Identify warning signs & be aware – try to identify early warning signs in your body that tell you when you are getting stressed. These may include things like tensing your jaw, grinding your teeth, getting headaches, or feeling moody & irritable, & short tempered.
Identify triggers – if you know what your likely stress triggers are, you can aim to anticipate them & practice calming yourself down beforehand, or even find ways of removing the trigger.
Establish routines – having predictable rhythms & routines in your day and/or week, can be calming & reassuring, & can help you to manage your stress. Routines can include regular times for exercise or relaxation, regular meal times, waking & bed times & planning ahead to do particular jobs on set days of the week.
Spend time with people who care – spending time with people you care about, and who care about you, is an important part of managing ongoing stress in your life.
Look after your health – incorporate exercise into your daily routine & eat a healthy, balanced diet. Make time for things you enjoy. Avoid using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to cope.
Take charge – deal with unhelpful sources of stress before they build up & become a bigger problem.
Make choices – look at areas in your life where you could manage your situation better or change the way you respond.
Notice your ‘self-talk’ – notice when you are using ‘self-talk’, and instead try saying soothing, calming things to yourself to reduce your levels of stress. Try ore helpful self-talk like “I’m coping well given the circumstances”, or “Relax and take a few deep breaths”. Keeping things in perspective is also important. When we are stressed, it’s easy to see thing as worse than they really are. Try self-talk such as “It’s not the end of the world” or “Things could be so worse”.
Practice relaxation – make time for yourself to practice relaxation, whether it be a walk, meditation or yoga. This will help your body & nervous system to settle & readjust. Plan things to do each day that you look forward to & which give you a sense of pleasure, like gardening or reading a book.
Adapted from APS (Australian Psychological Society) Stress Tips.