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National Stress Awareness Day

Stress affects everybody. A little stress is actually good for one. However too much stress can be harmful. LifeWorks, a division of Ceridian, one of the largest providers of quality human resource processing, outsourcing and consulting solutions in the world, offers employees useful tips to ensure stress is kept to manageable levels. On November 2, National Stress Awareness Day, commit to following the expert advice below.

Attitudes and Beliefs

  • Take care of yourself. Spend time with friends and family and do things you enjoy
  • Don’t let work take over your life. Ensure that you take time to have fun
  • Avoid spending time with consistently negative people
  • Remember how you’ve faced difficulties in the past and believe in yourself
  • Pay attention to what is important in your life
  • Change your attitude towards the things that make you feel stressed

Dietary

  • Never skip breakfast. A good balanced breakfast not only boosts your energy levels but will also raise your metabolism
  • Stay away from sugary snacks. Sugar can affect your blood glucose levels and affect your concentration. It also reduces your ability to benefit from vitamins
  • Ensure you get enough magnesium and vitamin B12 in your diet to help your muscles relax. This can be found in dark leafy green vegetables
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Consume foods that contain high levels of L-Tryptophan when you are feeling tense and anxious. This amino acid can be found in lettuce, turkey and milk. L-Tryptophan is converted to serotonin by the brain which calms the mind and aids sleep
  • For more energy, eat small, healthy meals throughout the day. Consumption of large meals can increase the blood flow to the stomach and reduce blood flow to the brain. This may cause drowsiness

Physical Activity

  • See your GP for a health check before starting an exercise regime
  • Make physical activity part of your everyday routine such as taking a walk outside during lunch
  • Vary the type of exercises you do for better results and to avoid boredom
  • Exercise 30 minutes per day to strengthen your immune system
  • Find a friend to exercise with to keep you motivated
  • Set small and achievable goals and congratulate yourself when you achieve them

Relaxation

  • Develop a relaxation method that works for you; it doesn’t matter whether it is yoga, listening to music, reading a book or doing meditation, as long as it is a strategy that helps you relax
  • Spend some time in silence every day (turn off your mobile phone!)
  • Use deep breathing as a mini relaxation technique several times during the day when you are feeling tense and anxious
  • Treat yourself to a massage
  • Do slow and gentle stretching exercises to relieve tension in your body

Managing your workload

  • Talk to your manager about problems you experience at work and do not hesitate to ask for help
  • Cut down on other commitments in your life when you are having a stressful time at work
  • Learn when to say yes and when to say no
  • Help your manager to help you by communicating openly about how you feel
  • Set realistic goals
  • Do the most difficult tasks at the best time of your day, when you are the most focused and have most energy. This can vary from individual to individual
  • Keep interruptions at work to a minimum
  • Check e-mails just two or three times a day
  • Set work/home boundaries

Sleep

  • Eat your evening meal at least two hours before you go to bed. A late meal can result in high levels of stomach acid that may keep you awake
  • Avoid over-stimulating television, radio, movies or online information just before bed. It can make it hard to unwind and fall asleep
  • Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol for at least four hours before you go to bed. The effects of stimulants in coffee, tea or other drinks last for three to four hours or even longer for some people.
  • Create a sleep routine. A bedtime routine can help train your mind and body to feel relaxed and ready to fall asleep. Drink a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile tea with bitter orange drops or do some light reading before bed
  • Keep your bedroom dark
  • If you can’t get to sleep within 30 minutes after you go to bed, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy again. Try drinking a cup of warm milk or listen to calming music
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