So far we have discussed about different ways and techniques that will help you manage stress and reduce it in everyday life, but every time you face some stressful events you have to broaden your mind. This chapter talks about dealing with these major stressful events and what to do when they happen.
Having a support system will always help you to get over any stress. Like support from your family and friends who could at least listen to your problems and try to reduce them or refresh your mind. This may sound silly but some mental support always gives you positivity and motivation. It helps you calm yourself, relax and take some time out.
Yes, that’s right make a plan, when in stress you sought to mix everything and finally end up with incomplete work. It is better to make a plan that will help you have some sense of control and you could complete the work step by step. When you have a plan, you get a feeling that at least you have done something and you have power over the situation.
While you plan something make sure you include the following things −
● How can I maintain a healthy lifestyle (with appropriate amounts of diet, sleep, and exercise during this period?
● What changes will I need to make to my lifestyle?
● How will my routine help me during this period?
● How might my routine change?
● How can I use the triple A approach to handle this situation?
● What relaxation techniques might be appropriate?
● What support systems can I rely on?
Maintaining a stress log can help you analyze your major stressors and it can help you identify trends in those stressors. After you identify the reason behind your stress, it will ultimately help you in identifying the cause of stress that can help you reduce the scope with stress.
Generally, a stress log includes −
● What happened?
● When did it happen?
● Where did it happen?
● How high was my stress level, on a scale of one to ten? (1 = Not Stressed, 5 = Moderately Stressed, 10 = Close to a nervous breakdown)
● How did I feel?
● Why did this event cause me stress?
● What did I do about it?
● What would I like to do differently next time?
It is better you copy this form to a spiral notebook or a three ring binder to create a stress log, you can always alter it according to your needs. Refer to the steps given below to maintain a stress log.
The first step for maintaining a stress log is to collect information. The first stage of using a stress log is to gather information. Every time you are stressed or anxious note it in your stress log, maintain it for seven days at least. It is better to maintain a journal every night and conclude it by all activities of your day and stress related feelings.
After the first week, sit with your journal and a blank piece of paper. Now rate all your stressful events on the scale of one to ten. Then write the most stressful events you have faced in the entire week. Then write down those events which caused stress frequently.
Complete this by adding those events which actually caused you stress, but you forgot to mention it in the log. When the first week is over, sit down with your journal and a blank piece of paper. Finally, you will be able to determine the major stressors and create a plan for each.
Things which you might consider including in your stress log −
● Which A (Alter, Avoid, Accept) would be the best in coping with this situation?
● How changing lifestyle habits (in diet, sleep, exercise, routine, and organization) can help you relieve stress?
● What relaxation techniques could help me cope with this stress?
● What resources (like support systems and outside help) can help me reduce this stress? or
● What will my final plan look like?
To be successful with your stress management, it is better to start with small goals that could be easily achieved over a period of time. If you find it difficult to determine a particular stressor, try talking to your friends and family as they might be of help to you.
This is the best part of the program. Put all your plans into action. Take small parts of your stress management plan at a time and add them into your life. Experiment with all the parts for a while to get the best part which suits your lifestyle.
In case, if it doesn’t work out, make a note of your efforts and move ahead for a different plan. Make it a habit to add new tools and habits into your lifestyle in this worksheet for stress management.
This note should include the following −
● What was my stress level the last time I reviewed my plan?
● What is my stress level now?
● What has changed?
● What stressors have been added to my life?
● What stressors have been removed from my life?
● How should my plan change?
● What stress management techniques have been working for me? What techniques have not been working? How should my plan change?
● What is my plan for the next week?
● When will I review my plan again?
At first, it is difficult to maintain a good stress management strategy and act accordingly, but eventually, this will help reduce your stress levels. Gradually you can reduce review to once a month or less according to your convenience. If you feel the events are becoming more and more stressful, then go back to week one and start again.