How Do You Manage Stress? Here are 26 Tips.

We all get stressed, life gets busy and we need to balance many different elements of our lives. Today I attended a great session at the Next Generation of Government Training Summit related to stress management. Tesha Crockett, Corporate and Community Health Program Manager, Inova HealthSource, presented during the Stress Management 101 session. The abstract for the session was, “Work can stress you out in many ways: a demanding work load, coworkers, commuting, and the list goes on. Come hear from INOVAs Tesha Crockett on how to deal with stress from your work environment and have a healthier outlook on life”

Stress is our response to external and internal pressures, whatever they might be and coming from many different actors. Not all stress is bad, eustress is described as “good stress,” while distress is “bad stress.” Crockett reviewed that when you’re under stress:

  • Heart rate increases in order to supply more blood to you muscles
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Breathing rate increases in order to supply more oxygen to your muscles

The challenge for us is finding a balance and an optimum amount of stress in our lives – not completely warn down, not completely stress free. Crockett also believes it’s important to know the indicators of stress, and know what the signs of someone being burnt-out are, which include:

  • Emotional exhaustion – emotionally over exhausted, emotional resources depleted
  • Depersonalization– negative, cynical detached response to others; may include loss of idealism
  • Reduced personal accomplishment- reduced feelings of competence and productivity at work

Some ways to manage and anticipate stress:

  • Reduce the uncertainities – ask questions to decrease anxiety, have a good idea of what to expect
  • Rehearsal – being prepared is number one
  • Reduce the importance of the event – compare your stressful events with bigger events that you have attended, don’t focus and worry about what could go wrong

A few positive coping strategies:

  1. Stay cool and relaxed
  2. Focus on the stress as a problem or task that needs to be solved
  3. Break down the stress, break down a stressor into smaller stressors and conquer individually
  4. Be self rewarding and support your efforts
  5. Eat a balanced diet
  6. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, salt and fat
  7. Maintain average weight
  8. Sleep 7-8 hours per night
  9. Exercise regularly
  10. Reduce anger/hostility
  11. Use relaxation techniques
  12. Let go of issues
  13. Practice positive self talk
  14. Assert yourself and learn to say no
  15. Find down time in between daily activities
  16. Schedule time alone to organize
  17. Review to do list and check off completed tasks
  18. Create weekly healthy menus
  19. Review mail daily – toss junk mail
  20. Make use of commute time – recharge and relax, don’t be in a hurry, time management
  21. Be aware of perfectionism
  22. Develop realistic expectations
  23. Learn to say no
  24. Keep a positive attitude
  25. Take care of yourself
  26. Maintain a strong support system

The main lesson learned for me from this session is that managing stress starts with making an honest and candid view of yourself, knowing your goals, priorities and values in your life – and then defining your life around them. This is a process where you have to hold yourself accountable, and surround yourself with good influencers who will encourage you to keep moving forward.

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Pretty good list. Thanks, Pat. Although I appreciated it, this article contains a number of mistakes and needed an editor.

Marian Henderson

I especially have to follow #5 through #9 in order to effectively manage my stress. If I’m not well-rested and feeling good physically it’s all down hill…

Priscilla Anderson

Same for me Jon! It seems like a lot and I couldn’t take the time – but Pat, I appreciate your efforts! It actually is a good reminder —