Ways to cope with stress

“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.” – Dorothy M. Neddermeyer

Last updated 1 March 2021

Every single person, young or old, feels stress at some point in our lives. Stress is a natural reaction and it has the capability of motivating us to succeed, but it can become a problem when it gets to a point where we feel like we can’t cope and when it starts affecting our health.

Here are a few ways to help you manage the stress in your life:

1)      Don’t self-medicate

Self-medicating with alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants will only serve to make you more stressed out in the long run. Instead, start living a healthier lifestyle and give your body the hydration and nutrients it needs to function optimally. Exercise and a healthy diet does wonders for the mind.

2)      Early to bed and early to rise

Tiredness is a major factor in making us feel stressed and unable to cope. Get to bed earlier so that you can wake up earlier. Cut out unnecessary rushing around in your life and give yourself more time to get everything done.

3)      Stop procrastinating

Having something hang over your head will lead to feelings of anxiety and extreme stress. Get things done as soon as possible. Don’t leave things to the last minute. Manage your time effectively and stay on top of things.

4)      Take time to relax

Carve out moments to step back and relax. It’s of vital importance that you make time in your life for hobbies and other things you enjoy doing. Your life should never be all work and no play.

5)      Share your feelings

Confide in a friend or family member about how you’re feeling. Bottling things up will only make it worse. It’s okay to ask for help. A problem shared is a problem halved. Just talking about how you feel will make your situation feel less daunting. It helps to know that you’re not alone.

6)      Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

Do the best you can and only take on what you can handle. You are not Superman or Wonder Woman.

7)      Try relaxation techniques

Take time to meditate, breathe, do yoga or go for long walks on the beach. Mindfulness helps you to be in the present and not be overwhelmed with thoughts about the past or the future.

8)      Learn to say ‘No’

Only take on tasks that you feel confident doing or that you have time for. Develop healthy boundaries and maintain them by holding your ground. Don’t let anyone walk all over you. You don’t need to please everyone all the time.

9)      Take care of yourself

Take time off when you are ill and don’t push yourself. Forcing yourself into situations when you are not feeling up to it is only going to make you feel worse.

10)   Cheer yourself up

Watch or listen to something that takes you away from your stressor for a few minutes, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes in the day. As they say, “Laughter is the best medicine”.

11)   Step away from your desk

Take 20 minutes to sit out in the sunshine and soak up the Vitamin D. You don’t need to be chained to your desk. Allow yourself to feel free and in control of your life.

12)   Seek professional help

If you don’t feel like getting out of bed and it feels like you’re spiralling further and further out of control it might be best to seek professional help from a qualified psychologist. They will help to put things in perspective and help you get your life back on track.


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Written by Taryn Hill

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