Stress Down Day (Friday 24th July) aims to encourage Australians to have fun with family and friends in the hope of reducing stress levels. It’s an easy and fun initiative that highlights the impact that stress can have on our everyday lives.
Research completed by the Australian Psychological Society last year shows that 90 per cent of Australians need to stress less. 74 per cent of people reported being stressed at work and one in four Australians reported moderate to severe levels of distress. Younger adults (18-25 and 26-35 year age groups) continued to report much higher levels of stress and distress compared with older Australians.
Stress is almost inevitable in today’s world but here are some helpful hints and tips to lead a more balanced and stress free life.
1) Get moving!
It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but exercise is one of the best things to do to improve your mood and reduce stress. The trick is to find what suits your lifestyle and daily routine. Gentle repetitive exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga are great when it comes to relieving stress.
Hobbies that focus attention onto other things are also good stress relievers. Take up a new activity unrelated to current work or personal commitments - activities that give a sense of achievement and satisfaction are best. Set aside time each day to fit in a stress relieving activity, this should become a priority in your life not just an optional extra.
2) Identify your stressors
Identify the causes of stress. More than one in five Australians reported mental health issues as a source of stress. These stressors related to both external and internal factors including workplace pressures, family issues and problems related to personal finance. Once you have identified the triggers, you will find they are much easier to manage.
3) Work out your priorities
Start your day by writing down your main concerns, prioritise them and tackle each challenge one at a time. Make your tasks achievable and tick each one off once complete. It is a great way to focus your energy on each single task and once complete you will feel a sense of achievement and progress.
4) Practice saying no
Sometimes we become ‘yes’ people –‘yes I will get that done, not a problem,’ when really our stress levels are soaring and we should have said no. If you are already feeling overloaded, think hard before committing to other people’s needs and expectations. Remember you can always say, ‘I’m sorry I can’t do that right now I am just too busy.’ No is not always a bad thing.
5) Take your time
We could all learn something from the saying, ‘slow and steady wins the race’, by slowing down and going at our own pace. Most of the time working slowly but consistently will achieve more than becoming over-stressed and frantic.
During Stress Down Day take a moment for yourself, relax and just have fun. Stress unfortunately is an inevitable part of everyday life so when it happens reflect, breathe and follow some of these useful hints to help get you through your stressful moments.