We feel distressed when we that we cannot cope with the demands that we are faced with. There are two broad ways to deal with distress.

You can a) reduce demands or b) increase resources.

Reducing Demands

1) Say No
If you are overloaded with work, let people know. Everybody knows what it’s like to be buried under a mountain of work and are likely to be sympathetic to your plight. They can’t help you if they don’t know something is wrong.

2) Cut Your To-Do List
I know that I sometimes have unrealistic expectations of myself. I give myself too much to do in a day. Trim away the things you should do and focus on what you have to do. Try giving yourself just one thing to do each day.

3) Walk Away
There are lots of things that blindside us and leave us feeling trapped. How often are you actually trapped? If you feel that what you’re currently facing is too much to deal with in the moment, ask for a timeout or just walk away. Give yourself time to gather resources, then go back and face the situation better prepared.

4) Know When to Avoid Perfectionism
Aiming for perfection is everything is a recipe for disaster. Set reasonable standards for your work. A project that’s completed to ‘good enough’ is better than one that’s never finished because it isn’t perfect. I’m happy if I can do something better than I did the time before, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Increasing Resources

1) Hang Out With Friends
Talking to friends is a great way to relieve stress. Not only can they show you solutions you may not have thought of, having them there lets you know that you’re never alone in a situation.

2) Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
Exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep massively increases your ability to relieve and cope with stress.

3) Schedule Relaxation Time
Give yourself some set-in-stone time to recharge your batteries. This can be anything from enjoying nature, reading a good book to just doing nothing. Just 5 minutes in a green space has shown to have a positive impact on people’s mental state.

4) Accept You Can’t Control Everything
Accepting things are they are will give you more energy to focus on the things you can control. It can be difficult be it will free up resources you may not have realized you were wasting.

What things do you do that reduce stress in your life?