It’s finally 6 pm and it’s time to get back home after a long day at the office and BAM! Suddenly someone decides to give you extra work and expects you to finish it before you leave. Stress! When you finish your work, you leave and get stuck in the evening traffic jam plus, you missed dinner and you are super hungry. More stress! Finally you are home. You open the door to a messy and disorganised space, like the hurricane just flew in a moment ago. MAJOR STRESS ALERT.
Yes, we all have been there at some point in our lives, if not regularly. I think many of us understand the feeling when you get overwhelmed between juggling work, family and other commitments. According to the latest online survey by global workplace provider Regus, 70 percent of Malaysian workers are reporting more stress-related illnesses due to challenging global economic conditions. This concern has also gone international, for instance Japan has a culture of long working hours which can go up to 90 hours a week when the basic workweek is only 40 hours. So many young people have died from overworking, to the point the epidemic has its own name, “karoshi”, which literally means “overwork death” in Japanese.
In the fast-paced world we move in, managing stress well is a crucial survival skill. When your stress level is kept low, it can help you build and maintain good health, strong relationships, and live a better life. Here are some tips on doing just that;
1.Exercise your stress away
Working out regularly is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Workouts in the mornings will energise your body and make you more focused at work or study, due to the blood flow. In the evenings, jog your thoughts away or let all your frustrations out towards a punching bag. These exercises can help channel your energy into something productive for your body, so ready your trainers and rumble on!
2.Take a break
Always remember to stop when things get too hard to handle and take a short break. You need to plan on some real downtime to cool your mind. I remember whenever I felt overwhelmed during university, my dad would advise me to go out and spend some time with friends. I would worry that it would be a waste of time, but truthfully after a good time with them, I got a better hold of myself and stress wasn’t in the picture anymore. If spending time with people isn’t your thing, you can meditate, listen to your favourite music or just spend some time to say a prayer for the spirituals.
3.Talk about Your Problems
Opening up about issues that bother you to family members, friends or your therapist can help give your mind peace. Most Malaysians find it hard to express how they feel about the issues they are going through due to being scared of judgments from friends and family. Also not to sound crazy, but self-talk – the act of talking to yourself – can reduce stress, provided if it’s positive and not negative. Always keep a positive outlook on life and know that you are not alone.
4.Organise your work
Managing your time well is probably one of the best ways to reduce stress. For example, if you have a meeting scheduled at 10 am, do wake up earlier and take your time getting ready, making sure you’re well-prepared. Show up in the vicinity 10 to 15 minutes earlier, just to calm yourself. Also know how to delegate your work in order to avoid bringing incomplete work home. You can always start by listing down your tasks, and plan possible solutions systematically.
5.Eliminate stress triggers
The saying “you asked for it” is true, in this case. If you know a certain person or something causing or adding stress in your life, see if you’re able to ditch them, or at least reduce them. IT might sound less thoughtful, but it’s your mental health we’re talking about. Figure out what are the biggest causes of stress in your life, do something about them and you’ll never have to worry about the same things over again.
Hopefully, some of these tips could help you in achieving a stress-free (or less stressful) life. I’ll end with a quote from Valerie Bertinelli that says, “there’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether to let it affect you or not.” What are some stress coping mechanisms that have helped you? Share with us.