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Are you prone to burnout? Here are 10 ways to *permanently* lower your stress levels

Given the incredibly hectic lives we lead today, is it even possible to find enough time to relax and unwind? Can you reduce the amount of stress you experience without your life becoming boring? How can you avoid burnout while staying productive at the same? 

Here are a few tips to help you quickly lower your stress levels; a kind of first aid kit for stress.

1. Take care of yourself (sleep, eat, rest)

Do you get enough sleep and at the right times? Do you eat well? Do you get enough exercise? Do you have enough time to relax, to ‘switch off’? If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, you need to change your lifestyle. Your physical fitness has a major effect on how you feel. If you don’t take care of your body, you will automatically experience more stress than when you are rested and fit. That’s why one of the first steps when tackling stress is: take good care of your body, especially when you feel like you don’t have the time to do so.

2. Just breathe

Breathing, you do it all day long. However, by becoming more conscious of how you breathe, you can lower your stress level in a matter of minutes. Breathing deeply slows down your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure, which results in a less troubled mind. 

You can delay or even eliminate your stress response simply by doing a few breathing exercises. It helps just to breathe calmly in through your nose and out through your mouth for a few minutes. For a deeper form of relaxation try breathing in less frequently but more deeply using the 4-7-8 technique: inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds. Sounds simple, but it works like a charm.

3. Turn off all notifications on your devices

One of the main sources of stress is the many different devices we use throughout the day. Our telephones, laptops and tablets overload us with information, even when we’re not looking for it. Once you receive a notification, it will stay in your head until you do something with it – that’s just the way our brains are wired – including when you are busy doing something else. Turning off all notifications will result in fewer interruptions, less switching and consequently less stress. You will still have access to all the information, but only when you decide to access it yourself.

4. Check your e-mail no more than three times a day

Research has shown that people who check their mail only three times a day are happier, more efficient and less stressed than people who check their e-mail continuously throughout the day. This suggests that you can cut your stress level dramatically simply by checking your mail less often: for example, early in the morning, after lunch and at the end of the day. Let’s be honest, before the invention of e-mail, no one spent the entire day in the hall waiting for the post to drop through the door.