SECRETS TO MANAGE STRESS

“I’m so stressed!” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I would never work another day in my life. Seriously speaking, stress is inescapable. How you react to it, though, is everything. Make up your mind that you will choose your responses.

I lost my father a month before my final exams. These were final exams that would determine whether I graduated or not. It was a most stressful time to say the least.

When I moved to England, after passing my exams, it took me seven months to get a job, and I was trying to plan my wedding. Stressful…

There is no one who has not been through stress, in various forms. Sometimes what constitutes stress to one person is not to another. Sometimes many little things combine to become one big overwhelming mess.

Manage stress with these tips:

1. Focus on the positive.

When my father died, I was surrounded by so much love from my friends. My boyfriend was at my beck and call encouraging me all the time. Sometimes after I spent most of my waking moments crying my friend Francisca would come and read to me in the evenings. My class representatives had a class test cancelled so that they could support me by attending my father’s funeral. I was grateful for all that. Yes my father had died, but I had good friends.

2. Connect with God.

I pray to God about things that bother me. Prayer helps you to find peace, focus your heart, get wisdom and find answers. A few years ago, I was going through a tough time with some of my relationships. I was overwhelmed at work due to a sudden surge in my workload. I developed severe heartburn that even ranitidine (Zantac) would not work on! As I prayed about it, I was inspired to read and meditate on peace verses from the Bible. As I concentrated on peace and the peace of God, an amazing thing happened. I knew what I needed to do to handle my work and the heartburn disappeared. The relationships that I was so troubled about, they came into perspective and I did not worry any longer. Eventually the people who were causing me this stress waltzed out of my life, as I refused to get sucked into their drama.

3. Take mental breaks.

Everyday, make it a point to take 15 to 30 minutes of quiet time to yourself to just do nothing. Do not plan, plot or pray. Just. Be. Quiet. So, full disclosure here, I am still working on this, but I do find that when I feel the most overwhelmed, and I pull back and take a quiet moment, I get clarity and feel better. Every few weeks or so, take a vacation. If you cannot take a vacation, do something enjoyable to create nice memories and break the monotony. Or you can take a mini retreat, even if it is just for a few hours.

4. Talk it out.

Talk things out with a trusted friend. I have friends that I can always take my stuff to. Now, this does not mean run from person to person rehearsing your problems. Some people do not wish you well, some people do not care and some people will make matters worse. Talk to trusted friends and not too many at a time.

5. Blow off steam.

There is no better way to safely blow of steam than to exercise. Run. Lift weights. Do push ups. Sing loudly (if your voice is not melodious, you may want to confine your singing to the shower). Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s happy hormones. These make you feel good in the moment as well as afterwards. Blowing off steam also serves as a momentary distraction from the things that are bothering you.

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