Courtesy of Smithjhon

Stress is a well-known factor in life that you can’t avoid, but there are ways to manage it so you don’t burn out and become physically or mentally unwell.

Firstly, you need self-awareness in relation to physical symptoms (tight neck, back pain, tiredness stomach ache etc), behavioural symptoms (emotional eating, fist clenching, overthinking, alcohol abuse etc), emotional symptoms (irritability, low mood, easily angered, boredom, crying etc), and cognitive symptoms (constant worry, an inability to make decisions, difficulty with problem solving etc).

Secondly, identify where your stress is coming from. For example, do you have limited family support? Are you in a location that is remote and far from services? Do you find little purpose in your work? Are you overburdened with responsibilities? Do you have a worrier-type of personality?

Once you identify the origin of the stress, work out what you need to do next. You might need to talk to someone, do relaxation exercises, enlist others’ help, or seek professional help.

The ACE Model by Egger et al (2008) state that you need to:

Analyse – be aware and identify where the stress originated from.

Change – if you can change the stressor, do that. You could reduce the stressor, delegate the situation to others, discuss it with others, or reframe the situation (change your thoughts to less negative ones) so you don’t respond as badly to the stressor.

Evaluate – assess how well your strategy worked by monitoring the impacts.

Stress Management Strategies

  • Slow and deep breathing
  • Have a massage
  • Dance or do exercise
  • Engage in tai chi, yoga, or Qigong.
  • Access your creativity
  • Work out how to have more work/life balance
  • Increase your personal clutter or be more organised.
  • Communicate or debrief with others.
  • Do meditation or mindfulness.
  • Engage in positive thoughts or emotions.
  • Self-talk – using calming or peaceful words.

Generally speaking, stress management is doable. You can use the ACE model and use a range of strategies to minimise stress. Maybe a Wellness Coach can help.

Please leave a comment below about how you manage your stress levels.