9 Strategies on How to Deal With Stress Effectively

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Stress is an inevitable part of most people's lives, and it can affect their overall well-being so it's essential to learn how to manage it effectively. When you consciously take positive measures to cope with stress, it can improve your overall well-being and increase your happiness at work. If you're encountering stressful situations or are anticipating them in the foreseeable future, learning about different strategies to handle stress can better prepare you to manage stressful situations. In this article, we list different strategies to show you how to deal with stress effectively.

How to deal with stress

Here are nine strategies showing you how to deal with stress effectively:

1. Exercise regularly

Engaging in physical activity consistently may reduce stress levels and can serve as a distraction from stressful situations. Consider exercising for at least 30 minutes daily, and as your body adjusts to this routine, you may gradually increase the intensity and duration of your exercise regimen. Going for a walk, a jog or a swim are some forms of exercise that you might consider. You may also consider biking, rollerblading, dancing and aerobics.

Ensure that you participate in an activity that excites you because it could help you look forward to the activity itself and encourage you to do it more regularly. You can also incorporate physical activity in simple ways throughout your day. For example, you may use the stairs instead of the elevator at work or home if you're able to. These small steps that you take to be more active may help you relax better.

2. Maintain a nutritious diet

Foods of high nutritional value may help you have a healthy body and mind. Some people may experience a loss of appetite when they feel stressed. Try to consume meals regularly so that you have ample energy. Making an effort to have nutrient-dense foods may help you manage stress more effectively.

3. Identify your stressors

It's essential to identify the root cause of your stress so that you can take specific actions to handle the particular stressor. Stressors can include big life changes, such as moving to a new country, starting a role in another company or having a newborn. While these may be inevitable, a person's own behaviour or lifestyle could also contribute to their stress. Examine your thoughts and actions and ask yourself if habits, such as procrastination, are hindering you from progressing. Once you acknowledge such traits, you can take control and start making positive changes which could reduce your stress levels.

Related: How to Start a New Job Virtually

4. Make time for leisure activities

One way to cope with stress is to set aside time to do activities you enjoy regularly. Including leisure time in your daily schedule is important to keep your mind healthy. It also offers a sense of self-worth. Take a break from your everyday responsibilities and plan time for your leisure and relaxation. Engage in leisure activities as a way to practise self-care, which is crucial in promoting happiness. Some examples of leisurely activities include:

  • going for a nature walk

  • participating in a hobby

  • reading a novel

  • gardening

  • stargazing

  • doing jigsaw puzzles

  • watching a movie

  • getting a massage

  • knitting or crocheting

Related: Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

5. Connect with others

Talking to others and confiding in them can greatly reduce your stress levels. Reach out to supportive people whom you can trust, such as family members, friends or a therapist. Sharing your problems with someone else can present an opportunity to find solutions together. The people you connect with may not always be able to solve your problems, but sometimes being able to talk about your challenges may reduce your stress.

You can develop and maintain social connections by scheduling regular meet-ups with friends or colleagues. Request a close family member to check up on you once in a while or consider meeting new people by joining a club or a class. Having a constant solid social support system consisting of a network of family, friends and colleagues is valuable in coping with stress.

Related: 9 Virtual Social Activities to Stay Connected

6. Stay organised

Stress can accumulate as you have more responsibilities at work and home. Having strong time management and organisational skills can help you manage that stress. One way to stay organised is to create to-do lists. This gives you a visual of what tasks to complete and you may be less likely to overlook them. Next, get into the habit of prioritising tasks. Attend to those that require the most attention or tasks with a shorter deadline. If you have a particularly challenging task, consider completing it early so you can focus on other tasks.

If a certain task or project is of a larger scale, divide it into smaller portions. Complete them one at a time rather than working on the entire project all at once. You could also request additional support from a colleague if the project seems too overwhelming. Alternatively, if you're a project manager, you can delegate different aspects of the project to others. Give yourself a personal deadline and attempt to adhere to it. This can help reduce your stress.

Related: Time Management Skills: Examples and Improvement Strategies

7. Establish clear personal boundaries

Constantly taking on more responsibilities than you can handle could further add to your stress. When you focus all your time and energy on managing those responsibilities, you might have less time to take care of your physical and mental health. This could ultimately affect your performance. You can avoid this by setting boundaries and by learning to decline additional tasks, especially when you feel that you're yet to complete tasks that are pending on your to-do list. You can set boundaries by explaining valid reasons why you're unable to complete multiple responsibilities.

Be polite but firm when you establish these boundaries with others. You may also withdraw from committees you might have joined previously or projects that you might have initially volunteered for so that you can concentrate on your current commitments. This could enable you to free up some time that you can use to practise self-care which is essential in coping with stress.

Related: How to Make Time for Self-Care While Working from Home

8. Make healthy lifestyle choices

Lifestyle choices are another factor that could impact your stress levels. For example, some people consume excessive amounts of caffeine to keep them going throughout the day, but this could affect their sleep patterns. Consider limiting your caffeine intake and replacing caffeinated drinks with herbal tea or water.

Also, consider other lifestyle habits, such as screen time. Frequently checking social media or tuning in to the news may increase stress for some people. Take time to reflect on your habits and think about how they make you feel. Consider disconnecting your phone sometimes and spending quality time outside or with friends.

9. Have a positive outlook and practise gratitude

When you experience stress, consider taking time to reflect on all the things that make you feel grateful. This may include things like arriving safely at work or good health for yourself and your loved ones. Your own positive traits and attributes can be another thing that you can be thankful for or your positive work environment and support system.

Practising gratitude is one way to have a positive outlook as it allows you to recognise the good things going on in your life. By focusing on the positive things in your life and career, it can help you manage your stress better. You can also stay positive by viewing a stressful situation as an opportunity for growth in your personal life and career. For example, if you're completing a challenging task at work, you might learn a new skill in the process, or it could improve your chances of earning a promotion.

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