Chill out! Stress management tips

Published October 7th, 2015 - 08:50 GMT
Is overwork or understimulation contributing to your stress? (Shutterstock)
Is overwork or understimulation contributing to your stress? (Shutterstock)

Is work stressing you out? Has stress become a routine part of your life? That needn't be the case. The Middle East's #1 job site Bayt.com has identified some effective stress-busting techniques which incorporated into your routine should enhance your emotional well-being and improve your performance both on and off the job!

Breathing Exercises

One way in which stress often manifests itself is in feelings of panic which in turn result in disrupted breathing patterns. You may feel like you simply can't get enough air and that your breathing is very shallow. If you are having breathing difficulties, remedial action is definitely in order.

Yoga is an excellent way to regain a feeling of balance and control and regulate your body and emotions. Many yoga techniques in addition to generating an overall feeling of peace and relaxation also tone the body and add to its flexibility. Some yoga classes actually provide quite a robust work-out. There are many yoga techniques so enjoy experimenting with different ones until you find the one that really works for you.

Meditation and simple breathing exercises you can do from your desk can also help. Effective meditation can clear your mind and allow you to enter a realm of profound relaxation where your body and heart can begin healing from the adverse effects of stress.

Set aside a special time and place either at home or in the privacy of your office. Clear your mind of all its worries, imagine your mind is a clean white slate and focus on a warm bright light (or object) and breathing slowly and deeply in and out in regular counts of 5. In the midst of panic attacks, lying down on the floor and placing your hands on your stomach as you breathe in and out at regular counts also helps you regulate your breathing as you feel your stomach expand and contract every time you inhale/ exhale.

Remember, many people react to stressful situations by holding their breath which adds to that feeling of heightened stress and discomfort as their body tries to come to terms with its diminished oxygen supply. That feeling that you simply can't get in enough air may be a signal that you are actually breathing in too much air in panic and forgetting to exhale.

Diet

Is your diet rich in all the wrong things? Do you pile up on the sugar for energy in the mornings and spend the rest of the day fighting sugar withdrawal symptoms which can include feelings of depression and general heightened anxiety? Do you drink too much coffee and end up with more 'buzz' than you can possibly channel in a positive direction? Are you malnourished because of a general fashionable preoccupation with being thin and as a result feeling weak, lethargic and drained? Or maybe you're overeating and ending up feeling slow and unhappy with yourself?

A balanced diet is your first step to general physical and emotional health. No amount of stressbuster techniques can make up for a diet lacking in essential requirements. Emotional health is often symptomatic of underlying physical problems so make sure you start out by treating your body right and giving it the nutrients vitamins and minerals it deserves. Aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day to help detox your body and keep the circulation going.

Exercise

Another way to treat your body right and vastly improve your emotional well-being is physical exercise. Exercise helps you look and feel young and full of energy! Try to incorporate regular exercise at least twice a week into your routine. There are so many types of exercise out there that being 'unathletic' is no excuse! For those who don't like to rollerblade or jog or do pump aerobics, a brisk 45 minute walk can do wonders as can skipping rope, a low-impact toning class or a wonderful revi talising swim.

Formulate an exercise plan that works for you and vary it to keep it interesting. The emotional high you get from exercising is immediate and for most moderately strenuous aerobic or muscle-building programs, you should start to notice physical results too after about three weeks providing you stick to a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine of three times a week.

Aromatherapy

After a long day's work in a highly stressful environment, if you are too drained to do anything at all, aromatherapy may be just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate and unwind. Aromatherapy involves using the sense of smell to heal and restore physical and mental harmony. Essential oils for aromatherapy are generally available in cosmetic as well as health food stores. Essential oils based candles, soaps and bath salts can also do the trick.

One of the most common and well-known healing oils is lavender which is well-known for its soothing and relaxing qualities as well as its antiseptic abilities. Other relaxing oils include cinnamon, lemon balm and geranium. For general mood enhancement, chamomile, clearly sage, marjoram and rosemary are very effective. Thyme, peppermint, frankinsence and citrus scents such as orange, lemon and grapefruit can also act as stimulants. Ginger, sandalwood and jasmine are known to have aphrodisiac qualities.

Talk Therapy

This really works. Find someone to talk to about your work problems and stresses. This will help you see things in more perspective and even if the person isn't able to provide constructive advice, you will benefit from an objective party's viewpoint on the situation.

You can talk to a professional for really effective advice - either a career counselor or a psychologist or a veteran in the industry. Professional talk therapy can be remarkably effective in helping you see and shed bad habits or thinking patterns and resume a positive direction in your life. Alternatively, a friend or family member who will not provide unwarranted criticism and impose their own needs can be an effective sounding board. Ideally, try to a mentor who will be a good sounding board as well as a source of wisdom and strength.

Music

Much has been written about the advantages of music in soothing and calming the nerves. Classical music has been found to have positive effects even with newborn babies and toddlers.

Experiment with different types of classical music to find something that works for you. You may prefer to unwind with Italian opera music, German piano concertos, a Tchaikovsky ballet or some Chopin and Mozart waltzes. Visualize the music and let your mind completely wander off with the notes as your daily worries slip away.

Classical music is not the only way to unwind. Arabic or any local music, slow pop music, jazz or a top-of-the-charts album can be just as effective for many. Whatever the music type you enjoy, try to lose yourself in the rhythm and really let your worries slip away for the duration.

Creative Endeavours

Does your job leaving you feeling bored and unfulfilled? It may be your creative impulses that are not being stimulated. Oftentimes, taking up a creative endeavour can do wonders to channel your negative vibes and giving you a sense of fulfillment and centredness.

Writing in a journal, writing fiction, drawing, sculpture, baking, experimenting with cooking techniques, decorating, arts and crafts for the home, music, photography are all means to channel and challenge your creative impulse. Remember, the goal is not to replicate Rembrandt or Wagner, you are merely venting artistic energy and trying to make the art that makes you happy.

Hobbies

Take up a hobby that will add a new dimension to your life and allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment and joy quite distinct from your professional life. Find something you really enjoy or have always wanted to do or learn. Remember, you are never too old to start something new.

For some, a class in oil painting or pottery may be just the outlet they need for their creative impulses after a long day in a staid job. Others may require a hobby that stimulates their intellect such as an archaeology or chess club or a language class. Exercise is always a good thing to add to your hobby list whether it be fencing, kickboxing, swimming, joining a football club, squash, tennis or whatever. Sewing, stamp collection or art appreciation clubs provide a tranquil setting for the release of your daily frustrations.

There are many many options for hobbies to pursue and you are bound to find at least one that interests you and s logistically feasible. Make the time to pursue your hobby and make sure your hobby makes you happy and fulfilled.

Holidays

Needless to say, a holiday does wonders for your emotional health. While most of us would love an exotic getaway to our location of choice, holidays need not entail a suitcase, an airline ticket and a huge expenditure. After a really stressful month, checking into that delightful 5 star hotel down the road for the weekend may take all the energy and time you can muster and may be just as effective!

Stress-busting holidays nearby include very cost-effective yoga weeks in exotic rural locations in Asia, roughing it in shacks on the riverbanks in Thailand and desert treks where you can camp among the dunes and experience a different face of nature. In addition there is the usual assortment of sinfully delicious European spas which are not too far to enjoy and are almost guaranteed to make you come back as sharp, shapely and polished as a gem.

This article originally appeared in bayt.com.

This article and all other intellectual property on Bayt.com is the property of Bayt.com. Reproduction of this article in any form is only permissible with written permission from Bayt.com.

 


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