Do your day-to-day stresses sometimes get you down? When stress starts to make you unhappy and unable to handle everyday situations, it’s important to take notice. Try our tips to help you stress less, and if you have ongoing stress, seek help from a qualified professional.
When you feel stressed, try to take a moment to stop and take a breath. This simple action can help put your thoughts into perspective. Take a minute to think about your priorities, what is and isn’t in your control and concentrate on the things you can change.
Know your triggers
We all have certain ‘triggers’ that tend to make us stress more. These can include lack of sleep or being over-tired, feeling lonely, being hungry or not having eaten enough nourishing food. Know what your triggers are and find ways to remove or reduce them.
Look after yourself
Eating well, drinking lots of water, exercising, getting good sleep and enough sunshine are key to helping manage stress. Avoid using alchohol, tobacco or other drugs to cope.
Stick to a routine
Having a regular routine can help you to reduce stress. Try to stick to the same times for going to bed and waking up, meals and exercise. It's also a good idea to schedule a regular time to relax – even if it's only 15 minutes.
Did you know?
The Drugiem Group, a social networking company, conducted an experiment on their employees using the time-tracking productivity app DeskTime. They found that employees who had the highest productivity and the least stress took regular breaks - 17 minutes for every 52 minutes of work.
Connecting with a network of loved ones, if you can, can help keep you grounded in what’s important in life, making you feel happier and more productive. Spending time with friends and family will also give you a chance to share your feelings of stress and anxiety with people you trust.
Join a club
Meeting regularly with social, sports and creative clubs or a church group can also help to bust your stress and connect you with your core values and sense of purpose. Dan Buettner, author of the Blue Zones and Thrive, says joining a group that meets just once a month can have the same positive effect on your happiness as doubling your salary!
Most of us spend more than half our waking hours at work and this can be a source of stress. While not all of us are lucky enough to have the perfect job, if you can, try to find something in your day that you do enjoy and focus on it. Sometimes that may just be the feeling of satisfaction that comes from compleing a task.
If work stress is overwhelming you, schedule a time to talk with your boss to see if anything can be done. And remember not to skip your holiday leave. Taking a break from work can ease the stress and help to put your priorities in perspective.
Finances can cause a lot of stress. It may help to regularly draw up a budget with your weekly income, bills and expenses to help keep on top of your spending.
The tips above relate to getting day-to-day stress under control, which is important as studies link chronic stress to a serious range of health issues including clinical depression, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
If stress is overwhelming you it's important to seek help from a qualified health professional.
Where you can get support
Lifeline New Zealand
- A 24-hour counselling, suicide prevention and mental health support service.
- Telephone: 0800 543 354 (New Zealand)
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
- Is part of New Zealand’s national public health campaign, the National Depression Initiative. Provides help and resources for those experiencing anxiety and depression.
- Telephone: 0800 111 757
The Low Down
- Provides information and support to young New Zealanders struggling with anxiety and depression.