For a lot of women in Nigeria today, feeling stressed-out everyday has become part of their lifestyle. From waking early to beat the morning traffic to the peculiarities of working in Nigeria, stress management is the surest way to deal with your day to day activities.

Since stress is an inevitable part of life for everyone, it’s important that you learn how to manage it so that it doesn’t take control of your life and wreak havoc on your health. Unfortunately, women who are dealing with stress tend to believe that they can just “power through”, or that they should put off self-care in order to keep up with the multiple responsibilities of home, work, and family.

If this sounds familiar, it may help you to re-prioritize your perspective by thinking about it this way: You are always going to be in a better position to care for your family, manage your household, and keep up with work and other responsibilities when you put your own good health first. The next time you find yourself dealing with a little more than you can easily handle, try these tips for better stress management

1. Get some exercise.

Not only does exercise produce stress-relieving hormones, it creates a chunk of time when you can be alone with your thoughts – or not think about much at all. If you’re feeling stressed out, avoid the temptation to ditch your exercise routine in order to create more time to deal with your problems. If you’re not currently exercising, get out a few times a week and take a brisk 20 minute walk. You just might find that you like the benefits so much that you’re inspired to expand into a regular routine of physical activity.

2. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits

When people are stressed they tend to eat more junk than healthy food. Make a conscious effort to opt for vegetables and fruits. In the long run, your body will be healthier for it and you will have more energy to tackle the day.

3. Drink lots of water

Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks can also be tempting distractions when you’re feeling stressed out. However, water is a better choice. Your body will be better equipped to fight off stress’s negative affects when it’s properly nourished and hydrated.

4. Create the habit of writing things down

A common by-product of stress is the feeling of “overwhelm” – too much to manage at once. Making a list of everything that you have going on or that is worrying you, then prioritizing your list based on need and what you can realistically do about each item, can help you achieve a better sense of control.

5. Take a break

Unless you are dealing with an immediate life-or-death situation, the chances are that 20 minute breaks here and there aren’t going to impact your problems one way or another.

6. Become more organised

Nothing gives you a sense of control like preparation and organization. If you find that your stress is being aggravated even further because of piled-up paperwork, a messy kitchen, or a backlog of email, set aside some time to deal with the organization issue or ask for help.

7. Don’t keep to yourself

Sometimes our problems become bigger than they need to be when they are living inside our head. When you’re feeling stressed, talking things over with a friend can help you find solutions and re-frame problems for better management.