We are not super human, the web industry is like any other, we undergo long hours of work with the odd all nighter. However recently with the renewed interest in the web, we have at least in the last 12-18 months, been having a bit of a boom. This is great everyone is extremely busy, business is good. Work is thick on the ground and easy to find. But with all this comes increased deadlines, increased pressures and ultimately increased stress. We all get stressed in one form or another, yes even the Web Rock Gods get stressed, even if some of us do try and deny it from time to time.
Sometimes a little stress is good, it pushes you forward and keeps you from getting too complacent with the way we operate or with our skill set. However what do you do when it gets just way too much, and the source of the stress just can’t be removed. Do you just push through and hope it goes away or do you considered that maybe the stress isn’t all from the source that you thought it was. If you take the latter approach than maybe you should consider this handy list of ways to reduce your stress levels:
Get out there and exercise
Take a break, even a bit of physical activity is good for you. You get the blood and hormones flowing, you reduce tension and the overall increased blood flow means more blood to the brain, hence that “clears your mind feeling”. If you can make the exercise part of your lifestyle so much the better.
Make life fun
Bet you have few hobbies or interests that you have let slide over the years. I can assume that you had a good time with these interests and in a way you regret them having to take a back seat in your busy life. Well the fact is you need these secondary interests, these are the things that allow your mind and body to turn off and rest away from the sources of stress, but still remain active. Try and recapture the “fun” element of these hobbies. And if they get you to go places outside of your daily routine, so much the better.
Take five and relax
Consider getting outside of your comfort zone. Do something different, especially if it is stress reducing. Relax, step away from the problem at hand. Things like massage, yoga, Tai Chi, meditation or even just simply listening to music can help.
Stop take a breath
This may sound really lame. But stop, close your eyes, and take several very deep breaths. This you will find activicates the bodies natural relaxation reflexes. With each breath the tension and stress will reduce.
It’s well know that the happier and more you laugh and smile the less tense you are. Your entire body responds on a number of levels to the positive effects of laugher. Go watch your favourite comedy DVD, TV comedy, get out of the house go see a local comedy performance or a touring comedian.
Sort out what you need to do, make a list. Take some control over what you are doing. Take the stress out of trying to remember it all, and juggle what you need to do mentally. Write it down, organise it. If you want to really get organised on a serious level consider Getting Things Done by David Allen. There is a massive resource on GTD at 43 folders.
Talk to someone
It really is important, talk the problem out. Just the act of talking about the stress or the problem can often point you towards a solution. Even just clarifying the situation in order to articulate it can help as well. Just getting a different perspective on things can additonally reduce your stress levels.
Be self aware
Be very aware of what your tell tale signs are when you are becoming stressed. These could be: restless sleep patterns, mood changes, general tension, increase heart rate, shallow breathing. Look for the signs, remember them, and take action when they occur. This includes seeing your regular Doctor (you do have one don’t you).
Be kind to yourself
Make sure that you get a good nights sleep, eat regular meals, and just ensure that your body has a chance to run normally as it should. That means reducing caffeine and alcohol intake as these act as stimulants. Also from time to time reward yourself with a little things that make you happy.
You also need to believe and focus on something. Be that the power of yourself, some higher being, method, or just fate itself, it will help. Having this external focus can help you redirect your stress from yourself to something other that you believe is controlling or directing things. This is not really denial of the stress and the problem at hand. More sub-conscious redirection.
So there are ten helpful simple techniques, they may or may not all work for you. Besides these what other techniques do you use when you are stressed?