25/04/2017 10:57 BST | Updated 25/04/2017 10:57 BST

Is Stress Ruling Your Life?

How are you dealing with stress each day?

Do you even understand you are experiencing stress each day?

As it becomes ever easier to be in contact with others and to be contacted by them it adds to the stress levels.

Say for example those with kids at school. If your child becomes ill at school then the school is straight on the phone to you. And not just any phone, they are calling your personal mobile. They know they are going to get hold of you!

I always joke that when I was at school, if the school wanted to communicate with my parents they'd have to write to them by post or by sending a message home with me. There was none of this: "your Johnny has had an accident in the playground so can you come and pick him up?" In fact, it's not normally posed as a statement, it generally comes across as an instruction!

I remember once being called by my daughter's primary school mid-morning to say she was feeling very ill and could I get in as soon as possible to pick her up. Fortunately, I was working from home that day and could quickly drive to school to pick her up. When I got there, I was told she was out at break-time and she'd be back in soon! I guess she really was so ill!

My point is that these are just some of the extra pressures we must contend with now we have an 'always connected' lifestyle. I just stopped off at one of my regular workplaces - one of my regular coffee shops - it's mid-morning and probably 50% of the people here are working on tablets or laptops!

OK, there's the plus side that we can choose to work where we want. But the downside is we lose track of the regular workplace routines - coffee/tea break and lunch - as the day merges into one extended period, and we are constantly dealing with emails, texts, social media messages, etc.

So how do you deal with that stress, especially if you don't realise how stressed you are?

It is important to schedule in 'me time' each day. Give yourself some time to chill out, to do something for yourself. Indulge yourself!

Unless you set this time by, you will just exist in a continuum between getting up in the morning and going to bed at night. It's as if you are a back-seat passenger in your own life. You have no control over what happens and when. No control over where you go and what you do when you get there as you are constantly trying to catch up.

High stress levels can kill - so do something about it.

By scheduling and taking time for yourself you will begin to feel what it is like not to feel stressed all the time. And I can assure you it'll feel good! So, make sure you fit it in every day. Set a reminder on whatever app you use for your calendar or to-do list.

And if you are having a dreadful day and are unsure why you feel so stressed think about the acronym associated with Alcoholics Anonymous but relevant for all of us - HALT. Whilst this is used to gauge when individuals with some form of substance dependency are struggling to cope, it really applies to all of us. If you are having a tough time it is likely to be because you feel...





Or even a combination of them. By working out what the root cause is then you can work out what to do about it.


Go grab something to eat or drink (I get a headache if I go too long without a drink).


With what? If you have control do something about it. If you don't have control then chill out! Whichever way, take 10, 20, or 30 minutes out to go and do something for you. Even if it's just to get out and walk around the building to get some fresh air and take in some nature.


Stop a passer-by and say, 'good morning!' Give someone a call on your phone - yes, they can still be used for phone calls!


Take a break. Grab a catnap. And set yourself a goal to get to bed an hour earlier than normal tonight.

Of course, there is another explanation for the acronym HALT and that is - Have A Laugh Today!

That sounds good to me!

Stress is with us all every day but we should not allow it to rule our lives.

It is our personal duty to take back control of our own lives.