Wellness Champion

Keeping Your Mind and Body Balanced: Seven Useful Techniques to Manage Stress

Written by Kate

Stress is a common and inevitable part of life. From work deadlines to personal responsibilities, it sometimes doesn’t take much to tip over the balance and make everything you are juggling feel overwhelming.

While the state of heightened emergency that came with the COVID-19 pandemic is fading further into memory, the stress of its aftermath still impacts many Americans. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, over a quarter of U.S. adults report being so stressed that they can’t function.

When left untreated, sustained exposure to stress not only has a detrimental effect on individuals’ health, but it also, by extension, impacts the organizations they work for through strain on performance, lower engagement, and absenteeism.

The good news is that organizations and their employees can work together to manage stress effectively and maintain a sense of balance. In this blog post, we’ll delve into seven powerful stress management techniques that can help employees navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and resilience.

1. Taking Purposeful Breaks

In this age of fast and dynamic workplaces, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life without taking a moment to pause and recharge. When there is so much to get done, many people may feel guilty taking breaks. 

However, according to research, taking breaks is essential in order to maintain productivity, focus, and overall well-being. Whether it’s a short walk outside, a few minutes of stretching, or simply closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths, find moments throughout the day to step away from your tasks and give yourself a mental break. You’ll return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to tackle whatever challenges come your way.

2. Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and acceptance. For first-timers, a helpful tip is to take deep breaths and observe the moment through one’s senses, whether this means observing one’s breathing patterns or taking a mental “scan” of every section of one’s body to observe how it “feels.” Meditation and deep breathing exercises are powerful tools to calm the mind and keep stress under control. 

Cultivating mindfulness as a habit can help develop a greater sense of clarity, focus, and resilience in the face of stress. Other useful ways to incorporate mindfulness into daily routine include mindful eating, mindful walking, or simply taking a few moments to pause and tune into the senses. As individuals become more mindful, they will be better able to manage stress and navigate life’s ups and downs.

3. Exercising Regularly

Regular physical activity is not just essential for physical health but also for mental well-being. Exercise helps release endorphins, chemicals in your brain that act as natural mood lifters. Whether it’s going for a run, hitting the gym, or simply taking a brisk walk, find an activity that you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine. Even just 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week can make a significant difference in reducing stress levels and boosting overall well-being.

4. Getting Enough Sleep

Getting adequate sleep is essential for both your physical and mental health. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more stress hormones like cortisol, which can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and tension. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to help you unwind and prepare for sleep. Avoid screens and stimulating activities before bed, and create a comfortable sleep environment that promotes restful sleep. By prioritizing sleep, you’ll not only feel more refreshed and energized but also better equipped to cope with stress.

5. Keeping a Healthy Diet

The food you eat plays a significant role in your stress levels and overall well-being. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can provide essential nutrients that support your body’s ability to cope with stress. Avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and processed foods, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety and fatigue. Instead, focus on nourishing your body with wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that support optimal health and vitality.

6. Setting Healthy Boundaries

Setting boundaries is often easier said than done, but it is crucial for protecting your time, energy, and well-being. Learn to say no to activities and commitments that drain you or cause unnecessary stress. Prioritize your own needs and make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine.

Communicate your boundaries clearly and assertively with others, and don’t be afraid to enforce them when necessary. By setting healthy boundaries, you’ll create space for what truly matters to you and reduce feelings of overwhelm and burnout.

7. Focus on What You Can Control

Lastly, it’s essential to focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t. Accept that there will always be things outside of your control, and instead, direct your energy toward the aspects of your life that you can influence.

This includes letting go of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations, and cultivating a mindset of flexibility and resilience. By focusing on what you can control, you’ll empower yourself to take proactive steps toward managing stress and creating a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Key Takeaways

There is no shortcut to becoming good at managing stress effectively. It’s a skill that requires ongoing practice, patience, and self-awareness. By incorporating these seven techniques into daily routine, individuals can cultivate greater resilience, balance, and well-being in the face of life’s challenges.

While stress is a natural part of the human experience, it doesn’t have to dictate one’s quality of life. With mindfulness, self-care, and a proactive approach to stress management, people can navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and ease. A well-designed workplace wellness program can provide an effective framework to help support employees toward their stress management goals. To stay on top of our wellness tips, sign up for our monthly HR and Wellness newsletter or check out more articles from our blog.

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

Get the scoop on wellness

Running a wellness program is a big job! We're here to help.

Join the 19,000+ other readers who visit this blog every month!

Subscribe to our bi-weekly Tuesday newsletter for the latest wellness program tips, insights, and stories.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter