How to Create a Personal Stress Management Plan
Are you feeling stressed but don’t know what you should do to help with the negative thoughts and feelings? Stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed and anxious yet with some simple steps it is possible to change how you feel. So using our years of experience in mental health we are going to teach you how to create a personal stress management plan to change how you feel.
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Stress Management Solutions
Finding stress management solutions doesn’t have to be difficult but first of all, you have to recognize that you are in fact stressed. The problem is that stress has a bad habit of creeping up on you so that you don’t always notice it at first. Working late regularly or juggling too many balls in the air at once becomes normalized and accepted until finally one additional stressor tips you over the edge.
Our clients have a great ability to push themselves to their limits until finally, something breaks. An illness, a financial headache, or an extra commitment stops them in their tracks and suddenly they realize that the stress that they have been dealing with is overwhelming them and threatening their mental and physical health. This is when we have to come with up a personal stress management plan to help them get back on track.
Unhelfpul Stress Managment Strategies
The problem is that too many people not only have too much stress in their lives they also use unhelpful stress management strategies as a way of coping with the problem. These can include:
- Drinking every night to forget about the stress.
- Smoking too much to take breaks.
- Eating too much as a form of comfort.
- Taking drugs.
- Mainlining Coffee.
- Getting Angry and Impatient.
Whilst these might seem to help in the short term they often create more problems in the longer term. We have to re-educate our clients on better solutions to make a real difference.
Personal Stress Management Action Plan
So how do you create a personal stress management plan? Well, let’s start with the four basics of stress management that we use:
- Identifying Where the Stress Is Coming From
- Finding Methods to Manage or Stop Those Stressors
- Using Stress Relief Strategies In Other Areas
- Altering Part Underlying Thought Processes That Contribute to Your Stress.
Identifying Stressors – To deal with stress you first have to learn where it is coming from. Sometimes this is obvious but on other occasions, it is more difficult to pinpoint. Our stress management worksheet download can help you to think about what or whom may be making you stressed.
Managing Obvious Stressors – When you have identified the areas and people that are causing you stress you now need to take positive action to alter how you feel. So if for example you are stressed because you are working too many hours a simple solution might be to cut those hours back to give you time out. Again our stress management worksheet can help you with some solutions.
General Stress Relief Strategies – In addition to taking action against any stressors where possible you need to also practice general stress relief strategies. We have included a large number of strategies to help you to lower stress later on in this article. These strategies should be practiced regularly and consistently.
Changing Underlying Thought Processes – Sometimes the stress that our clients are feeling is not necessarily from an external source but actually comes from internal thoughts or pressures. For example, if you are a perfectionist you may push yourself to limits that other people might not. Understanding your internal thoughts and how they might be impacting your health and energy levels may be important for a proportion of people creating a stress management plan.
Our stress management plan worksheets pdf can help you to change stressful elements in your life. Download our stress self-help worksheets from our online store.
Stress Management Treatment Plan
So what is causing you to stress in your life? In order to solve the problem and manage stress, you have to first know what is causing it. Sit down and think about what might be causing you problems? Think about:
- Thought Processes
Write down specifics so that you can think about how to tackle them. Whilst you may not be able to resolve things straight away you may be able to limit your exposure to them or put in place stress-reducing strategies that could work over a period of time.
For example, if your work is causing you to feel stressed you may not be able to give up your job in the short term but you might be able to lower your hours, change departments, take a holiday or start looking for alternative employment.
There are always solutions even though you might not be able to implement everything immediately. Learning to manage or limit your exposure to your immediate stressors can go a long way to making you manage stress better.
Stress Reduction Plan
If however, you are serious at learning to create a personal stress management plan it makes sense to go much further and also tackle your lifestyle to help you deal with stress better. Our mental and physical health is never just impacted by one thing but a whole host of issues that feed into the problem.
Whilst you may never get perfection when you are trying to balance elements in your life you can certainly aim to do better than you are now. Small changes all add up and that can have a significant impact on your stress levels as a whole.
Here are our top tips and strategies for reducing stress and helping you to feel calmer and more relaxed.
Sleep and Stress Reduction
If there is one thing that will help you to cope with stress more than almost anything else it is getting a good night’s sleep. When you are well-rested you are able to think more clearly, you feel calmer and you are able to cope with things more easily.
Get a bad night’s rest however and you are tired and more irritable. Small stressors can become amplified and you feel less in control. Studies have shown there is a direct link between stress and poor sleep quality and that sleep hygiene should be taught to help people manage the problem.
Even one night’s bad rest can have a negative impact on how you feel so think about what a lack of proper sleep over a number of nights can do.
So if you want to start changing the stress levels in your life prioritizing your sleep is of the utmost importance. Aim to get between 7 and 9 hours a night.
Now of course if you are stressed it can be hard to switch off initially to get the sleep that you need. To help yourself relax consider using sleep aids such as the Dodow machine which helps to calm your mind. Use sleep sprays that harness the power of aromatherapy to help the mind switch off or even tablets such as Melatonin.
For a natural solution to relax the mind and reduce stress our Sleep Deeply Self-Hypnosis Download has been created to switch off a busy brain so that you can get a great night’s rest.
Creating a Work Stress Management Plan
We know from experience with thousands of clients over the years that work anxiety and stress can be behind many of our client’s problems. This can either be from company demands, problems with managers or work colleagues, or personal pressures that our clients put on themselves.
If you are starting a new job your best stress management plan is to agree on your work boundaries before you start. Make it clear how many hours you want to work and ask for details on how many extra hours may be required if any. When you are signing a new contract make sure you haven’t agreed to terms that will take over your life and that of your family.
Managing stress before it gets out of hand is always the simplest and easiest route to take. If your managers know that you will work from 8 to 5 and no longer this isn’t a problem. It is harder to make changes when you have continually been worked over your hours and the additional time is almost expected from your company.
We understand that additional hours are often part of life but to manage your stress only agree to do them for a short period of time or limit the amount you will do in one week. So you may choose to work a few hours longer for one or two days but make sure that you go home on time for the remainder otherwise your family life may suffer.
Also, make sure that you are not putting pressure on yourself to achieve things that aren’t coming from the company you are working for. Many of our clients are their own worst enemies as they work well over their allotted hours and burn themselves out. Effective stress management means stepping back sometimes to protect your well-being.
Managing Stress in The Workplace is a great book on the subject that can help you with ideas on how to alter negative working conditions.
Meditation and Stress Reduction
Meditation is one of the perfect activities that you can do to reduce your stress levels and relax your body. It is a highly relaxing and calming activity that reduces your blood pressure and can help you to reduce or even eliminate your stress often within one short session.
Even better meditation is something that you can practice almost everywhere. Whilst we recommend that our clients set up a meditation zone in their house or garden you don’t have to do this. All you need is somewhere peaceful to sit for ten to twenty minutes to relax and focus your mind.
There are some great products out there to help you take time out to slow down your mind and your body and help with that focus. We love the Solu Tone Therapy Meditation Device which uses sound to help you relax your mind and reduce anxiety.
There are also some great meditation cushions that you can buy to set up your own zone in your home where you can relax your mind.
Manage Stress With Exercise
Exercise is well known for being an activity that can benefit mental and physical health the only problem is that most people do not do enough. Studies have shown that regular exercise is great at helping people to manage perceived stress which is why it should be added to any stress relief program you are creating.
Here are just some of the benefits of exercise for stress-relief:
- It Helps Remove Tension in the Body
- Boosts Energy Levels
- Releases Feel-Good Endorphins
- Assists with Relaxation
- It Helps You Focus
- Improves Your Sleep
Plus exercise helps you to get healthy. Life can be stressful but with the right personal stress management plan, you can help yourself to feel better. In fact, even a small amount of exercise has positive benefits.
Whilst you can choose to exercise and get healthy indoors there are additional benefits of getting outside and doing exercise in nature. Remember you don’t have to be doing something very strenuous such as running. Even a brisk walk once a day can help you to manage stress.
The key to reducing stress with exercise is consistency. Just pencil it in your diary and see what a difference it can make to how you feel.
There are some great foldable or small treadmills that you can use at home if the weather is bad. Having one of these makes it easier for you to stick to your goals and get your exercise done.
Self-Hypnosis As Part Of a Personal Stress Management Program
One thing that most people overlook when it comes to stress is self-hypnosis as a way of calming the mind and helping focus. If you lead a stressful life it is a simple and easy way of helping you to relax, visualize differently and feel more positive. Self-hypnosis techniques can be learned but the simplest and easiest way to get results is with an audio download which guides you to a calmer place in your mind and helps you to focus your thoughts.
Self-hypnosis isn’t magic as some people would like to believe but it as you can of course reject the suggestions that you might be given when you listen to your download. But for most people, it has a profound impact on your mind and body when it comes to relaxing.
Regular listening to stress reduction self-hypnosis downloads can be life-changing when it comes to making you feel calmer and more able to deal with problems that come your way. The key as consistency so it many respects it is similar to exercise. You can’t expect to get healthy after one session of self-hypnosis but you can expect to see improvements over time.
Our self-hypnosis download for relaxation and stress reduction can be found in our online store.
Setting Boundaries to Reduce Stress
Effective boundary setting can make a world of difference to your stress symptoms because it forces you to limit problem areas in your life. Our lives can be stressful as it is but they are often made worse by others placing you in positions that you don’t necessarily want to be in.
We regularly see clients who have had parts of their lives eroded by other’s demands leaving them unable to cope. This could be their children asking them to regularly take care of their grandchildren, work asking for extra hours that you can ill afford to give, or friends continually asking for favours that you don’t have time for.
The key to effective boundary setting to help you feel better is clearly stating what you can and can’t do and exercising the word no when you feel that others have gone too far. People will continue to push boundaries if they know they can get away with it. When they are given a firm and polite no a few times they will stop asking. Make sure you cultivate healthy relationships rather than becoming a pushover.
Read Boundaries When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend if you are having problems in this area.
Healthy Eating to Reduce Stress
It might seem strange to have a personal stress management plan that includes recommendations for food but in fact, a healthy diet can make a difference. If you are eating processed foods and comfort eating it can make you tired, sluggish, lower your energy levels and even make you anxious. Eating healthy foods is one of our top tips to lower symptoms of stress.
Eating healthy foods such as complex carbs, protein, good fats, and natural ingredients actually helps with stress relief. In particular, you are stabilizing your blood sugar to prevent energy crashes. You are helping to cut inflammation, cut cortisol, and reduce adrenaline.
Don’t let your stressful lifestyle make you lose focus when it comes to eating better. Instead, plan your meals and prioritize healthy home-cooked food over convenience store offerings or takeaways.
Try using the cookbook Meals that Heal to help you choose a more positive approach to your diet.
Self-Care Techniques As a Coping Mechanism
In the past self-care techniques were often overlooked as a coping mechanism for stress but increasingly they are being accepted as a great way to help. Self-care covers a huge array of activities but what it really means is doing something positive for yourself to help your well-being.
Nothing in self-care is considered a waste of time when it comes to looking after yourself and your mental health. That means you can spend time watching TV, having a bath with these rose-scented bath bombs, doing something creative, or reading a book to relieve stress symptoms.
Read our article on how to practice self-care at home to get ideas on what you could be doing to mitigate a stressful life.
Mindfulness to Reduce Stress
Mindfulness is a great way to help with stressful situations as it is a proven effective coping strategy to help with your mental health. Plus it isn’t expensive or difficult to use which means it is accessible to everyone.
To take the first step a simple book such as Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World can give you the coping mechanisms you need to deal with your triggers.
Mindfulness can involve techniques such as mindful breathing or walking to help keep you grounded in the present and give you relief from any emotional problems.
Deep Breathing to Relax the Body and Mind
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best when dealing with the negative impact of stress. Deep breathing as a form of stress relief is a perfect example of a tool that you can use as a coping mechanism and help you to feel calmer and more relaxed.
There are numerous breath exercises available on the internet to help you lower stress. One of our favorites is the 7/11 breathing method because of its simplicity. Simply breathe in for the count of 7 and out for the count of 11. If you can’t manage to last for that number of counts just make sure your out-breath is longer than your in-breath.
You can practice this technique for five minutes and you should find yourself feeling calmer relatively quickly.
The Healing Power of the Breath is a great book to help you deal with stress and anxiety more easily through breathing techniques.
Stress Management Plan Worksheet
To help you create your own strategy for coping with stress we have created a download to help you take the first step in managing problem areas in your life. Our personal stress management plan worksheet pdf pack can assist you in identifying where your stress is coming from and give you strategies to help you deal with any problem areas.
You can purchase the stress management plan in our online shop to download immediately. As the stress management worksheet is printable you can download sheets whenever you need them.
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