WORK-LIFE BALANCE / FEB. 05, 2014
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10 Simple Ways to Beat Stress and Feel Good Everyday

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We all go through stressful periods from time to time. Some may even feel that they only go through unstressful periods from time to time. Whether it’s work that’s driving you mental, a rift in your relationship, financial setbacks or other dilemmas, you may be following a toxic route when dealing with these problems. Perhaps the worst thing you can do is just to carry on in much the same way until you reach the point of burnout. If this is the case then now is the time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and take control. Because making a few simple changes to your everyday life can leave you feeling good, more productive, and stress free. 

1 Do a good deed

If you’re looking for a self-esteem boost then why not try doing something nice for someone else? According to the Mental Health Foundation, altruism, or putting the needs of others before your own, reduces stress and promotes feelings of belonging. It can even help you live longer! This could involve doing something as simple as making a coffee for one of your colleagues. The opportunity to do a good deed can arise at any moment too as long as you’re in tune with your surroundings.

2 Get some exercise

There are far too many excuses not to exercise at this time of year. It’s too wet to take to the football field, it’s too icy to take a bike ride… eating a pie in your onesie is too tempting an alternative. But there are ways. Get the yoga mat out at home, play an energetic game on the Wii or partake in a little ‘deskercise’. And why should we bother? Science tells us that the endorphins released during exercise boost your mood; you will find your energy levels increasing and there are, of course, huge benefits to both mental and physical health. Further lesser known benefits are the anti-ageing effects and improved sex life. Exercise can even prevent colds.

3 Embrace JOMO (the joy of missing out)

This term, coined by Maite Baron, founder of The Corporate Escape, is quite different to the popular  YOLO. Baron believes that as the earliest signs of burnout arise we should gradually begin to stop saying yes to everything on account of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and rather embrace the concept of JOMO by taking some me-time and just doing what makes us happy instead of what we feel we have to do or what produce negative feelings. In other words, juggling too many tasks and responsibilities is a sure fire way to stress and greater mental health issues. 

4 Try something new

If the monotony of your life is getting you down then branch out a little. There’s no greater feeling than putting yourself out of your comfort zone and coming out the other end unscathed, maybe even with new passions, new skills or new friends. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

5 Get out of the office

If you’ve hit a wall, then there’s nothing worse than simply trying to power through it, because the quality of your work will suffer. So take a break, get some fresh air and return to your work refreshed and ready to go. Some argue that there’s absolutely no reason to believe those who spend more time at the office are more productive anyway. We should really measure results and outputs as opposed to number of hours at work in judging the level of productivity. So, there’s your excuse for getting away from your claustrophobic cube.

6 Meditate

This is probably the millionth time that somebody has reported the powerful effects of meditation in bringing about a general sense of calm, eradicating stress, improving focus and cognitive function, the list goes on... So why haven’t you tried it yet? In anticipation of the response, no it’s not too difficult. Just use a guided meditation app until you’re ready to go it alone. And no it’s not something that only hemp-wearing, vegan hippies do. Top business executives, such as Bill Ford, Arianna Huffington and Oprah have seen a tremendous improvement in the quality of their work and lives through practicing meditation techniques.

7 Get some sleep

If you’re anything like me then you’re a monster some mornings. And if a lack of sleep becomes a regular thing, you’re likely to remain the bleary-eyed, grumpy, irritable creature all week. Sleep is important for learning, memory and performance, but many of us find it difficult to switch off after a stressful day at work or are simply too busy to get 8 hours kip. If you have difficulty sleeping, it is recommended that you have a bedtime routine much in the same way a child needs one after bouncing around all day. Find more tips to help you sleep easy here.

8 Get organised

They say that an organised space equals an organised mind. But getting your desk in order might only be the first step. According to Margaret Moore, co-author of Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life, the vast array of distractions we face in the modern world make it difficult to stay focussed and maintain an organised mind. To organise the mind we must first gain a sense of calm in order to think straight. Then we must set out our goals and intentions, while maintaining the ability to stop and consider other possibilities and correctly assess whether they, in fact, require your attention or not. We should also make use of our ‘working memory’ to quickly imagine previous scenarios and move forward; as well as the flexibility of our minds to create new ideas. It’s obvious therefore that an organised mind leads to greater achievements.

9 Have some sexy time

Sex might be considered an all-round cure for when you’re feeling low. It helps with some of the other stress-busting tactics. Sex has many health benefits – it constitutes exercise and also improves sleep as the hormone prolactin, which produces feelings of sleepiness and relaxation, is released after climaxing. Studies have shown that sex alleviates one’s mood and lowers stress. For example, when women were tested for heartbeat and levels of cortisol after physical contact, they exhibited a lower stress response.

10 Eat well

It’s surprising how what we put into our bodies affects our mood, energy levels, and productivity. With the help of this chart, you can cater what you eat to your own exact needs. If you’re looking for a productivity boost for example, you’ll want to eat salmon, turkey, plums or pears. While foods such as avocado, brown rice, celery and pineapple help with digestion and sleep. 

Taking care of your wellbeing is of the utmost importance to ensure that you are feeling and working at your best. And sometimes small changes to your lifestyle can make a huge difference.

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