1. Get plenty of rest
Sleep is so underrated. And, yet, so powerful. For any insomniacs reading this, I truly feel bad for you. It must be awful to never achieve a good nights sleep and I hope that you manage to find some relaxing coping mechanisms that get you through. For the majority of the population, we do manage to get some sleep, but it’s still not enough. Living in the northern hemisphere the summer nights are long and unless you invest in some good blackout curtains then the nights are very, very long. Going to bed early, no caffeine after midday, electronic shutdown at least 2hrs before bed and making a concerted effort to BE in bed even if I’m not sleeping by 11pm latest helps massively. Stress happens, it’s a fact, but equipping yourself with energy and the best mood possible will ensure you’re able to deal with it and manage the impact it has on your life. A tired mind and body makes this a lot harder than it needs to be.
2. Drink lots of fluids
And by this I mean water, mainly. Just anytime you can spend drinking do it. Staying hydrated can stop you from unnecessary snacking, feeling fatigued and feeling stressed. At work, the stress may be rising but keep cool and keep things under control – go for a walk to the kitchen/staff area and drink up!
3. Phone a friend
Checking in with your nearest and dearest ensures you keep you feet on the ground and allows you to put things into context. That really stressful situation you’re going through might be solved by talking candidly to a friend. They might have been going through the same thing or can offer you advice. They might also tell you to get a grip and look at the issue in another way. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, in relaxed, chilled surroundings and shake off your troubles… it really is the simple things in life!
4. Goodbye midweek drinking, hello morning run!
Simultaneously reducing your alcohol intake and upping your physical activity can make a world of difference. It might be the last thing you want to do on a rainy morning at 6am, but getting up early and getting out for a run will boost your mood, reduce your stress levels and increase your fitness overall. It’s life’s free gym and you only have yourself to compete against. Running has changed my life. I feel fitter, happier because I’m more comfortable in my own skin and less stressed at what life throws at me. Aside from the endorphins, the running gives me an hour of space to myself to think about the day ahead and organise my thoughts. It also allows me to process any difficult situations and find solutions. Give it a go for a couple of weeks and see if you notice any difference…
5. Make lists
My life feels like a long list. Even this blog post is a list! But, seriously, if I know I’m up against a stressful day then a list can just make everything seem less daunting and more orderly. Even the illusion that I have some level of control is better than the madness of a typical day where I’m blindly trying to balance my time with work with socialising.
I find this tip particularly helpful on a Sunday at about midday when I’m starting to feel the Monday blues creep in. I grab a pen and a cute notepad – who says practical can’t be pretty! I note down under two columns the things I need to do to ensure a sane start to the week. The first column is a list for work and the second a list which covers personal life, like items I need to post, or collect and people I need to get in touch with. In addition, I give each of these items a number 1 for “priority” or a number 2 for “important but the world won’t implode if this isn’t done today” status. I try not to begin the 2s until I’ve taken a good stab at the 1s. Usually, most work items are under 1 but I still manage to squeeze in some real-life business – it’s important too!
How do you keep stress at bay?