In the next 6-7 years the biggest cause of death will be stress. As scary as it sounds we are already living in the midst of a stress epidemic and psychotherapists all over Australia are seeing the devastating effects.

With Christmas just around the corner, your workload has probably doubled in size to compensate for the few days or weeks that you’ll take off to celebrate the holidays. Do you need a hand to de-stress? Here are our top thirteen stress busters!

Self-care first: When you are content and energised, everyone wins. Block out time in your diary for some ‘you time’ to destress every week. Do something you know will help.

Time management:Do things that will matter in five, 10 and 20 years, and let the rest go. If your time was money where would you spend it? Do things of value.

Realistic: Be realistic in what you expect of yourself and others. If you are 100 per cent stressed all the time, aim for 85 per cent. Life is about connection and deep contentment.

Educate: Delegate tasks to others by asking what you want clearly and specifically. Help others share the responsibility. Be sure to say thank you.

Say ‘no’: Without justification when you really want to say ‘no’ to obligation. Do it guilt free. You may  need to practice this, so start with saying “let me get back to you”.

Say ‘yes’: To more play time and regular down time from technology so you can hang out with friends and family. Get in touch with your inner child. Say ‘yes’ to all the things you want to in your life.

Be you: You are enough exactly as you are. Be authentic. The more authentic you can be with others, the more connection and contentment you will have in your life.

Uphold a code of conduct: At home, work and for yourself. What counts to you? Have respect for yourself and your surroundings, and others will too.

Simple pleasures: Grab them when you can and spread them like wild fire. Small random acts of kindness – like compliments, a smile or a hug – are the little things that make a big difference.

Tame guilt and fear: Get really curious about why you feel the way you do. If you feel guilty or fearful ask yourself why and start to break those feelings down.

Initiate positive change: Start the ripple effect. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. Your willingness to do things in a more effect and satisfying way will be inspiring to others. Make change.

Nurture yourself: As you would a child. If your self-talk is harsh, ask yourself whether you would say those things to a child. If it’s not OK to say to someone else, it’s not OK for you to say them to yourself.

Gratitude: What are five things you are grateful for right now? Count them on your hand. Think about them every night before you close your eyes to go to sleep. Teach this to others and experience the difference in your life.

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