According to the Health, Safety and Environmy (HSE) data from 2019’s Labour Force Survey, the rate of self-reported work-related stress has been increasing slightly over the last five years. It does not surprise me as I’ve also noticed more clients talking about stress and feeling pressure at work.
So here’s a few things that I do that help me cope with situations that at times I find stressful. Hope you find them useful as well.
One way how I manage stress is by obtaining data around the physiological and physical elements stress has on my body. This biofeedback can be obtained through fitness watches (I do love my Apple Watch, I won’t lie) and also more simply through a biodot. A biodot works by providing you feedback on your body temperature and you can buy these online. If you have not used them before it’s worth getting some. They’re also great to share with clients if you are working with them on stress management.
Sleep hygiene is a key strategy to managing the physiological impact of stress. Focusing on relaxing at the end of the day by having a ritual supports me with this. For example, I have a screen-free hour before bed and listen to an audiobook or music in order to relax. It helps me in creating a sleeping pattern.
It is important for someone who is experiencing stress to also focus on their nutrition. For example, I watch my consumption of caffeine and alcohol and ensure that this is consumed in moderation. This is particularly key if someone spots that their stress levels elevates following their intake. I also focus on eating more densely nutritious food and swap fatty meats to fish and vegetables.
Relaxation methods provide another strategy in relation to managing stress. These can including physical methods (e.g. having a bath), using positive relaxation imagery or carrying out a breathing exercise. A straightforward example of a breathing technique I use can be found below, that can also easily be shared with coachees. In such a relaxation exercise the person:
– makes themselves comfortable either lying down or sitting. They can keep their eyes open or close them if they feel that this helps the relaxation
– notices the natural flow of their breath, as it goes in through their nose and out through their mouth and increasing this to extend the breathing down their belly
– gently counts to five on an in-breath then pausing their breath for one or two seconds before releasing the breath through their mouth counting to seven
– if the person is prone to imagery they can imagine the breath entering their body, filling their lungs and then leaving again through their lungs
– continuing the practice for a few minutes