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5 strategies to manage stress at work and home

Being aware that you can do anything but not everything – at least not all at once – can help you rein in stress

An overly stressful day at work or home deserves your acknowledgement, followed by essential self-care. (Unsplash/Luis Villasmil)

By Sharmilee Kapur

LAST PUBLISHED 15.03.2024  |  08:00 AM IST

Stress is a part of all our lives and there's no two ways about it. But not all stress is bad- there’s eustress, which is positive stress that helps us thrive in life. Be that as it may,  even eustress, if not handled right, can compromise our mental health, our gut, and cause inflammation in our physical being among other ill-effects. Hence, one must consciously employ strategies to better cope with and manage stress, both in our work and home environments. Here are five ways you can do just that.

Also read: 6 great hacks to help you sleep better

Self-care is not just a pretty word 
Self-care entails looking after the person who matters the most: You. This could mean giving yourself timely TLC, attention and creating a judgement-free environment for yourself. You must at all times choose to not de-prioritise yourself as a worthy person. A stressful day at work or home deserves your acknowledgement, followed by essential self-care, which could be anything that nourishes you. Read a long-awaited book on your nightstand, watch a favourite show on Netflix (no late night binge watching though), go on a lunch date or night out with your friends, take an indulgent bath and get to bed sooner (to catch up on some much-needed shut eye).  

Your mind is your superpower, harness it
The mind is where it all begins. While this is the place where stress tends to lay its roots, this is also the place where you can begin to alleviate it. Your mind and your mental health determine how the whole of you will feel, perform, and even exist, all thanks to the interconnectedness of the mind and body. Our actions follow our thoughts, and so, in order to improve the quality of your thoughts, eliminate stress overload. How do you do that? Gift yourself the daily practice of pranayama or synchronised breathing techniques. Not to forget meditation, which has been proven to be the single-most powerful practice that can help break our stress cycles, make us self-aware, improve focus and creativity, lower our blood pressure, anxiety and improve patience and sleep. Along with this, it’d also help to practice the art of gratitude. 

You can do anything, but not everything!
This quote from the author David Allen can be a reminder to us that rather than trying to achieve perfect work-life balance (which does not exist), we must, instead, choose to embrace a certain work-life integration. Our life needs to have a healthy mix of super productive work days and moments where we feel that we are living a full life. 

Creating a personalised formula or a system that is flexible enough to integrate your professional and personal lives, will leave you feeling more fulfilled. This could include creating a work environment that better suits you (where you choose to be productive versus overburdened); taking short breaks as and when needed through the day; not letting personal work pile up for after-work hours; and creating a friendly and supporting work environment to replenish mental health at work. 

The main thing is to keep the main thing the ‘main’ thing 
Taking from the words of Stephen Covey, the main thing needs to be the main thing, and the ‘main thing’ is always your holistic well-being. This includes caring for your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Start with making sure that your day includes yoga or any form of movement, some meditation, a healing diet, sufficient sleep, and the right support system (that you can call on when need be). These aspects are the building blocks of a wellness-based existence and need to be added to our lives consciously, even in smaller proportions. 

Take time to find your ikigai
Blessed are those who know their reason for existence, but if you think you are among those who are still looking for their purpose, do not despair. You can start with creating an acceptable flow in your daily life: one that works for you, where you are not rushed, unnecessarily stressed or feeling inadequate every day. As you choose to stay open to trying things, you will eventually figure out things that make life worthwhile for you. 

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Sharmilee Kapur is co-founder and co-director of Atmantan Wellness Centre in Mulshi, Maharashtra. 

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