10 Alternative Ways to Relieve Stress
Working in the field of diplomacy and international relations, even if you love what you do, can be stressful at times, as former Ambassador of Russia to the United Nations and seasoned diplomat Vitaly Churkin during an interview said: “[…] quite a few of my colleagues find themselves working in rather stressful and difficult circumstances. […] I do not regret that I chose a career in diplomacy. It would be a lie to say that it is an easy one, indeed there are some hard moments in the life of a diplomat of a country. […] However, we are where we are and we need to act accordingly and continue to live”.
As a diplomat you have to work with people from other cultures and with different values and political beliefs, which is not always an easy task. And you must be able to stay calm in difficult situations as sooner or later you may for instance experience pressure to meet a deadline into your ever-expanding schedule, to fulfill a demanding obligation or to negotiate and possibly reach a very challenging agreement.
But at the same time life goes on, as former ambassador Churkin highlighted, and it is hence of vital importance that you adopt some strategies that might help you relieve stress, or avoid it altogether, so that you can recharge yourself and feel reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best and face any challenge that may arise so that things can run smoothly.
Therefore, in this article you will learn about a series of convenient and simple strategies that may help you deal with stress and possibly help you feel better and more relaxed.
You may want to use just one or a combination of the suggested tips and try which ones fit better your needs and preferences and ultimately work better for you. Here are our top ten suggestions to relieving stress.
1. Exercise regularly
Generally, all exercise is a great way to relieve stress and make you feel good. If yoga is not an option, try going to the gym, take a walk, jog, join a boxing class, go to the swimming pool or maybe go to the nearest football field or basketball court and ask people if you can join the game. And if the weather allows you to, try spending some time outdoors by hiking, taking a walk to the beach or to the park. You can start slowly, perhaps by taking a walk at lunch or to your way home or work. Try also to focus on the breeze, the trees or the sounds you are hearing on your walk. This can help you blow off steam, lift your mood, and as an added benefit help you stay in shape.
2. Get a relaxing massage
Everybody loves a massage, right? But did you know that it has been used as a stress reliever for thousands of years? A good massage helps improve circulation, relaxes tense muscles and makes you feel good all over. There are various massaging techniques, so find which ones work better for you. And yes it could be somewhat costly, but considering that you could perhaps get a massage just once a week or even once a month to get some great benefits it is surely worth the financial effort.
3. Be social and hang out with people
Spending time with family, friends, and loved ones can make you feel better. When you stay with someone you trust and love, you can be open with them, express thoughts, and feel a sense of connection and support. So, next time you are under pressure, sit down with your beloved ones or call your best friend and unload a little. You will surely feel better. You are alone and new to the city? Well, then try to build your network of friends, maybe by joining a club of some kind or engaging in some activities offered by the local community or neighborhood. Try also to develop friendships with co-workers, which can give you an outlet to share your thoughts and get things off your chest. Just the act of talking about your stress with someone often eliminates or reduces its severity.
4. Engage in some hobbies and enjoy your free time
Practicing some hobbies could greatly assist you in lowering your stress levels. Whether it is reading a novel, going to a concert or to the cinema, watching a football game or playing pool at the pub, make sure to set aside time for the things that bring you pleasure. Simply listening to your favorite music on your way home can help you relieve the stress you may have accumulated during a long day of work and help you relax. And you love travelling, but do not have time for a vacay? Well, opt then just for a short weekend trip. You will be amazed at how much refreshed you will feel, once you come back.
5. Practice some mediation and prayer
People from all around the world have used different forms of meditation and prayer for literally thousands of years to manage stress, deal with worry and anxiety and ultimately find peace of mind. Best of all, they can be both practiced conveniently at anytime, in almost any place and take very little time and suit therefore even the most packed schedules. So, try perhaps spending even as little as 5-10 minutes each day in silence by letting your thoughts run free. Focus on your breathing. Bring peace and quiet into your busy day. No matter how much or little time you have to commit, find a practice that works for you.
6. Unplug and set some boundaries
In today’s digital world, it is easy to feel pressure to be available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself and give your mind some time away from your working activities. That might mean making a rule not to check email from home in the evening, not answering the phone during dinner or going on vacation time to time, without constantly thinking about the duties of your job. Although people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life, creating some clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it.
7. Sleep better
Ironically, stress is a commonly cited cause of insomnia, but on the other hand, sleep deprivation is a common cause of stress. Try therefore to get your eight hours of sleep no matter what. Take a nap if you missed sleep. Prioritize it, and if you feel like you are not getting high-quality shut-eye, find strategies to improve it by establishing for example bedtime rituals that will signal to your brain that it is time to fall asleep.
8. Organize yourself
Organization and time management will help you not only deal with stress, but might also prevent it form happening in the first place. Organization offers you a sense of control and peace of mind, and there is a number of ways you could improve in this regard. If you are the kind of person who is always running around, it can help to make lists so that you remember everything. Some people feel anxious if they have too many commitments at once. Having a plan in place for the next necessary action can help to keep this anxiety at bay. Effective time management strategies might help you to focus on one task at a time. Book-based planners and online calendars may help, as can resisting the urge to multitask.
9. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal could help you identify which situations create the most stress, how you respond to them and what you may possibly do to avoid or overcome them. Taking notes about your thoughts, feelings and the environment, including the people and circumstances involved, the physical setting and how you react, might help you find patterns among your stressors, your reactions and suggest potential adjustments.
10. Enjoy your food
With a very busy schedule it is not always easy to find time to really enjoy your food. Eating in a hurry becomes therefore often times a daily routine. But making more mindful choices by eating a nutrient-dense whole foods diet and taking the time to really enjoy your food, perhaps together with your colleagues, instead of just having a random meal in your spare time, will not only help you disconnect from stress and relish yourself but will also give you the long-lasting energy you need to tackle everything that comes your way during the day.
* Warning disclaimer:
Any statement in this article has not been evaluated nor approved by any health authority. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are suffering from stress, anxiety or any illness, you should contact a certified and authorized healthcare professional or provider, who may be able to advise a correct treatment plan tailored to your specific health condition and needs.