Learning & Development Asia 2024
Navigating and thriving through stress: A how-to guide to a balanced mind & body

Navigating and thriving through stress: A how-to guide to a balanced mind & body

Inspired to spark change, Sarah Gideon puts together some ways you can manage your stress and put your mental wellbeing at the forefront, both in the office, and after working hours.

How often do you feel stressed? Do you take note of how stress affects you on a daily? Or do you get whizzed away by the hustle-and-bustle of a fast-paced society?  

Stress has become inevitable – whether it’s the pressures of work, relationships, or familial commitments & expectations; and can manifest into various forms and take a toll on our physical, mental & emotional well-being. 

An article by Awareness Days.com highlighted that stress & poor mental health are one of the biggest public health challenges facing the world today.

Unfortunately, many are still not prioritising taking care of their mental wellbeing. We continue to separate mental health from physical health and vice versa. However, the reality is that it cannot be separated – they go hand-in-hand.  

Poor mental health and high stress levels can manifest to numerous physical health problems, like heart disease, insomnia, digestive issues, immune system challenges, etc. 

With April deemed as Stress Awareness Month annually, the aim is to encourage dialogue and conversations around stress factors and the impact stress has on individuals, with the bigger aim of combatting shame and stigma around mental health among families, peers, and co-workers.

Inspired to spark change, Sarah Gideon puts together some ways you can manage your stress and put your mental wellbeing at the forefront, both in the office, and after working hours.  

In the office:  

  1. Practise time management: Prioritise the more urgent tasks and set realistic deadlines. It may be easier to break larger projects into smaller and more manageable tasks to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. 
  2. Take breaks: Get moving! Step away for short breaks throughout the day to relax, stretch, or engage in mindfulness exercises like deep breathing or meditation. 
  3. Set boundaries: Set clear boundaries around in-office hours and responsibilities. Avoid taking on more work than you can handle. 
  4. Communicate effectively: Openly communicate concerns or challenges to supervisors or colleagues when feeling overwhelmed.  
  5. Stay organised: Keep your workspace tidy and organised to reduce clutter-induced stress. To-do lists, calendars, or project management software can come in handy to stay on top of tasks. 
  6. Delegate tasks: It’s important to ask for help when needed. Don't hesitate to delegate tasks to colleagues when necessary. Sharing the workload can prevent feelings of being overwhelmed. 
  7. Practise mindfulness: Integrate mindfulness practices into your daily routine like mindful breathing or walking, to stay grounded and reduce stress. 
  8. Limit distractions: Minimise distractions in the workplace by turning off notifications, closing unnecessary tabs or apps, etc.  
  9. Take advantage of your resources: Utilise any stress-reducing resources or programmes offered by your employer, such as employee assistance programmes or wellness initiatives. 

Outside of work:  

  1. Create a relaxing routine: Create a relaxing evening routine to unwind after work — read, listen to music, take a long bath, or practise relaxation exercises. 
  2. Engage in physical activity: Regular exercise will release endorphins and promote relaxation. Find physical activities you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing. 
  3. Prioritise sleep: Ensure you get enough restful sleep each night by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and practicing relaxation techniques before bedtime. 
  4. Maintain a balanced diet: Eat a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and processed foods, which can contribute to stress and fatigue. 
  5. Cultivate relationships: Build relationships with friends, family members, or support groups for social support and companionship. Spending quality time with loved ones is another way to reduce stress and improve your mood. 
  6. Pick up a hobby: Whether it's painting, crocheting, cooking, or playing music, engaging in hobbies can provide a sense of fulfilment and relaxation. 
  7. Have a self-care routine: Prioritise self-care activities that promote relaxation and wellbeing, such as meditation, massage, aromatherapy, or spending time in nature. 
  8. Limit screen time: Reduce screen time, especially before bedtime, as excessive technology will affect stress levels & sleep quality. 
  9. Seek support: Reach out for support from a therapist, counsellor, or mental health professional if stress becomes overwhelming or persistent. 

By incorporating these strategies into both your workday and personal life, it will be much easier for you to effectively manage stress and maintain a healthier balance between your work and overall wellbeing. 

Let's break the silence and embrace the journey towards mental wellness together!

READ MORE: How to design a beautiful workspace that maximises comfort and minimises stress

Lead image / 123RF

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