If you are feeling stressed with work, or balancing work and family obligations, you may feel too overwhelmed to think about changing your situation. To feel better, try thinking about small actions you can take today. It can make a big difference.
The biggest thing remember is not sabotage yourself with bad habits like drinking, smoking, or overeating. Instead, focus on small positive actions you can take to handle everything in front of you and combat the side-effects of stress.
Exercise won’t help your stress to vanish instantly, but it will help you to reduce some of the emotional intensity that comes with it. Exercise can help you to clear your thoughts and it can also help you to deal with your stress more efficiently. When you exercise, you release endorphins and this can cause you to feel better about yourself. You’d be surprised at what a difference this can make to the outlook you have on your life.
If you’ve never exercised before, try walking around your block in the morning before you start work, or walk around a park on your lunch break. Getting outdoors can help, too.
2. Take Control
There really is a solution to every single problem. Lack of control is one of the main contributors to stress, so take a step back and figure out what you can control, and get to work taking actionable steps to change the situation.
If you are drowning in a stack of work or working long hours with few (if any) breaks, then it’s time to talk to your boss. Let him know that you want to do your best work, and you feel your current workload is not allowing you to do that. You can ask your boss to extend deadlines, or assign a coworker to help you. You can ask you boss to consider outsourcing some of the small administrative tasks that take up a good chunk of your time. The point is, have options to offer your boss so you’re not dumping your stress on him, but rather helping him help you find the help you need.
It may even be worth asking your boss if they have looked into hiring EAP providers, Peninsula Group to help give the other employees you work with the support they need as well. An EAP can make a huge difference.
3. Connect with Others
If you’re stressed, make time to do small, simple things with your friends and loved ones. Go get a pedicure with your best friend. Meet your significant other for coffee on your lunch break. If you can find just a half hour to connect with your loved ones, you will feel some stress relief.
4. Take some “You” Time
I can hear all the mothers of the world laughing at once at the idea of taking “you,” time, but it’s important when you’re feeling stressed. Find little ways to sneak in time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes. Take a bubble bath. Flip through your favorite magazine on the Zinio app, or close your eyes and savor a rich dessert.
The point is, take a few minutes to have a mental vacation. When I worked in the city, I would spend my lunch break walking around an art museum. It’s a quiet place where you can feel inspired by the creativity of others. Plus, you have to silence your cell phone, so no one can bother you.
5. Welcome a New Challenge
When you’re feeling like you can’t handle even one more thing, thinking of a new goal can be tough. But, if you can think of something that inspires you, setting a new goal can help relieve your current stress.
Try something small, like saving a specific amount of money or planning a fantastic vacation. Just the act of planning a vacation is often enough to make you feel better about life.
If things are truly bad in your current job, set a goal of finding a new one. Redo your resume, improve your LinkedIN profile, and start thinking about how great it will be to find a new job with new opportunities.
6. Give to Others
Stress can make us forget how wonderful it feels to give to others. Even though you feel like you don’t have a lot of time right now, look around you for ways you can help someone in a small way. Maybe you can pick up a neighbor’s groceries while you’re picking up your own. Maybe you can do a load of laundry for your equally stressed teenager. You don’t have to do something epic—just small, thoughtful favors are enough to help you feel less stressed and help someone else feel less stressed too.