• 10 Tips for Managing Stress in Small Steps

    Thursday, April 11th, 2024

    by Michelle Cederberg, Health and Productivity Expert

    While we usually have a good idea about what causes our stress, we don’t often take the time to really dissect it, and that can be a helpful process. To defend yourself against rising stress, consider the following combat tips:

    Recognize What You Can Change

    choices-and-responsibilityWhen faced with a stressful situation can you minimize the impact by walking away or avoiding the stress? I’m not suggesting you run away from your problems, but in some situations where the stress is ongoing and unavoidable – a difficult co-worker, a high-traffic route to the office, or an unnecessary meeting, for example – stress can be minimized by avoiding a person or place or choosing a different option.

    Set some goals regarding what you’d like to change, take small steps toward the goals, structure your time so you’re not over-scheduled, and ask for help.

    Mind Your Emotional Reactions to Stress

    The stress response is triggered by your perception of a particular situation and your ability to cope with it. You may or may not be accurate in your appraisal.

    When faced with a potential stressor, do you make mountains out of molehills? We create unnecessary stress for ourselves by anticipating stress that may or may not occur. Prepare yourself with options but focus on positive outcomes.

    Know Your Physical Reactions to Stress

    It’s true that some level of stress will always be present in your life. When it is, don’t let it run you down. When the going gets really tough try slow, deep breathing to bring heart rate and respiration back to normal. Count to ten as you do.

    Try relaxation techniques to reduce muscle tension. Listen to relaxation techniques on audio. Meditation and other mind body practices, like yoga, can also help calm the rushing mind.

    Build Your Resilience Against Stress

    eat-sleep-exerciseBecause stress impacts the physical body in so many big and small ways, one of the best things you can do to combat stress is to maintain your health and vitality. Period.

    Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals. Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, and other stimulants. Get enough sleep. Laugh more. Get regular exercise. Maintain your emotional reserves.

    When stress gets out of hand, gain support from those around you. When you’re overwhelmed the tendency can be to retreat and hide, or gloss over the seriousness of your stress. Why go it alone?

    Take Time to Work at Stress Reduction

    When it comes to managing stress, the biggest challenge I hear from audience members and clients is the lack of time and energy to slay the stress beast. If stress is high and time and energy are low, don’t wait until that changes; it won’t. You may not be able to control the stress coming in, but you do have 100 percent control over strengthening your physical body against it.

    Take small steps to boost your resilience, starting now. Try the following 10 daily resilience boosters for one week and see how you feel:

    1. Eat a healthy breakfast, preferably not on the go.
    2. Reduce or eliminate caffeine consumption, especially after midday.
    3. Drink lots of water. Skip soda entirely.
    4. Walk outside for ten minutes every day. I know you’re busy, but it’s only ten minutes.
    5. Leave work on time at least two days this week.
    6. When you feel your blood pressure rising take a few deep, slow breaths of air.
    7. Snack healthfully throughout the day.
    8. Minimize alcohol consumption. It’s only for one week. Give it a go.
    9. Go to bed one hour earlier at least two nights this week.
    10. Hug your loved ones every day, morning and night.

    (published June 21, 2012)

    michelle-cederberg-health-professionalMichelle Cederberg is a Certified Speaking Professional, Co-Active Life Coach, Health Expert and Author. With a Masters in Kinesiology, a BA in Psychology, and a specialization in Health and Exercise Psychology, Michelle combines mind, body, and practicality to inspire change! She speaks with humour and passion, and encourages her audiences to put their own health and well being back on their priority lists with a small steps approach that leaves them believing they can. These energy tips are excerpted from her new book, Energy Now! Small Steps to an Energetic Life. Learn more at www.worklifeenergy.com.