Take control of your life – 17 solutions

If you're stressed at work or at home, the first thing you need to do to make a difference to your life is to identify the cause of your stress. At the same time, the worst thing you could do is to try to alleviate the stress by turning to something unhealthy to help you cope. Doing nothing will only make your problems grow and get worse.

Posted: 22 September 2020

Take control of your life – 17 solutions

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In this article, we’ve got 17 suggestions to help you take control and overcome the stress.

  1. Sleep well – we all know that getting a good night sleep is a fundamental part of keeping your brain and body fit and healthy. To achieve this, have a good bedtime routine, and most importantly, don’t stay up too late. There’s nothing better to recharge your batteries than a good night sleep.
  2. Avoid blue light – the blue light emitted by computer screens and tablet devices can disturb your circadian rhythm. Try to avoid looking at bright screens in the evening, and especially a few hours before you go to bed.
  3. Be organised – write things down and you’ll soon stop worrying. If you plan your next day on paper, rather than worry about it in your head, your mind will be more peaceful.
  4. Walk and cycle when you can - research shows that even low intensity exercise can overcome tiredness and boost alertness. Any exercise will help, so take every opportunity to move. Maybe run upstairs instead of walking, or perhaps park as the far end of the car park to ensure you to walk the furthest. Get out in the early morning or evening for a walk.
  5. Regular breaks - a short break every hour or two is necessary to stay alert. Whilst it’s not always easy in a busy vet practice, it’s worth making the effort to try to find some free time. Try to step outside of the building for a few minutes break every day.
  6. Stay hydrated - dehydration can creep up on you if you’re too busy to stop, and it will make you feel drowsy and tired. Water helps you stay alert and refreshed, and helps clear thinking, so keep drinking.
  7. Avoid stimulants - coffee and tea may give you a quick fix but you could be susceptible to a post-caffeine crash. Be aware of how much you consume and try cutting down on the amount of caffeine you drink in a day.
  8. Stop snacking – a good breakfast and lunch should be enough to keep you going, but if you’re prone to snacking, choose the healthy slow release energy options. Avoid sweets, chocolates and high fat foods, especially around Christmas when all those boxes arrive from your grateful clients.
  9. Try tryptophan – some foods contain higher levels of tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, than others. Too little serotonin has been associated with depression and insomnia. Try foods such as potatoes, grains, nuts, pumpkin seeds and kidney beans to help maintain good mental health.
  10. Posture – a poor posture during the day will make your back, neck and other joints ache. Try being aware of your posture throughout the day, and keep adjusting to align and balance your spine, hips and knees.
  11. Be social and Zoom- having a chat or a laugh with friends or colleagues is more likely to wake you up than time on your own. People who are more social are generally happier and tend to sleep better. Why not plan an after work get together? A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way. Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems.
  12. Laughter is the best medicine – laughing is a proven stress-reliever. Sometimes in this modern world life can become so serious and anxious that it will drain your inner reserves. Simple fun can often be all you need to make you feel happier and more alive. Laughter decreases stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins which promote an overall sense of well-being.
  13. Mindful meditation– you may have heard of Mindfulness, a psychological process of bringing your attention to your internal and external experiences. It can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. Why not take the time to watch three excellent and free webinars available on the Webinar Vet website.
  14. Set some goals - setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, will help you build confidence and deal with stress. It’ll make you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.
  15. Avoid unhealthy habits - don't rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. This is known as avoidance behaviour, and in the long term won't solve your problems. They'll just create new ones. Be aware that men are more likely to do this.
  16. Help others - evidence shows that people who help others, through actions such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient. Helping those who are in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective, and the more you give, the stronger and happier you feel.
  17. Work smarter, not harder – this means prioritising your work and concentrating on the tasks that'll make a real difference. Leave the least important jobs to the end.

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