A journalist’s guide to overcoming stress
by Christy Armstrong, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 20, 2013 | 339 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christy Armstrong
Christy Armstrong
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There is a stereotype some people have about journalists. When some people are asked to describe a reporter, they envision a fedora-wearing cynic who is too stressed to enjoy life.

With the daily deadlines and other situations that can arise while covering the news, some say journalism is one of the most stressful career fields out there.

The thing about us journalists is that many of us are avid storytellers. While we all (hopefully) strive to report the news in the most truthful manner possible, some of us can also be known to exaggerate when we’re among friends. It’s not always the easiest type of work, but it is not as bad as some say.

However, most working people — no matter their field — have days that leave them at least a little bit stressed from time to time.

For those times, here are my tips for relieving day-to-day stress:

n Get enough sleep.

Even if you are staying up late to do something you find fun and relaxing, you are not doing yourself any favors in the long run by delaying rest. Getting at least six hours of sleep at night can mean feeling much more energetic and ready to tackle what you need to do the next day.

n Eat well — even when you’re on the go.

If “You are what you eat,” then it’s best to make sure that you are not eating junk all the time. If you are eating healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks, you are giving your body the fuel it needs to stay focused on whatever it is you do. Try taking healthy snacks with you to places where you spend a lot of time. For example, you could take nonperishable snacks like nuts and dried fruit with you to work instead of raiding the workplace vending machine.

n Exercise regularly.

Fitting extra physical activity into your day can do at least two things for you. It can help you blow off steam if you are stressed, and it can leave you feeling better afterward. Try finding ways to be more active during the day. Things like parking your car far from wherever you’re going and exercising during lunch breaks can be ways to make sure you don’t neglect fitness.

n Meditate on positive things.

Even if you are having a horrible day, you surely have something in your life for which you are thankful. Take time to think about those things, and consider writing them down as a list to look at from time to time. Better yet, if you’re the praying sort, send up a prayer of thanks. The rest of your day might not seem so bad if you have already come to the conclusion that your situation is not hopeless.

n Surround yourself with positive people.

I have been blessed with friends and family I can talk to when I am going through stressful circumstances. Don’t get so caught up in your own troubles that you neglect fostering relationships with those around you. Be sure to let those you love know that they can confide in you when they too are going through tough times. Hopefully, they will return the favor and keep you focused on the positive parts of life.

n Schedule some “me time.”

Sometimes, you really do just need some time to yourself to unwind. Read a book, write in a journal, paint or do whatever activity you enjoy in your free time. Be intentional about making time to be alone doing something you love by scheduling time for it. That can be a great way to relieve the stressful feeling of never having time to yourself.

n Add fun to your schedule.

Include fun activities in your schedule so you have something to look forward to when you’re dealing with a stressful day. Plan to attend an event in the community. Contact a friend and invite them to watch a movie with you. Whatever you enjoy, try to plan at least one activity or event to take part in each week.

n Prioritize.

Finally, it may be time to make a list of what you have been doing and look for ways to prioritize if you feel like you have too many things happening in your life. For example, you may need to do your laundry before you do something like reorganizing your closet. If you can rank tasks by order of importance, then you can rest assured you are always getting the most important things done.

This is by no means a comprehensive list; just realize that you have the authority to take control of a stressful day by taking small steps to make it a little bit better. You might even discover new things you can do in future situations.

While everyone’s daily experiences come with different levels of stress, I hope these tips can be useful to you when you find you are having “one of those days.”