Stress is a normal reaction to the demands of everyday life. While a small amount can be useful and even motivating, too much stress can push you beyond your ability to cope.

Your brain comes hard-wired with an alarm system for your protection—a ‘fight-or-flight’ response. When we’re stressed, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones, increasing your heart rate and raising your blood pressure to deal with it. Once the stressful situation has passed, the body should return to a more relaxed state. However, sometimes these situations can compound, so our alarm systems don’t get the chance to shut off, leading to that familiar ‘stressed out’ feeling.

Hectic schedules, a feeling of uncertainty, and changes in your routine can all lead to increased stress levels, so it’s more important than ever to alleviate stress whenever you can. Too much stress can lead to many health issues like insomnia, anxiety, or depression, and even physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, and back pain.

As more and more stress comes our way through the demands of our lives, it’s essential to have access to a variety of tools and strategies to help us manage it. Here are a few simple things you can try to reduce your stress levels:

Plan your day and prioritize your tasks. Before beginning to panic about the long list of things you want to get done, set realistic goals for the day and deadlines for when you want the tasks completed. Do not rush and always have a backup plan in case you run into a speed bump along the way

Focus on things you can control. Break large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones instead of trying to tackle a large project all at once

Take steps slowly. Before acting, think about the result that you want and the best way to get there. Don’t take shortcuts

Use all available resources. Seek out resources to help you get things done, such as your spouse,
children, a knowledgeable relative, books, and websites

Take short breaks. When you start to feel anxious, take a break. Have a glass of water, read a chapter in a book, or go for a short walk. Breaks will get your mind off the task for a few moments and allow you to feel a bit more refreshed

Know you’re not alone. We all feel stressed at times, and it can often seem as though everyone is handling things much better than you. Remember, everyone has struggled with something, so it is important to give yourself a break every once in a while when you’re experiencing challenges

If the stresses in your life become more than you can bear or manage with these simple techniques, consider seeking professional assistance. A knowledgeable professional will be able to work with you to devise time management skills, stress-reducing techniques, and coping mechanisms.