Sort and Long-Term Ways to Decrease Stress and Avoid Overwhelm
Stress is an inevitable part of life; We are emotional beings! The good thing is, there are lots of ways we can manage it.
Working on our emotions makes us stronger, happier and more resilient, to be the best version of ourselves, and the best dads too.
Taking time to regulate and understand your emotions is important (and respectable!). So, if you are looking for some tips on keeping the bad feelings at bay, you’ve come to the right place!
Let’s have a look some short- and long-term methods for curbing and understanding your stress and anger…
SHORT TERM MANAGEMENT
How can we reduce stress on a day-to-day basis?
Not everyone will fall into the same mould when it comes to stress and anger management. However, the only way to find out what works for you is through trial and error!
Work from the inside out.
Listen to your body, as it is fully connected to your mind! This can look like:
Keeping track of the basics
It’s crazy how much these simple things can massively influence your ability to regulate your emotions. Keeping on top of the basics ensures a stable baseline, for the best chance of avoiding burn out and anger outbursts. Ask the questions:
Are you getting enough sleep? Eating a balanced diet? Drinking enough water? Doing enough exercise?
Top tip – Variety is key to keeping on top of basic needs. Switch up your workout routine, cook some new recipes, walk in new places. Keep it stimulating to motivate yourself to keep on top!
This can be helpful if you need a short fix from feeling overwhelmed, agitated or angry. This could involve breathing exercises – grounding techniques that activate your senses such as the 5 Sense Grounding Exercise – aka naming the things you can see, smell, hear, taste and touch to recentre yourself.
If you are feeling panicked, angry or stressed, regulating your heartrate with breathing exercises and mindfulness will help you to relax and think clearly again. The more you practice mindfulness, the greater the benefits on your mental wellbeing over time, and the easier it will become to manage and prevent stress and anger on a daily basis.
Follow the link for our Introduction to Mindfulness to get started!
Time management – Questions around work life balance:
Are you making enough time in your day to rest / do something for yourself?
Are you overworking yourself recently?
What is most important to you? Are you giving enough time to it?
The answers to these types of questions can help you evaluate if your stress is related to an imbalance in work and life.
Having a balanced lifestyle can help tame stress levels. For example, it’s all well and good to spend all your free time with family, but do you put aside enough time just for you? Time to be alone, reflect or practice hobbies and see friends? This balance is important, to avoid burn out in out in the other areas of life, such as parenting, relationships and work.
Form new healthy habits
Try writing a list of things that make you feel happy, relaxed and contented. Work out how you can add them in to your daily / weekly routine.
Some healthy habits could include:
1. Leaving work at work.
This allows you to just enjoy the time you have outside of work to spend quality time with family, relax and let your mind rest. Making time for hobbies and finding ways to have fun and laugh will break up stress cycles in your head. Laughter is the best medicine, as they say! Why not try something new with your kids so you can share the fun and laughter together and get that bonding time in!
2. Time in nature.
Nature does wonders for wellbeing, as shown in scientific research such as this study: April 4, 2019, Frontiers in Psychology, which explores how even a short amount of time in nature can significantly reduce cortisol (stress) levels. If you can add in a trip to nature at least once a week, you should begin to feel your stress levels shifting, your overall health improving, and your productivity boosting. The more time you spend, the more you will feel the change.
3. Optimising your sleep
You can measure your sleep levels using apps to track sleeping patterns and manage sleep cycles. Here is a list of: The Best Sleep Apps of 2023. If you feel you might be getting poor quality sleep, it’s also good to look at things such as diet, caffeine, alcohol consumption and levels of exercise. Exercise is a fantastic way to let off steam and reduce stress levels. Get those endorphins flowing!
The brilliant thing about forming healthy habits is they all play into one another: the more you exercise, the healthier you want to eat, the stronger and more mentality robust you feel, and your sleep will become deeper too! Once you start improving your life in one area, you should find other areas will follow, and inspiration to change will be more powerful. So, go do it!
LONG TERM MANAGEMENT
1. Understanding the sources of your stress
What are your triggers?
Once you understand what is at core of your stress, you can start to work on it more deeply.
Ask yourself – is it something I can resolve right now, or does it need more long-term work?
Example of a short-term stress situation: The kids are being loud, work was full on, and you’ve just tripped and dropped your dinner all over the carpet. You feel your stress levels rising. Possible solution: Take those deep breaths, remind yourself that this feeling of anger is temporary and will pass. Evaluate the situation and take one thing at a time, stay calm. Remind yourself that you got this.
Example of a long-term stress situation: You’re drowning in work, finding it impossible to balance your life, and feeling like you are missing out on family time and me time. When you are at home, you spend all your time stressed about work. Possible solution: Figure out whether the pressure of the job is worth the effects on your health and relationships – avoid overtime, learn to say no to extra work, or look for a new job if needs be. This type of situation would need you to tackle the stress at the root cause.
2. Open up to loved ones
Talking about what it is that’s stressing you out can help to lighten the load and point you in the right direction. Confiding in a loved one should make you feel supported, and more able to rationalise your stress and anger out loud. Together you can discuss what is it that’s making you feel stressed or angry, and what support you might need / what you can do for yourself.
3. Break down bad habits
Understanding the bad habits will be important to regulating yourself better. If you have long term bad habits, it may take some time to unpick them. These could involve the ways you respond to anger, things that contribute to stress levels such as drinking, gambling or spending too much time on your phone.
Follow the link for our article on breaking bad habits and forming new healthy ones here: Positive Habit Formation for Busy Dads
The key to promoting calmness in your mind often lies within your lifestyle, habits and thinking patterns. Practicing mindfulness, exercising more and regularly spending time in nature can shift your mindset, to think more positively and be more equipped to handle stress. Assessing your unhealthy habits and replacing them with ones that allow you time to breathe and take a break gives you a chance to unwind. Take a step back and assess what it is that’s causing the stress, to see if you can get to the root of it and make the necessary changes, whilst looking after yourself daily in the meantime.
Remember, a little stress is normal, but it should never rule your life!