As we approach the holiday season, we know how stressful things can become in the office and at home. Here’s a small guide and an infographic to help you stomp out stress.
Wake up, start the ragtag ‘to-dos’ you know have to finish. Bathe and dress before you get the kids ready for school. Scrub the house (and yourself) again quickly before you rush out the door only to sit in traffic. You answer the phone at work to discover it is your children’s school. Your littlest one is sick and you’re backlogged with assignments. Or maybe it is your significant other who texts you out the blue and out of sheer frustration because you are hardly ever at home.
Everywhere you turn stuff seems to come no matter how you hard you try to handle it. None of us is immune to rigors of stress and there are tell-tale signs our minds and outer worlds reflect back to us that show us why.
Stress is part of nature’s way of life. The same energy that compels us to run or flee when we sense imminent danger or peril can be redressed as a jump-off point to begin our most creative work. Stress can serve as our impetus to complete projects in record time.
When there are more projects and laundry lists to attend to than there are hours in a work day, managing stress is more than necessary: stress management is crucial to ensuring our well-being.
Stress in our bodies
Our bodies are designed to respond to stress as a means of survival. The stressors that affect us in both our outer worlds and our inner worlds impact us directly whether we are aware of them or not. The body releases a hormone called cortisol to assist with systemic functions when stress occurs. Cortisol presence peaks in the A.M. The hormone helps us “wake up” so we can start our day. The hormone can continue to peak however when greater periods of stress are experienced throughout the day.
Ever feel foggy while trying to finish up a task? The “brain fog” may happen as a reaction to elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is an adrenal-derived hormone that influences immune system function and brain function. Chronic levels of the hormone can affect the hippocampus area of the brain which translates our thoughts and stores them as memories.
“The hippocampus… contains many cortisol receptors. While normal cortisol levels have no adverse effects on the hippocampus, excess cortisol overwhelms the hippocampus and actually causes atrophy,” reports the Dartmouth Journal of Science.
Life happens. With so many tasks and worries to sort throughout a day, how do you find a sense of balance that releases life’s pressures..?
Don’t cope with stress—manage it!
Project management tools help us sail through the tasks and the full-throttle assignments we meet head-on daily. When we can check our workflow on a week-by-week or monthly schedule; project assignments become measurable. We observe our progress and we feel a sense of accomplishment, while we move closer to completing our targets and goals. However it is just as easy to have our lives fall out of balance when projects demand our complete attention.
Paying attention to the stressors that cause us to feel anxious or worried is a productive endeavor. When you can pinpoint a stressful event, there is a unique opportunity to do something about it. Managing stress is entirely doable when you lighten you day with some simple practices.
1. Dress up your diet
Living in a fast-paced world can lead to choosing a less-than-healthy diet. Try to include a helping of leafy greens and vegetables which can bolster the body biochemical processes.
2. Rejuvenate, relax
It is easy to push your needs aside and help others accomplish the things they need to have done. Remember to put yourself on the list and do for yourself too. Spend 15 minutes a day and take a moment to just “be.” Running on empty will be replaced with a feeling of invigoration. You deserve it.
3. Spend time with friends
Sharing time with friends can prove to be challenging when your world is hectic but spending precious moments with a friend or a confidant can relieve the pressures of busy day. Individuals who enjoy a sense of community have a more positive outlook on life and about happiness. “If you see a happy person, you have a 25 percent chance of becoming happy too,” says, Discovery Health.
4. Seek professional guidance if you need
Sometimes an experience causes personal discomfiture. A knee-jerk reaction is to try to hold in your emotions when the event is traumatic. Be open to discussing the situation with a counselor or with an experienced professional. Many work environs have on-site counseling, or you might make a trip to a community college or city government clinic to vent your concerns. Feeling healthy is important to living healthfully.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Use them to the fullest. Squeeze in some humor during the day and add a little fun to life. Research on laughter has estimated that laughing 100 times can give your body the same workout as exercising on a rowing machine for 10 minutes or pedaling on an exercise bicycle for just 15 minutes.
“Laughing helps decrease stress hormones [by] boosting your immune system,”
Says Michael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine. “Go on,” Roizen adds, “yuck it up.”
There are things we may not be able to change when stressful events arise, but there are steps we can take that can help us manage those events and they can help us feel refreshed and rejuvenated — instantly.
Download our Infographic as a handy reminder about the ways you can de-stress and enjoy a healthier day.
To your health!
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