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New Year Stress Management with Red Swan

by Holli Young |

For many of us the start of a New Year actually brings with it stress, as modern day life often feels frenzied and chaotic; pressured and overwhelming.

Learning some simple coping strategies will help you to manage stress more effectively.

Try this exercise: visualise your capacity to cope with stress as a glass and your pressures as water constantly pouring into the glass; just as your life is filled with a constant stream of daily responsibilities to cope with. When we are clear-headed and managing stress well the water is tipped out continually; as our coping strategies enable us to pour out a little at a time, keeping it at a manageable level.

When we are feeling tired, stressed, or overwhelmed the water keeps pouring in and we do not have the techniques to empty out the excess. Our capacity to cope is reduced or even eliminated completely.

Over time eventually the glass fills and overflows... this can lead to issues including anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts and negative coping behaviours, including the misuse of alcohol or medications. Physical symptoms may persist like palpitations, fatigue, headaches, stomach problems, aches/pains and high blood pressure.

Coping skills

There are lots of skills you can explore to help yourself manage stress and, if possible, learn how to incorporate these techniques into daily or weekly habits. This may take time and practice, but you will come to appreciate that it is an invaluable investment of your time and energy. If your situation is extreme, it is important to seek help from your GP.

Tips to finding FREEDOM from stress

  • Friend – be your own best friend; support yourself with compassion and the help of others
  • Relaxation – give yourself time to fully relax, daily if possible, or at least a few times a week
  • Exhale – learn to breathe deeply and calmly, become aware of your breathing
  • Exercise - consistent weekly exercise, whatever you enjoy, without overdoing it
  • Diet – a healthy balanced diet, not restrictive, be sensible and allow yourself treats
  • Order – less chaos equals less stress, explore some time management techniques
  • Meditation – try different approaches, mindfulness and yoga are helpful