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How we can learn to stress less

My whole life, people have said to me to 'Stress Less Ness'. In fact at high school, this was the little 1 liner that was underneath my photo in the year book! I This would sometimes upset me, because often in these moments, I didn't even feel stressed! So it would leave me wondering...why does everyone keep saying that?

Now I'm sure sometimes I actually was, but often I also just cared deeply about the person or situation I was in. Sometimes caring a lot can push us into these places of elevated stress...But through self-reflection and years of practice, I've learnt how to stress less, and keep caring so I can bring more balance and wellbeing to my life and work. Here are 4 ways that I have learnt to better manage stress that you might find helpful too :) 1. Start your day slower - The mental juggle of life, work, family, children starts the minute we wake up. Do you have days where you feel puffed out and you haven't even left the house yet? We all have different routines and circumstances to work with so when you think about your start to the day, what part of your routine can you slow down? For example, can you introduce a meditation or mindfulness practice as soon as you wake up. Can you add stretches to your exercise routine? Can you sit and have breakfast instead of eating on the run? The pace we set in the morning can influence our whole day. 2. Communicate more clearly, honestly and authentically - I have always cared deeply about how people feel and this has sometimes led me to not communicate clearly or engage in honest conversations, because of a fear of upsetting them or a fear of conflict. Developing my communication skills especially in areas like assertiveness, and Kim Scott's Radical Candour, has helped me to lean into uncomfortable conversations more easily. This has helped me stress less, because it's reduced the mental chatter that can often occur when we don't express ourselves effectively. 3. Complete your stress cycle everyday - In their book Burnout: The secret to solving the stress cycle sisters, Dr Emily Nagoski and Dr Amelia Nagoski argue that we lead lives humming with stress, but we never complete the 'stress cycle.' They refer to stress being like a tunnel, each day we go into it and we have to go through and out the other side. In essence, we need to take ourselves out of the stress response every day so we don't remain in chronic activation of it. 7 evidence-based ways they suggest to complete the stress cycle are listed here:

  • Physical activity

  • Creativity - make something

  • Laughing

  • Crying

  • Physical affection

  • Deep breathing

  • Connect with your crew

4. Measure what matters to you - We can underestimate the impact that managing stress can have on our lives at work. When we take care of ourselves, develop daily practices that helps us to stress less, we can have improved working relationships, fewer sick days, improved patient safety (by reducing errors) and overall higher productivity, performance and job satisfaction. Pick one of these measures for yourself and see how it changes for you.

Join my upcoming Monthly Free Coaching Circle to learn some more practical ways to build your leadership confidence, better manage stress and enhance your wellbeing at work!

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