Everyone goes through phases with a lot of work and little time for themselves. That is part of life. What is crucial is how you deal with these times. Those who get obsessed with stress only make the situation worse.
However, it is important that these are only phases. If you are constantly under stress, it is not healthy, no matter in what way you try to manage your stress. Overwhelm should be avoided as much as possible.
If you do find yourself in a stressful situation, the question is: What does a healthy way to deal with stress look like? What should I not do? Starting my studies in university was (and is) an experience for me that is beautiful, but just as stressful. In this article, I would like to share the methods that were able to lower my stress level.
One Thing at a Time
You know the counterproductive instinct to have to do everything right away. But multitasking doesn't work.
Instead, take a deep breath and tackle one thing at a time. In fact, you'll get where you want to go faster if you focus your attention on individual tasks. This includes avoiding distractions. Concentration is only possible when you give one hundred percent to a task.
To be able to do this, you have to “switch off” the feeling of stress. Stress is a survival function of the body. It is useful when hunting in the wilderness, but not in your work day. Exercise and meditation can help reduce your adrenaline level.
As you make progress, the feeling of stress soon fades because you are accomplishing something and not running from one fire to the next.
Don't Think (Too Much)
If you get caught up in something, you worry or fall into pessimism. These thoughts make stress worse.
Instead, act thoughtfully, but avoid thinking too much. The best-case scenario is to start with the most important task and then work your way forward.
Breaks and sleep can give you a different perspective from which the problem is easier to solve. This may sound like a contradiction to the first tip, but maintaining concentration for long periods of time is impossible.
By changing perspectives, you can recognize effective but non-obvious solutions.
Take Breaks, Even If It Feels Wrong
When the to-do list is endless, the email inbox is overflowing, and a deadline is approaching, you have the urge to keep working. But taking breaks makes your work higher quality and more creative.
Without breaks, opportunities for inspiration and rest, it's impossible to work at a high level and maintain focus. You have to be able to switch off and think about something other than work.
Therefore, you should pause for a moment, distract yourself and also finish work instead of working overtime.
Lean into the Stress
Last but not least, you should accept that stress is part of life. Even if you practice all the stress avoidance techniques (I myself am not in this group!), you will still be stressed out sometimes.
Without experiencing stress from time to time, we wouldn't even know what relaxing feels like! You have to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the stress.
Feeling stressed is not a shame. Neither is taking a step back or taking a break a sign of weakness. On the contrary, you'll return rested and motivated! And perhaps during your time off you will have come up with the solution to the problem you thought was unsolvable.