that it can actually be beneficial in moderation. The problem is figuring out how to control it and manage it effectively. In this article, we’re going to explore six different strategies that can help you handle stress better and feel better overall. These strategies are all part of the acronym S.T.R.E.S.S., and they can help you build up your resilience, deal with tough times, and find some much-needed balance in your life.
When it comes to managing stress, prioritizing self-care is an essential strategy that cannot be overlooked. Activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough rest can significantly reduce the negative effects of stress on both our mental and physical health. In fact, exercise is a particularly effective way to reduce stress levels and improve overall mood. Whether you prefer to go for a run, practice yoga, or take a dance class, incorporating regular exercise into your routine can help you feel more focused and energized.
Healthy eating is also a crucial component of self-care. Consuming a well-balanced diet that consists of whole foods, fruits, and vegetables can go a long way in improving our overall health and reducing the impact of stress. When we’re stressed, it’s tempting to reach for comfort foods or unhealthy snacks, but this can ultimately make matters worse. By choosing nutritious foods, we can provide our bodies with the necessary nutrients and energy to thrive.
Lastly, getting enough rest is a crucial aspect of self-care. When we’re under stress, we may struggle with falling asleep or find ourselves staying up late to complete work or other obligations. However, getting sufficient rest is essential to our overall well-being, and it can help mitigate the negative effects of stress on our bodies. By prioritizing quality sleep and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, we can ensure that we’re getting the rest we need to manage stress effectively.
We all know that taking care of ourselves is important, but sometimes it can feel impossible to find the time. We’re all guilty of using our busy schedules as an excuse for neglecting our own needs, but the truth is that we need to prioritize self-care if we want to perform at our best and stay in the game. The problem is figuring out how to make self-care a priority when we have so many other obligations to juggle.
One key strategy for making self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine is to rethink your time management. Start by setting boundaries around your time and creating a schedule that includes dedicated time for exercise, healthy eating, and rest. By making self-care a priority in your schedule, you’re more likely to stick with it and make it a habit, even when life gets hectic.
It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity. Neglecting your own needs can have serious negative effects on both your physical and mental health, and ultimately hinder your ability to perform at your best. So, the next time you catch yourself using the “I’m too busy” excuse, remind yourself that you’re doing yourself a disservice by neglecting your own needs. Instead, make a commitment to rethinking your time management and prioritize self-care as an essential part of your routine.
Prioritizing self-care in your daily routine is about more than just taking care of your body and mind – it’s about building resilience to stress. When you make self-care a non-negotiable part of your day, you equip yourself with the tools you need to face life’s challenges with greater ease and efficiency. But how exactly can self-care help build resilience?
Consistency is key when it comes to building resilience through self-care. This means setting aside time each day for activities that nourish your body and mind, such as exercise, healthy eating, and mindfulness practices. So make self-care a regular part of your routine. This will allow you to establish a sense of stability that can help you stay centered and focused, even during times of high stress.
Finding activities that work for you is also essential in building resilience through self-care. Everyone has different self-care needs, so it’s important to experiment with different activities and find what brings you the most joy and relaxation. Whether it’s taking a walk in nature, practicing yoga, or indulging in a relaxing bath, engaging in activities that bring you pleasure and relaxation can help you build resilience and reduce the negative impact of stress on your body and mind.
When it comes to dealing with stress, resilience is key. And one crucial aspect of resilience is how you regulate or manage your emotions. So rather than allowing your emotions to get the better of you, you are in control. This is easier said than done, especially when you’re facing difficult or challenging circumstances, but there is a method to the madness.
Practicing mindfulness is one effective way to regulate your emotions. When you are mindful, you are in the here-and-now. You’re engaged in what’s happening around you, noticing your internal landscape like your thoughts and bodily sensations as well as the sights and sounds around you. In these moments, you let go of the past or the future. Doing so is how you can gain greater clarity and perspective which allows you to make better decisions under stress rather than be reactive.
Other techniques for regulating your emotions include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and positive self-talk. By learning and practicing these techniques, you can gain more control over your emotions and respond to stress in a more constructive way.
When you’re able to regulate your emotions, you’re better equipped to maintain a healthy perspective and respond to stress in a constructive way. This, in turn, can help you maintain a sense of balance and well-being even during challenging times. So, if you want to build greater resilience and effectively manage stress, start by practicing emotion regulation techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, and positive self-talk.
So far we’ve said that you need to take care of yourself, manage your time properly, build up your resilience to stress, and regulate your emotions. But to truly be resilient, you also need to seek out support from others. Sometimes people think that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but in fact it’s what allows us to thrive in the face of adversity. Think about it: If you had someone you really cared about who was struggling, wouldn’t you want to help them? Are you blocking others from giving you the same level of care that you would give them?
We are stronger together and certainly, connection is what allows us to be more resilient. It’s in tough moments when we feel alone that we are more prone to depression, anxiety, and burnout.
Who can you reach out to for support? Perhaps friends, family members, colleagues, and even a professional can help take some of the burden off your shoulders. There’s nothing wrong with that!
Effective stress management requires not only seeking support from others but also supporting yourself. One way to do this is by regulating your self-talk. Self-talk is the internal dialogue you have with yourself, and it can be either positive or negative. When you have a lot of negative self-talk, you can become stressed and overwhelmed, which can lead to burnout. That’s why it’s important to use the S.T.A.R.S. strategies to manage your self-talk.
Self-Affirmation: Remind yourself of your strengths, capabilities, and positive attributes. This can be a great way to build confidence and reduce stress. You can do this by creating a list of your positive qualities or achievements, and reading it whenever you need a boost.
Talk Back: Challenge negative thoughts with evidence-based reasoning and talk back to the inner critic. When you notice negative self-talk, take a step back and question it. Ask yourself if it’s really true, or if there’s another way to look at the situation.
Attitude Adjustment: Reframe the situation and focus on what can be learned from it or the potential positive outcomes. This can be a powerful way to shift your perspective and reduce stress. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a situation, look for the silver lining or the opportunities for growth.
Reality Check: Evaluate the situation and thoughts realistically, and identify any cognitive distortions that may be contributing to negative self-talk. It’s easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and emotions, but it’s important to step back and assess the situation objectively.
Solutions-Oriented: Focus on solutions rather than problems, and create an action plan for moving forward. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be easy to get stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk. But by focusing on solutions, you can break that cycle and take positive steps to reduce stress and prevent burnout.
We may not be able to avoid stress, but we can learn how to manage our response to it. With the six S.T.R.E.S.S. strategies outlined in this article, you’ll be on your way to managing your stress and avoiding burnout. Prioritizing self-care, managing time, regulating emotions, managing self-talk, developing problem-solving skills, and building a support system are your powertool box of go-to strategies for wellness. It takes effort and commitment to make these changes, but the benefits are well worth it because you’ll not only feel better, you’ll improve your productivity, relationships, and overall quality of life. By rethinking stress and taking proactive steps to manage it, we can all enjoy a more fulfilling and stress-free life.
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Dr. Sharon Grossman, AKA the Burnout Doc, is a clinically trained psychologist and subject matter expert in burnout and mental health. Associations and Fortune 500 companies hire her to be their closing keynote speaker, to help their members and executives crack the code on burnout, and create custom-tailored solutions for recovery.
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Sharon has been helping high achievers who are struggling with anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout go from exhausted to extraordinary by better understanding how their brain works and how they can design and run their programming on purpose to live the kind of life they want to live. She is the author of several books on burnout and mindset and host of the Decode Your Burnout podcast. Through her speaking, training, and coaching, she helps organizations keep their top talent.