Time management expert
A Southern Cross Health Society survey found that six in 10 New Zealanders feel stressed at least once a week, with this reducing to four in 10 among those aged 50 plus.
The survey also revealed that financial and work related issues stress out younger Kiwis, while their older counterparts are more likely to be stressed by health/potential health issues. And apparently females are more likely to be stressed for more than half the working week.
We all intellectually know that stress is something to try and avoid, yet when we’re caught in the spiral of it, changing our state seems near impossible. So, what can we do about it, apart from feeling depressed at what is apparently an increasing trend?
The tips following are not designed for very extreme cases, but might be helpful if you’re dealing with lower-grade stress or burnout.
Listen to and observe your body
We all have a weak spot. For some it will be a sore back, or shoulders, or an old injury that starts to ache. For me it was an internal sense of shakiness – not visible to the casual onlooker. Some (mainly women) will burst into tears at inappropriate times. Others will get angry.
For as long as necessary, cut back on as much as you can. For most, the easiest way to decide this is to make a written list of the tasks on hand – trying to do it in your head is too confusing. There will almost always be something you can defer, delegate or just stop doing.
Ask for help
Clarity and common sense are typical casualties of stress and burnout. You might have to ask someone else to help you if you can’t see the wood for the trees. Or you might give a family member or colleague permission to call you on marker-post behaviours.
Tidy up your environment
An overload of paper, information or clutter is stressful. In my experience, the fastest stress-reducer in town is to sort out your office (and/or any other environment you work or live in.)
Take regular power naps
I’ve often written about this, as have many others. It’s the fastest way to claw back energy and productivity, counter-intuitive as it sounds.
Take time out
About every six to eight weeks have a ‘do nothing’ weekend (or a few more days if possible) away from any stress-creating situation. Don’t do anything looking remotely like work. Do nothing! You’ll be amazed how refreshed you feel at the end of the days off.