by Timo Topp
Stress is like a silent assassin. You don’t see it coming or know that it is there, but it has you in a headlock, and before you know it, you’re on the mat. It has been stated that stress is the cause of 90% of illnesses.
Your body tells you how well you are doing. You just need to be more aware of the signals it is sending you. They start off as minor warning signs, but if left unchecked or ignored, they progress to more serious health issues and ultimately life-threatening problems. You can manage your stress to feel and perform at your best with simple strategies performed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Daily strategies to minimize stress simply mean following the basics of health:
- Drink plenty of water and limit coffee to two cups
- Be more conscious of better breathing and breathe deeply into the abdomen, not just the upper chest
- Eat healthy, fresh food instead of processed, quick, convenience food
- Keep active – walk more and move more throughout the day
Invest a small amount of time in nurturing yourself and prioritizing some downtime:
Monthly and beyond
- Exercise three to four times per week for 30-40 minutes
- Make a commitment to turn off your phone and emails at a set time each day
- Have one complete work-free day, e.g. Saturday
- Make time for friends and family, and make it equally as important as a work meeting
- Have a laugh – watch a funny movie or TV show
- Get outside into a local park for sunshine and fresh air
Schedule your ‘me plan’
- Once a month, get a massage/bodywork treatment
- Pursue a pastime that is purely for fun as opposed to achieving or attaining something
- Once a month, get out into nature for a day to walk on the beach or hike in the woods
- Every 90 days, get out of town for a long weekend
- Once a year, have a holiday for two weeks or more
The key to managing yourself and handling stress is to prioritize ‘you’ by developing a ‘me plan’. This is a plan that includes a selection of the strategies mentioned above. Don’t just leave it to chance; book the strategies into your schedule like any other important appointment. If something comes up, reschedule it. Isn’t that a worthy investment for a significant return?