Stress Awareness Month 2024

April 15, 2024
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Discover effective stress management strategies, personal anecdotes and expert tips for enhancing well-being and productivity amidst life's challenges.

Managing Stress: Personal Insights and Strategies

When I threw my name in the hat for writing this “Stress Management” piece, I thought would have been a breeze. But try a quick Google search on stress and stress management and you’ll see that for such a specific topic, there are so many models, self-help guides and suggestions of the best ways to deal with it out there.

Navigating Life's Challenges

I also wanted to make it more personal to myself and offer up some tips and tricks that I use. The last 5-6 months alone have been very challenging at times, with the passing of my Gran; my dad having a heart attack; a breakup; and a cancer diagnosis to a very close family member. Now add single parenting a seven year old; training for a full Triathlon amidst racking up offshore days, and admittedly it can get a little overwhelming.

Finding Solace in Exercise

The number one management tool for myself is exercise. I’m pretty invested in Triathlon and have been since around 2018. I also enjoy kettlebells so I’ve a multitude of outlets but have been ramping up the race distances the last 1-2 years from sprint to half/full distance. This can cause stress due to the volume and intensity required. But for me, there really is nothing better than stretching my legs around a trail or coastal run/bike route when I get home. It calms my mind and it’s a very welcome change from the treadmill or Wattbike!

Taming the Caffeine Habit

The past few years I’ve reduced my caffeine intake - even though in the yard you may see me sipping on a can of Monster! Despite this, I try to limit any caffeine after afternoon tea breaks. I’ll also bring Decaf coffee with me, just to mix it up during the day. Lowering caffeine intake rolls nicely into my next point: SLEEP.

Embracing Restful Sleep

Another quick Google search on sleep and healthy sleep patterns will again yield many results. There’s a vast array of information out there for us.

Whilst I’m proud to have served in the Royal Marines, it also ruined certain things for me. The main one probably being sleep. This is because you just don’t get that much of it!

I tend to have an overactive mind and find it difficult to switch off. Something that really helps me is audiobooks and sleep podcasts. I find the audiobooks most helpful in allowing my brain to disengage and drift off.

Overcoming Work Stress

Lastly, but by no means least, is work. If you’re like me and can be guilty of not seeing the endpoint or you might get too drawn into perceived barriers. What I find useful is focussing on a small chunk at a time, followed by continually reassessing after you’ve completed that small chunk. In essence, breaking larger tasks down into smaller more manageable ones. You avoid feeling overwhelmed yet you’re still steadily working your way through what needs to be done.

I’ll end with it’s important to note that what works for one, doesn’t always work for another. We’re all different people and we all think and go about our lives in different ways. It’s all about finding what works for you. The above are just a few things that work for me, and I hope some of them might help you too.

Graeme Broomhall

Flare FSE Fire Safety Technician

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