7 quick and easy ways to cope with stress

We all have different ways of coping with stress.

But here are just a few ideas that can help us to manage stress.

They may seem simple. But try them out and you might find they’re incredibly useful.

 

#1 Break down big tasks

When a problem seems overwhelming, we can often struggle to see how we will reach the other side.

Breaking down larger tasks into smaller steps can break the psychological barrier between our current situation and the endpoint of solving the problem.

This could be done with a written list of tasks to check off or a series of reminders in our calendar to set progress targets.

It helps to focus on specific details here.

The more we break down tasks, the easier each step will be to complete and the quicker we will make progress.

 

#2 Work on time management

Our abilities to multitask and prioritise are impaired when we’re stressed.

So it can help to plan out how we use our time and create a schedule for what needs to be done.

This way, we reduce the risk of running overtime or forgetting to complete tasks.

Simply writing down each task can help.

But there are also plenty of online organisational tools to help plan and manage our current projects.

For example, project management software or mind mapping tools. They’re often free to use too.

No matter how we prefer to plan our schedule, it helps to keep it within easy access in an obvious place to make sure we actually use it regularly.

 

#3 Keep going

It may seem obvious but it’s not always easy to maintain effort.

The flexibility of the mind is impressive and we can forget pain surprisingly quickly and lose our sense of urgency, making it harder to keep going.

It can take time before we start to feel less stressed because it is our body’s natural response to new challenges.

But it’s possible to get there if we work persistently.

Stress can be a demotivator and sometimes we have to work that much harder to get through it.

However, try to be aware that pushing ourselves too hard in times of stress can risk creating a bigger problem for ourselves if we burnout.

Any progress is good progress.

We don’t have to push ourselves to the limit every day. And it’s completely ok if we’re not able to work at full capacity some days.

We can keep going and also accept that there will be natural ebbs in our efforts.

 

#4 Challenge unhelpful thoughts

When we’re stressed, our minds can race with any number of thoughts and feelings. The majority of which are unlikely to be helpful.

We might put ourselves down and be overly critical of our actions. Maybe we can’t stop thinking about a worst case scenario or a sense of personal failure.

But our expectations of ourselves can be unnecessarily harsh.

Instead of trying to ignore these thoughts or potentially allowing them to fester, we can confront them and reduce their influence on our mental health.

If we change our perspective and visualise the situation objectively, we can see whether these thoughts accurately reflect the size of the problem or our abilities to overcome it.

We can often make a problem seem worse than it is in reality and tell ourselves we’re not as capable as we actually are.

 

#5 Use rewards regularly

We may be tempted to hold out and wait until the end goal to celebrate and reward our efforts.

But it’s more productive to reward each small accomplishment.

The idea is to promote positivity and encourage our efforts.

And by celebrating each step along the way we can move onto the next task with a sense of achievement and a fresh perspective.

It’s helpful to plan rewards in advance so we can look forward to them.

It doesn’t matter how big or small we make the payoff so long as it motivates us personally. Like taking a day off, buying a nice bottle of wine, booking tickets for a fun event, whatever we prefer.

 

#6 Share problems with others

Telling others what we’re experiencing or struggling with can go a long way to relieving the burden we feel.

It can also be a great way to discover new ideas by listening to other people’s input – they may come up with a solution we hadn’t considered.

Our loved ones and colleagues will appreciate our honesty and they can help us to stay motivated and provide helpful feedback.

Having a strong support network is a vital part of personal wellbeing.

And we can work to encourage more open and collaborative relationships with those around us.

 

#7 Encourage exercise and healthy activities

Physical activity is a great way to combat stress as it releases “feel good” hormones called endorphins.

A vast body of scientific research shows that exercise reduces stress and can improve brain performance.

The activity should last longer than 20 minutes and be moderately intensive to experience a more noticeable effect.

There are also plenty of other activities aside from exercise that provide health benefits.

This could be going for a gentle walk in nature, meditating, eating more fresh vegetables and fruit, taking a long bath, listening to music, gardening or playing with a pet.

Doing any one of these activities every day can drastically change our mood and improve our mental health.

Figuring out what works for you

Not all of these strategies will appeal to you.

That’s totally normal.

You don’t have to try all of them.

It’s better to pick one or two that you think could be useful and start applying them to your daily life.

And see if you notice a difference.

Do you feel more positive and less anxious? Does monitoring your progress more closely help you feel in control of your situation?

Ask yourself questions and get other involved in your progress. We’d love to hear if any of these strategies have helped you out in a tough spot.

And for more ideas on handling stress and using helpful coping strategies in different situations, we’ve given free access to four of our full learning strategies:

How to stay focused and motivated when working remotely
How to become more adaptable and flexible to change
Helping others cope with change
How change can impact your work environment

Remember, stress is a normal response, and our wellbeing doesn’t have to rely on removing all the tension in our lives.

No one is stress free.

But we can learn to lessen the impact of stress and succeed despite it.

This is a healthier approach to the demands of daily life, which alongside better coping strategies, can make us more productive and resilient to the risk of stress in the future.

Please get in touch and if you’re an education provider, you can book a demo to know more about how Cognassist can help your learners to build their confidence and achieve greater success.