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8 Tips on how to prevent and manage stress

Here are the tips for preventing and managing stress:

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month we wanted to share with you tips on how to prevent and manage stress inside and outside the workplace. 

Self-knowledge:

We gotta stop and learn about what stresses us, the main triggers at least. Knowing what stresses you will help you prevent that stress grows exponentially and would support you in selecting strategies. Example: you know that you will have a deadline at work that would cause you stress, or a difficult meeting or just a rough patch of something happening to you on a personal level. Or you might know whether the cause of the stress is external (upsetting news, an unexpected argument, noise in the street, the media) or internal (pushing yourself even though you are tired, feeling like you have to be perfect all the time).  Know when your “stress bucket” is getting full and when you are starting to be on edge.

Self-care/activity/purpose:

Self-care is not only about pampering yourself, it is a habit of stress prevention too. Knowing that stress is coming? Then do something extra you love. Self-care is also taking 10 minutes a day for your favorite magazine, your favorite serie or a phone call with your favorite person. Venting and talking sometimes it is all we need to put things which look giant in perspective. Having an activity we love increases learning and curiosity and helps us with self-compassion and patience (that we can lose when we are stressed).

Movement and holistic wellbeing:

You tend to get very stressed or anxious and on top of that you drink 6 coffees or pull an all-nighter because of a deadline? Our body is not designed for prolonged stress and sleep deprivation, and we gotta help our body to function well, so that our mind follows, and viceversa. Reducing amount of caffeine is scientifically proven to reduce stress feelings, and a good night sleep of 7 to 8 hours is a way to recharge. What regenerate you mentally and physically? Maybe a good run, maybe a breathing exercise you enjoy, a meditation practice or a walk in nature where you experience awe and silence. If you tend to arrive late to places and are a last minute person, and this causes you stress, try to set an alarm 5 minutes before you would actually get out of the house, so you don’t need to stress and run to catch a bus. It makes a difference.

Reduction in social media intake from time to time:

If social media is causing stress because of the amount of information of because of comparisons to others, or if WhatsApp is burning with messages, take a break. We don’t have to be 24 hours connected. It is OK to stay 10 hours with no phone, even a day! You can let your family and friends know, if that helps you, and know that if there is something urgent they can always call you.

Bear in mind that stress is contagious! It will immensely help you being more compassionate to yourself and others to tackle stress in a new way.

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Feeling stressed within your workplace?

Stress coming from many emails and urgency to respond:

Place a footnote on your signature saying something along this line (you can use this as a template!): P.S. Make Flexibility Work – “My working hours may not be your working hours. Please do not feel obligated to reply outside of your normal work schedule”. Whenever you are out of office and/or cannot reply, place an out of office message. This allows you manage the expectations and are a bit more self-compassionate. Block time in your calendar for work. Then commit not to look at emails of whatsapp (30 minutes chunks at least)

Stress before vacation:

Consider taking an extra day off of half day off before your actual vacation. Usually we arrive exhausted at the last vacation day. Because we try to do everything and we have still 100 emails. You can use the “last working day” to clean up whatever needs to be cleaned up. Also prepare your out of office message and close last minute thing. But you can still use the day after that as a day off to pack. Or to get things ready with your family, to leave your apartment tidy. This type of care creates less chaos in our minds. Also sets the tone for a real vacation, not a rushed one.

Self-compassionate breaks:

No lunch in front of the computer (unless is to watch something fun) or eating during meetings. When you know you are not focused on your food and cannot fully enjoy the experience. Take breaks to drink enough water, just walk or stand up for 5 minutes.

Tackle the source of stress with communication:

Is there a particular relationship at work that stresses you? Also is there an unspoken conflict? Is there a task that really makes you suffer. We should talk, we should tackle the elephant in the room. Encourage sincere conversations at work.

These tips are shared with us by Alessandra Patti, founder of FindYourWay Coaching, coach, and mental wellbeing strategist for organizations. She acts as a consultant for HR and L&D managers on best practices for mental wellbeing,health, and safety.

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Alessandra created FindYourWay company in 2017 with the goal of supporting people being more assertive in their communication style, and placing the right boundaries in order to prevent stress. Currently she works with multinational companies, universities and organizations across different industries on their mental wellbeing strategy and prevention plans, through the use of education.

Alessandra has created throughout the years many educational programs around mental wellbeing and communication, all committed to prevention of mental struggle. They are:

  1. The Mental Wellbeing Spa 
  2. How to navigate difficult conversations with assertiveness 
  3. The School of Assertiveness 

She also leads a lot of independent research on the neuroscience of mental wellbeing, positive psychology, nervous system mental health, the impact of nutrition on mental health, mental health in academia and entrepreneurial mental health.