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How to deal with stress

How to deal with stress
This time of year always seems to be one of the most stressful, doesn’t it? Busy schedules, lots to do, travelling, getting to the shops, visiting family and friends, and the rest. Lots of us can add coping with health issues to the list as well.

I’ve certainly felt that this last week so I thought it would be a good time to offer some tips on how to deal with stress.

1. Prioritise yourself

I’ll never forget a first aid course I went on. The first thing they taught us was “save yourself before anyone else”. This really stuck with me; you can only be effective and help others if you are in good condition. Particularly in stressful situations, it can be easy to forget about yourself, so plan to ensure that doesn’t happen. Schedule some me time. Read a book. Take a walk. Watch a movie. Even, just stare into space. Whatever it is that recharges you make sure you do it. It’s much easier to deal with stress when you’re at your best.

2. Ask for help

Everybody can deal with a certain amount of pressure, but everybody also has a limit. It doesn’t always feel like it, but it’s a sign of strength to know when to share the load. You might be surprised to find out how many people are (usually) happy to help. The thing is that people aren’t very good at noticing when somebody needs help; don’t forget, they’ve probably got just as many distractions. Don’t wait for someone to notice you need a hand. Ask. When things quieten down for you, you’ll be able to return the favour.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff

It’s easy to get caught up in all the details, and they can be completely overwhelming. You can take pride in your attention to details, but constantly remind yourself what’s really important and what’s just nice to have. For instance, it might be really important for you to have your family all together, but it’s just a ‘nice-to-have’ to have matching plates. Trust me; you’ll enjoy each other’s company just as much even if the napkins aren’t folded quite right.

4. Learn to say no

In many ways, this is my top tip for how to deal with stress because it’s easily overlooked. There’s a difference between pressure and stress. Lots of people strive under pressure, but there’s never a good amount of stress.
Sometimes, you have to say no to things. Even if you don’t want to. A schedule that’s too full will be stressful no matter what it’s filled with. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Don’t forget tip 1; plan some me time.

Why not let me know how you deal with stress in the comments or drop me an email. There are lots of other methods you could apply, but I won’t overload you; that would be counter-productive! If you can apply these four simple tips then you will be less stressed and get more enjoyment out of any month of the year.

So here’s to wishing you all a peaceful, happy and stress-free December.
Merry Christmas from Inge Dowden

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