Stress management: how to manage overwhelm and find a work-life balance
Stress affects us all. Some amount of stress is good for us – it's helpful, keeps us motivated to complete tasks, helps us understand what is important to us, and so can help keep our lives on track. Severe or chronic stress, however, is not good for anyone. Not only will extreme stress inhibit you from being able to carry out your daily responsibilities, it can also have long-term physical and mental health implications.
The symptoms of stress
Sometimes, we know we are stressed. We can feel that we are overwhelmed. This might show up in our work – maybe your concentration or memory is struggling; your relationships – you might be more irritable with your partner or family; your health – perhaps you struggle from insomnia or digestive problems when you are stressed. At other times, however, we might not realise how stressed we are. Stress has a dangerous way of sneaking up on people, and burnout is an ever-more prevalent issue.
When we are stressed, our bodies are flooded with cortisol and adrenaline. These are important hormones that help us respond to threat when we need to – they are what triggers the fight, flight, freeze response, directing blood away from our brains to our muscles, priming us for quick reactions. While useful in a life and death situation, in modern times we are more likely to perceive threat in a low-level but chronic manner – our phones, the 24-hour news cycle, our inboxes, to-do lists.
The symptoms of stress might include:
- feeling tired all the time
- tension in your muscles
- brain fog
- difficulty concentrating
- problems sleeping
- a racing mind
- tightness in the chest
- digestive problems
- skin problems
- feeling overwhelmed
- difficulty making decisions
- feeling tearful
Stress is different for everyone – what one person finds stressful might not even register as a big deal to another, and vice versa. The reasons why some people get more stressed than others are complex: find out more here.
There are lots of things we can do to manage our own stress levels, such as:
- integrating good self-care
- setting proper boundaries between our work life and personal life
- eating well
- prioritising sleep
- trying mindfulness exercises
- having an outlet – something that takes us outside of our heads, something that engages us
Sometimes, even if you do manage to do some or all of the above, you might need support. This is where stress management coaching comes in.
Stress management coaching: how does it work?
Working with a stress coach means giving yourself dedicated time and space to really understand what triggers your stress and what your stress symptoms are. Stress management coaching supports you in evaluating your work life and home life, your emotional and physical health, to see where there might be space to develop some new coping strategies. Stress coaching will equip you with techniques and strategies to help you develop a better, long-lasting relationship to stress.
Your stress coach will develop and implement healthy action plans to manage your stress, assist you in setting better boundaries, and teach you relaxation techniques that you can use whenever you feel your stress levels rising.
Stress management coaches will also help you develop your emotional and mental resilience. We cannot control what life throws at us and some amount of stress is inevitable. Working with a stress coach will empower you to respond more helpfully to stress in the future.
Further reading on coaching
Last updated 10 November 2020