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Thursday, June 19, 2008

10 Tips to Beat Stress

Here are 10 common-sense tips which can help you beat that stress :

1. Stop beating yourself up
You don't need to be perfect. It is OK to do work that is good enough. Perfectionists are often the first victims of stress. You don't have to excel all the time. When you take on a task, check what is expected. There is no point in writing a 24-page report when all that is needed is a brief memo. And we all make mistakes. If you give a dud presentation, write it off to experience. It does not mean you personally are a failure.

2. Stop saying yes
Don't take on more than you can handle. Be assertive. It is OK to say no to other people's demands. You just need the right technique. Try saying: 'Yes, I can do this report but that will mean I cannot make that meeting.' Or simply say: 'Thank you for asking me but I am afraid I would not be able to meet that deadline.' Let people know how busy you are. You can put a red card on your computer when you don't want to be interrupted, a green one when that's OK.

3. Stop and think
Stand back, take a few minutes to weigh up your workload and plan your day. Make sure that you don't let emergencies – like the crisis in accounts – overtake those that are more important but less immediately pressing – such as planning next year's spending. Delegate jobs where you can.

4. Stop and talk
Express yourself. It is good to talk. Communicating with other people – colleagues, friends and family – is a great way to beat stress, whether you are pouring out your worries or just passing the time of day. Talk to your boss or line manager too or, if appropriate, to anyone else at work who might be able to help, such as the human resources team. When you have a particular problem don't be afraid to seek help from others. If colleagues, friends or family can't help, try helplines where they exist.

5. Stop rushing
We all have different ways of working. Some people love to live life in the fast lane. But most of us cannot work at breakneck pace every hour of the day. If we do, our performance suffers. Build in time to unwind and reflect.

6. Stop for lunch
Take a break. Making sure you have lunch, or a mealbreak during your shift, means you get a vital rest from work demands, a chance to socialise with colleagues or friends, and ensures you eat properly too. You should aim to have a balanced lunch and try to avoid alcohol, smoking and caffeine if possible. Not eating properly – snacking on crisps and chocolate bars or binge eating at the end of the day – is a sure sign of stress and may make you ill. It is also a legal requirement that you get a meal break during your day.

7. Stop and take a walk
Exercise your stress away. The adrenaline we build up under stress needs a release. Sport and exercise – whether walking, cycling, swimming or whatever else turns you on – is one of the greatest stressbusters. It gives your mind and body a positive challenge. It is virtually impossible to think negatively while pedalling. Try it!

8. Stop and breathe
Taking a few minutes out to relax during a busy day is important. Breathing properly is a great way to do it. You can practise deep-breathing exercises from yoga or meditation. Or try this simple exercise. Sit quietly at your desk, shut your eyes and try to concentrate. Let stressful thoughts float away. Breathe in for three seconds, then out for nine. Repeat for a minute or two.

9. Stop working late
Staying healthy means keeping life in balance. Working long hours – whether that means staying late in the office or putting in extra time on shifts – is bad for your health, your performance and your family. We all need time to unwind, to be with family and friends, to have space for ourselves and to enjoy hobbies or sports that have nothing to do with work. Work smarter, not longer.

10. Stop taking work home
It is easy to feel under pressure to take work home, just because everyone else does. The culture expects it. Break the mould. We all need boundaries between work and the rest of life to keep sane. Smarter organisations are now discouraging staff from working beyond reasonable limits. Remember the motto: Work to live, not live to work.
Source :4Health

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