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Stress, Part Three: A Stress Buster Checklist

posted by KWCS Staff

A Stress Buster Checklist

Here's a list of some specific, practical things you can do to manage the stress in your life:


  1. Identify the sources of your stress. List the situations and problems causing you stress, no matter how small the issue. Try to determine which things cause you more stress than others.
  2. Eliminate all the sources of stress that you can. Identify the things you can control and eliminate or address them. 
  3. Learn to accept the things you can't change. Take time to grieve losses, personal or financial, but be prepared to go on and not dwell on the past.
  4. Break down challenges into smaller pieces and set priorities. Deal with one thing at a time so you don't get overwhelmed by the Big Picture. Not all problems have to be solved at once. Identify the ones that must be addressed first. Writing down the issues and possible solutions makes things clearer and more manageable.
  5. Don't let yourself, or others, expect too much of you. Learn how to say no sometimes!
  6. Set goals, but make sure they're realistic. Some of the Ways to Mental Wellbeing tools might be helpful.
  7. No matter how busy you are, take time off to do something for yourself. Give yourself permission to take a break. You'll be safer, clearer, and more productive after. Setting aside your problem for a time may give you the emotional -- and sometimes physical -- distance required to look at things in a new light. Your mind has the chance to work on the problem on a subconscious level and you may be able to re-examine the issue with more clarity and creativity.
  8. East nutritious meals and stay away from too much fatty or fast food. Stress wears down the body's resiliency. Maintaining your health not only helps you deal with stress, it also helps ward off illness that can make a stressful situation even worse.
  9. Get enough sleep. If you can't sleep, relaxing in a dark room is better than TV, pacing, or trying to figure out your bills in the middle of the night. Practicing mindfulness or meditation might help with sleep. Try out an app like Smiling Mind.
  10. Do moderate exercise. Exercise stops the release of toxins and increases the metabolism allowing stress toxins to be broken down and eliminated. Exercise also produces brain chemicals that boost your mood and relax you without the need for medication. Check out the Be Active page on the Ways to Mental Wellbeing site for ideas.
  11. Avoid drugs and alcohol. Go easy on the caffeine.
  12. Practice positive thinking and affirmations, such as: "I know I'm feeling down right now. I'll just take it one step at a time."; "How else can I think about this event?"; "How will this feel years from now?".
  13. Laugh! Under severe stress we often lose our sense of humour. It's interesting that children laugh about 400 times a day, compared to adults who laugh an average of 15 times.
  14. Nourish your relationships. Find joy and support in others. Take time for the people you care about. Check out the Connect page on the Ways to Mental Wellbeing site for ideas.
  15. Take your mind off your problems by helping others. Check regularly on people who might be more vulnerable than you, especially those who are older or living alone.
  16. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. This helps maintain balance in your life.
  17. Enjoy nature. It can awaken a deeper sensitivity to life and all its gifts.
  18. Reach out for help! Talk to a doctor, trusted friend, clergy, or a counsellor. It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help. 


In our next post we'll talk about learning how to bounce back from adversity.