Dealing With Stress

How To Deal With Work Stress

Who isn’t stressed at work these days? Whether it’s the people you work with, your work load, long hours or wanting a better job in an unstable job market, it’s no wonder that most of us dread Mondays the way we do.

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So, how can we effectively deal with work stress? Follow these proven stress management techniques.

First, identify what stresses you out at work. Is it your two-faced co-worker? A lazy boss? The unbearable noise coming from the construction area beside your office? Knowing what makes you so stressed at work allows you to address and start working towards fixing the problem.

Second, recognise manifestations of excessive stress levels at work. It is normal to experience some stress from work since the pressures of responsibility are always weighing on you. However, getting burned out quickly, drinking after work, arguing with your partner and having sleepless nights are a good sign you’ve exceeded that normal stress threshold. Remember, you work to live, not live to work.

Third, take care of yourself. Restoring a positive work-life balance is key.If work is causing you to be unhappy, balance it by making the most of your non-work hours. Treat yourself to a massage after a stressful work week or.  Eat a heart diet and exercise regularly. Both methods boost your mood and outlook in life plus they ward off diseases.

Fourth, manage your time and workload responsibly. Plan in advance and prioritise your to-do list. Make a time to check and answer your email instead of constantly flicking between your inbox and other tasks. Complete projects and tick them off instead of having multiple projects on the go at the same time.

Fifth, bring a positive, healthy energy into the workspace. Don’t complain about other employees, or your boss – you never know when it could back to bite you. Turn that negative energy into positive, trying breathing techniques and smile when you feel yourself getting angry. Take a walk at lunch instead of eating at the computer. Swap your double latte for herbal tea, your mid-afternoon sugar hit with yoghurt and a handful of nuts.

September 14, 2015

Using Sex As A Simple Stress Relief Technique

While sex can be the last thing on your mind when you’re highly stressed, it may be exactly what your body needs. Stress builds up tension and a great way to get rid of it is having a quickie – or two. Preferably a quickie with a happy ending!

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Why a quickie instead of a long seductive session, you ask? Well for one, stress lowers the libido, so you probably won’t feel like going at it for too long. Secondly, all you really need to do is reach orgasm and share some body contact – this encourages the body to release positive endorphins which will help you to cope better with stress in the long-term. Finally, having a quickie when you’re stressed will actually help to improve your libido, leading to longer love making sessions and generally a better sex life.

There’s been a fair few studies on stress and sex and interestingly partnered sex is far more effective than solo masturbation. It might be the physical connection we experience with another person, or sharing mutual satisfaction with your partner during times of turmoil. It might even have something to do with the fact that both partners get some stress relief. This can make your environment less stressful as well as make your body feel better.

There’s also evidence that regular sex makes us more resilient to stress when it arises by basically acting liking a buffer when things start to go off track. You see, instead of blood pressure rising significantly in stressful situations, people who have sex more often are said to have a lowered heart rate in similar situations.

Apparently it doesn’t only effect blood pressure, but can also have a positive impact on cortisol levels. This makes sense because cortisol is also known as the stress hormone and is secreted when adrenaline arises. It’s function helps to control blood pressure and our immune system among other things.

When stress arises cortisol release can have a positive effect on memory function, pain sensitivity and gives us that kick when our body needs to get into fight or flight mode. Long-term release can be really harmful, however. It can negatively affect cognition, thyroid function, blood sugar levels, our bones and muscles, give us high blood pressure and lower our immune systems. Therefore, when stress levels remain high over prolonged periods of time it has a derivative effect on our overall health – everything begins to suffer.

Using sex specifically as a stress reliever can reduce the impact this has on our bodies. It’s also a great way to keep your body working efficiently and your household functioning better. Plus, it’s far safer than tablets, pills and potions and way more enjoyable than a trip to the GP or therapist! Try it next time stress begins to impose on your life and feel the benefits it brings to you both in the short and long-term.

Image via Mens Health

May 22, 2015

5 Ways To Fall In Love With Mondays

It’s Monday morning. You hear your alarm and you hit the snooze button. Then you hit it again. Eventually you manage to get out of bed, get dressed and out of the house. You grab a coffee on the run and start counting the days left before the weekend… Too many. While most of us are familiar with this scenario, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can fall in love with Mondays and here’s how.

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1. Get enough sleep

We have a good time until late on the weekends, sleep in, then stay up late again. No wonder getting out of bed on Mondays is a struggle. Treat yourself to an early Sunday night instead and you will wake up with renewed energy.

2. Have a morning ritual

Do something in the morning that helps you feel the way you want to feel – whether it’s calm and grounded or excited and wanting to take on the world. Your morning ritual could include exercise or meditation, but it can also be as simple as singing loudly along to your favourite song on the radio.

3. Schedule something fun for Monday

Why do we leave all the fun things for Friday nights? Why not have fun every day? Schedule a lunch date with a friend or a dance class after work and you will have something look forward to.

4. Appreciate your work

No work situation is perfect and it’s easy to let our attention go to all the things we dislike. If you notice yourself going down the negative spiral, stop and remind yourself of all the things you appreciate about your work, instead. Maybe you’re working on a new and exciting project. Or you have a client you always enjoy talking to. Or you get free coffee. At the very least, you have an income that pays your bills. There’s always something you can appreciate.

5. Plan for change

If none of the above ideas help you fall in love with Mondays, you probably need a change. Spend some time figuring out what’s working and what’s not working for you in your current situation. Brainstorm things you can do to make your work more enjoyable or start looking at other opportunities.

Image via Pixabay

April 27, 2015

Benefits Of Foot Reflexology

Did you know that certain reflexes found in the foot can help to stabilise the entire body?

Used for centuries all over the world, foot reflexology is a popular way to de-stress and improve circulation. Whether you are suffering from a nasty headache, experiencing monthly back pain, or simply in need of a de-stressing exercise, here are a few ways foot reflexology can help you out.

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How does it work?

Most therapists focus on stimulating the solar plexus which stores all of our excess stress. Once this sacred area is relaxed, then the entire body enters a serene state which seeks to eliminate all forms for stress.

When pressure is applied onto certain areas of the foot such as the heels are lower arch, this has a significant effect on the solar plexus. You will start to notice that stress levels have decreased, and your heart rate is beating a slower, more consistent level.

Circulation

As with all massage techniques, applying a certain amount of pressure onto one area of the body can help to improve bad circulation. This will help to clear the path inside the blood stream, and will better support the proper function of healthy tissues and organs. Massaging the feet holds great health benefits since there are so many nerves linked into this central location.

Pain management

Did you know that applying more pressure to the feet can decrease the amount of pain the rest of your body can feel? A rush of endorphins are released which help to minimise pain signals to the brain, and as a result, brings about a relaxing sensation. Next time you are experiencing a bad cramp or stomach ache, try massaging the area just below the arch of your feet to relax the entire body.

Techniques

If you want to try a few of these stress relieving techniques at home, start with these simple exercises which will surely make you feel better:

Thumb walking

A popular technique which helps to a tense feeling in the entire body. Use both hands to relax the foot, and then simply rub your thumb down the inside of both feet. This should take place from the tip of the big toe, down the length of your foot until you hit the heel.

Stroke

To improve your overall circulation, stroke the bottom of your foot with each thumb. This should be a short, fluid action which firmly applies pressure on the base of your foot. Once you reach the toes, apply less pressure since the tendons around this area are more sensitive.

Tips

Before embarking on your own foot reflexology, make sure to review some of our beginners tips which will help make the process so much more effective.

  • Drink as much water as you can before and after each massage. This will help to remove any nasties from your system, and can improve circulation.
  • Use a light oil to make the massage feel better. Never massage dry feet since the exercises won’t feel as effective, and it will only make your feet feel dry! Coconut oil is a great choice since it’s inexpensive, and melts quickly between your fingers.
  • Start off slow by massaging the top and base of your feet. Don’t apply too much pressure to areas which you’re unsure about. Even just massaging your toes, heels, and arch are enough to relax your entire body.

Image via Acupressure

February 9, 2015

How To Manage Holiday Stress

I admit I find the holidays stressful. I even secretly feel bad about it. After all, isn’t Christmas supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? Then why, instead of feeling joyful and relaxed, I want to run and hide?

Here’s my answer – I’m an introvert. While I can have fun being social, it takes a lot out of me and I need time alone to recharge, something I don’t get much of at Christmas time. Other sources of holiday stress can be taking on too much responsibilities, family members you don’t get along with, finances running low and having high expectations that don’t always turn into reality.

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Here’s the good news. If you’re feeling stressed out, you don’t need to grit your teeth and wait until the holiday season is over to take a breath. Here are some things you can do to help you feel better immediately.

Christmas, Christmas stress, holiday stress

Simplify

Often we’re running around too busy to examine if we really need to do everything we’re trying to do. You probably don’t feel that you have time to stop and simplify your Christmas, but do it anyway. You’re bound to find a few things on your schedule that you can skip and no one will notice.

Take a break

It doesn’t have to be a week-long retreat (although it would be nice). A cup of tea by yourself, a simple mediation or a short walk can do wonders, just allow yourself to stop worrying about the holidays and think about something peaceful instead.

Ask for help

As much as having people around me at all times exhausts me, there’s a good side to it.  There’s always someone to ask for help, whether you need a listening ear for something that’s on your mind or you want to leave the kids to take a few minutes to yourself.

Look after yourself

Getting lots of sleep, drinking water and taking some time to exercise can definitely help you keep in good spirit. Even if making it to the gym is out of the question, a quick stretch at home or a game of soccer with the kids can make you feel happier in no time.

Count your blessings

There’s always something good happening around you to be grateful for – a child’s smile, a reunion with an old friend, not having to get up early in the morning to go to work. Challenge yourself to look for the positives in everything and you’ll have a collection of beautiful moments by the end of the holiday season.

Image by Andi_Graf via pixabay.com

December 16, 2014

Simplify Your Holidays In 4 Easy Steps

Holidays are meant to be fun and relaxing, but for many of us Christmas is different. Too many presents to buy, too much to organise and not enough time, money and energy to do it all. Is just the thought of Christmas stressing you out? Make a change this year and simplify your holidays with these easy steps.

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1. Write a list of everything you need and want to do

Include everything – every present, every card, every social event. You might end up with a super long list, but don’t let that discourage you. Even just writing it down means that you don’t have to hold it all in your head and now you have mental space available for other things.

2. Decide on what’s important to you

How do you want to feel these holidays? How do you want the other people around you to feel? What are your values? Pick the top 3-5 things that are important to you and that you want to focus on this holiday season. Here are mine: family, creativity, giving.

3. Colour your list

You’ve already completed the hardest part of the process, now the fun begins. Grab some highlighters and pick a colour for all the things you really want to do (just thinking about them puts a smile on your face). Now go through your list and highlight them. These items are staying!

Next pick another colour. Go through the rest of the items and highlight the ones that are in line with your values from Step 2. You may not necessarily want to do them, but on some of them you’ll have to compromise. For example, spending time at your in-laws may not be your favourite pastime on any day of the year, but family is important to you, so you don’t want to negotiate your way out of it.

Everything else on your list that you haven’t coloured can go. You don’t want to do it and it’s not important to you, so cross it out.

4. Get creative with the things you don’t want to do

Now let’s go back to second group you coloured – what doesn’t light you up, but is important to you. How can you make those tasks easier for yourself? Is it you that has to do them? Can you ask for help? Can you trade tasks with your partner? Is there a simpler way of doing them? (Hint: the answer to the last question is usually ‘yes’.) Only because something has been done a certain way in the past, it doesn’t mean that it always has to be that way.

By the time you’re finished with this process, you’ll have a list that excites you and a holiday season to look forward to.

Image by condesign via pixabay.com

November 14, 2014

How To Deal With Everyday Stress

Wasn’t life easier as a kid? Piling bills, long working hours, family dramas are just a few of the many things that make modern life oh-so-stressful. But you can take control of the stress in your life, with these tried-and-true tested stress management tips:

Be realistic

Many of us are stressed out because we set unrealistic expectations. You really cannot do it all. If you feel like you have too much on your plate already, then you should think twice about taking on another responsibility. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Get plenty of sleep

Taking care of your health is an important part of stress management. Eight hours’ sleep is essential for staying healthy, for both your body and mind. If you are like a lot of people who are chronically stressed out, consider limiting your caffeine intake. You may also want to take a Valerian supplement before going to bed, which is a natural herb available at health stores.

Exercise

A busy lifestyle can leave little time for physical activity. However, you should try your best to squeeze at least 30 minutes of exercise into your routine three times a week. Exercise helps reduce stress by stimulating the release of endorphin, natural painkillers that also have a calming effect. Regular exercise will also help increase your energy. It will also help you to take your mind off of the things that are stressing you.

Eat healthy

You may want to reach for the phone and order a pizza, and open a bottle of wine after dealing with a particularly stressful day. But a healthy diet will help your body recover from stress, and you’ll feel a lot better after the junk food hangover has worn off. Start the day with a vegetable juice – this will give your body the nutrients it needs even when you do not have the time to eat a healthy meal.

Manage your finances

Because finances are a major source of stress for many people, getting them under control will make your life a lot easier. Keep track of your monthly expenses and eliminate unnecessary spending. Set a budget and try to stick with it. If you need help managing your finances, chat to your bank, a trusted friend or family member.

March 25, 2014

4 Ways to Keep Calm and Stress Less this Silly Season

Beyond the wonderful traditions of ham and family time, Christmas can also be an incredibly stressful period; over-spending, visiting relatives you haven’t seen all year and sheer panic can be as common as Christmas pudding. So rather than giving yourself a beautifully wrapped freak-out this year, here are some essential tips to help you keep your cool over the silly season.

Get a list
Come Christmas, I often end up with lists of lists, and although pedantic it’s certainly helpful. Keeping a checklist of everything that needs to be done can immensely help to calm a mind chaotic with things to do. Taking note of anything along the lines of gifts, cooking, and commitments can help keep you calm and on-track.

Start early
Getting on top of what needs to be done, even before the silly season starts, helps to avoid playing catch-up later. Getting Christmas cleaning, cards and the odd gift early means there’s less of the last-minute panic that results in your sister getting gifts from a petrol station. Covering things like Secret Santa presents or stocking up on wrapping paper and sticky tape can save you from a last-minute panic. I find it easiest to have a spot designated to ribbon, wrapping paper and cards as well as a few handy boxes of chocolates so even if you’re caught short, there’s something on hand to save on stress.

Share the load
With Nigella and the Great British Bakeoff making it look so simple, it’s easy to think we can all hand-weave baskets for our freshly-baked shortbread. In reality, between work, Christmas parties and having a life it’s super unlikely that this will happen. So rather than stressing yourself out trying to be the organic version of Delia Smith, maybe just crack on with what needs to be done without the frantic ‘flourishes’ that can so often turn Christmas into a crafty nightmare.

Even better, rope in friends and family to help out. Having people pitch in with the cooking or gift buying can remove a whole lot of angst. So share the load; after all, part of Christmas is bringing people together, and if that means handballing this year’s pudding purchases – so be it.

Accept that nothing is perfect
Yes, Aunt Dora might sit in silent fury over the way Aunt Nora eats her peas or your mother-in-law might get roaring drunk and fall asleep in the gravy, but there are always things that cannot be controlled. Rather than getting wound up, recognising that things will not always run smoothly (and sometimes go completely off the rails) is part and parcel of the holiday experience. The more you let go of the anxiety to make things perfect, the more likely they’ll go smoothly. So relax, enjoy the few days off to spend with people you care about, and eat something delicious. It’s Christmas after all.

Kate H Jones is a lifestyle and pop culture writer at Clavicle Capitalism.

December 13, 2013

Why Playing Like a Kid Can Improve Your Health

Playing like a kid and acting young can massively reduce stress levels and improve the ability to solve problems, according to recent research. Play has also been revealed as being just as important for mental and physical health as sleep, eating well and exercising – and hey, it’s a lot of fun!

Dr. Adam Fraser, evian Live Young expert and leading human performance researcher says, “Playing is not only critical for the development of the brain but also its health.

“Making time to refresh yourself through play is one of the best things you can do for your career, relationships and overall sense of wellbeing,” says Dr. Fraser.

And to show how effective playing and acting young is on our health, evian is setting up a giant backyard in Sydney’s Martin Place and Bondi Beach featuring an oversized Hills Hoist clothesline that adults will be able to swing off and enjoy the rewards of playing like a kid again.

Dr. Fraser shares top 10 ways to live young and experience the benefits:

1.       Get some friends together, go to a toy store, buy some toys and have a play date
Think play dough, finger painting, water guns! Explore an environment that felt magical as a child. It’s sure to put a smile on your face.

2.       Turn your favourite song up loud in the kitchen and dance to it
Let go of your inhibitions and just enjoy yourself without worrying what others think.

3.       Have a tickle fight
There’s no better way to ensure uncontrollable laughter that will leave a lasting smile on your face.

4.       Jump up and down until you’re out of breath
It will release endorphins that will make you feel great.

5.       Build a cushion fort in your living room
Let your creative side guide you and revisit a hobby from your childhood that always felt exciting and fun.

6.       Play in the mud and don’t stress about the dirt
This carefree activity stops you from taking yourself seriously and invites you to simply let loose without an afterthought. It can help put things into perspective.

7.       Have a pillow fight
A really fun way to recreate a much loved activity from your youth.

8.       Draw a picture and don’t worry about how good it is
This is a great way to let your creative juices flow and not think about anyone else’s opinion other than your own. Celebrate your individuality through this activity.

9.       Race a colleague up the stairs
A simple way to release endorphins and encourage a good giggle.

10.   Go to the park at lunch time and play on the swings
This effortless, fun activity will ensure you indulge your inner child and escape the stresses of daily life for a while.

The Live Young Backyard will be unveiled at Martin Place on Wednesday, September 25th from 7am until 3pm. It will then move to Bondi Beach opposite Roscoe St Mall on Campbell Parade on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September from 8am to 5pm.

What’s your favourite way to relax and have fun?

September 24, 2013