Sometimes everything crowds in on us and life gets too much to cope with. It doesn’t happen overnight, it happens little by little, one thing building on the pressure or difficulty before. There are things that we can do to reduce the stress and alleviate that feeling that everything is crowding in on us.
- Recognise it. I am sometimes almost at breaking point before I realise that things have got to the point where something has to change. We need to learn to take note of the things in our lives that cause us stress and watch out for indicators that we are getting stressed.
- Ask yourself, When did it start? Knowing how it started might give a clue to what is underlying the stress. Was it one particular situation that stirred up something in us, or was it a combination of things?
- Keep a Journal. I haven’t done this for a little while, but was only thinking the other day that it would help me to recognising when stress is building. Related to this is Keep a list. Keeping a list is what keeps me going at work – this also gives the opportunity to prioritise.
- Take time for yourself. I go in phases with this, but am always better when I get time to myself and time for leisure activities and hobbies. There are times when I remember to book theatre tickets, book a meal out, take time out to go for a cycle ride, or just to practice my harp and there are other times when I forget all of that and concentrate on the immediate needs of everyone else without giving myself a break. That never makes me a better person.
- Do something that makes you laugh. Go to a movie, book tickets to see a comedian, spend time with friends who are fun, or do anything that makes you laugh.
- Exercise. Exercise is good for mood. I might not think so when I’m sitting at home trying to convince myself to get up and go to the gym, but there is a very definite feel good factor about going; and it’s scientifically proven.
- Focus on improving life. Generally we know what things we need to do to improve life – we just focus on getting everything done that needs doing, instead of focussing on making sure that we put the improvements in place.
And believe me, I am first and foremost speaking to myself.