Do you feel stressed or tense? Do you find it difficult to relax? Do you want nothing more than to sink back on the couch or crawl into your bed after a day of work? Or do you feel passive and have less desire to do your work? Do you have trouble completing tasks? Are you having a hard time getting started? Does everything take a lot of energy, and does it make you feel low? It sounds like you are suffering from prolonged stress or maybe even a burnout. The action plan below can help you regain control over your situation!
You will start by gaining insight into your behaviour, your stressors and your tension level. How often do you feel stressed and when do you feel tense or stressed? What happens in those moments and how do you behave when you feel stressed? What gives you energy and what costs you energy? Are you crossing your own limits? If so, how often does that happen and why are you crossing your limits? When you have made a summary of this, you can start to break any unhelpful patterns and gradually feel better and more energetic.
We are happy to help you with the action plan below. The action plan contains information and various exercises that you can perform throughout your daily life and in the NiceDay app over the next 4 weeks. You can do this independently, using the NiceDay app to support you. Download the app here if you don’t have it on your phone yet and get started right away!
Are you experiencing so much stress that it is greatly impacting or limiting your daily functioning? In that case, it might be good to schedule an appointment with your GP for a referral to a psychologist. Click here for more information about treatment via NiceDay, or ask a NiceDay psychologist a question for free.
- Set a goal: By setting goals, you can increase your motivation. Read the information on setting goals and write your goals down in your NiceDay diary.
- Understanding stress: Knowing the effects of stress and what causes stress can help you to understand your situation. Stress or tension is a physical reaction to a potentially threatening situation. Whether you experience something as stressful depends on how you assess and manage a situation. In this article, you can find more information on stress and whether stress is inherently bad. If you have experienced stress for a long period of time and struggle to rest and recover, you may be burned out. Do you identify with some of these burnout symptoms? Use your NiceDay diary to write down the things you identify with when you read the articles.
- Insight: Gaining insight into your feelings provides a good starting point to work from and will help you to regain control. Keep track of how often you feel stressed, tense or energetic with the app. Activate the Tracker for ‘tension’ and/or ‘energy’ and keep track of these feelings at least three times a day. Elaborate on your score by writing a note.
- Lifestyle: By taking good care of yourself and your body, you can prevent and tackle many complaints. When we talk about a healthy lifestyle, we mean exercising sufficiently, having a healthy and varied diet, maintaining a healthy weight, moderating alcohol consumption, not smoking, relaxing sufficiently and striving for a regular day-night routine with sufficient sleep. Read more about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Then, set a goal for the coming week. Think of going to bed and waking up at fixed times.
- Insight: Gaining insight into your daily activities can help you find a balance that reduces stress. Think about reducing or changing demanding activities or adding fun or relaxing activities. In addition, you can keep track of how certain activities affect your mood: keep track of this using the smiley (feelings tracker) in the app.
- Exercise: Exercise is good for your physical and mental health. Read about the benefits of walking and schedule a walk. If you are not very active at the moment, you can gradually build up your exercise, for example by starting with 2-3 brief walks a week. If you’re a bit more active, you could see if you can manage to take a walk every day. You can activate the pedometer in NiceDay to track your progress. Exercise lowers the stress hormone (cortisol) levels in your body and creates new connections in your brain. In the long run, exercise reduces your sensitivity to stress.
- Relaxation: To achieve a proper work-life balance, it is important to get enough time to relax. Our bodies and minds are closely connected. Therefore, physical relaxation can also lead to mental relaxation and, thus, the reduction of our negative thoughts and feelings. Schedule time in your calendar every day (at a fixed time, if possible) during which you spend time by yourself and for yourself, and no one else. You can use this time to recharge, relax and regain your energy. Learn more about the importance of relaxing here and schedule a moment to relax each day in your NiceDay planner. For example, plan a relaxation exercise.
- Lifestyle: Reflect on last week’s goal. How did it go? What effect has it had on you? Write about it in your diary in the NiceDay app. Once you’ve done this, you can set a new goal. For example, eating a healthy diet and eating at fixed times.
- Insight: Keep track of your daily activities on a regular basis and learn about how certain activities affect your thoughts and feelings. Do you notice when you experience more stress and when you experience less? Write about it in your diary!
- Talking: By talking to someone, you can express how you think and feel and find out what someone else thinks and feels. This will allow you to receive and give each other more support and help you to understand each other better. You don’t have to do it alone! Learn more about talking about your feelings and schedule some time to talk to someone who you trust and who you feel can support you.
- Thoughts: Your thoughts affect how you feel. With the help of a Thought record, you can summarise your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. By doing this, you can discover patterns and gain insight into yourself, so that you can make effective change. Example: The thought “If I can’t do a job, I’m a bad employee” is not helpful. Fill in your first thought record via the NiceDay app (step 1) to gain insight into your thoughts and continue to work on this daily.
- Relaxation: Keeping setting aside time each day to relax. For example, you can do a relaxation exercise or mindfulness exercise using an app like Headspace or Insight Timer.
- Lifestyle: If you managed to achieve the goal that you set last week, compare your feelings and mood with that of the week before. What do you notice? Do you feel that you experience less stress thanks to these lifestyle changes? Remember that change takes time. So, set a new goal for this week right away!
- Insight: Continue to track your activity level, stress level and your mood using the smiley face. Take enough time to reflect on the past few weeks. What have you learned about yourself? And what is there to learn still? What challenges have you overcome and what new ones have you discovered? Write it down in your Diary!
- Thoughts: Continue to complete Step 1 of a few thought records, strive for 1 per day, for example. Once you’ve mastered that, you can move on to steps 2 and 3 of the thought record, during which you are going to challenge your thoughts. Example: The thought “If I can’t do a job, I’m a bad employee” may not be true at all. Read about how thought challenging works and complete your thought records by performing steps 2 and 3.
- Self-compassion: Being kind and gentle to yourself is important for your self-confidence and self-esteem. Read the information about self-compassion and set reminders with the NiceDay app to remind you to talk to yourself with compassion, like as if you were talking to your best friend.
- Reflection: Reflection provides you with insight into your growth process and your progress. Look back on what you’ve done over the past few weeks. What went well? What went less well? What are your pitfalls? Can you see any connections? Record your insights in a diary note in the NiceDay app.
- Prevention: Based on your last reflection, you can create a reassurance plan. This will help you to identify the signals that indicate that your well-being has decreased and provide you with tools to intervene effectively. It can be seen as a summary of your growth process over the past few weeks.
Tips for successfully completing the action plan
- Reward yourself: You are working hard on your self-development! This should definitely be rewarded. Rewards help to motivate you. Learn more about rewards and get inspired to reward yourself. Schedule your rewards in NiceDay.
- Progress: Reflecting provides you with insight into your growth process and your progress. Check your progress using the tracker graphs.
- Connections: Look for connections between your registrations: when do you feel good and what do you do when you are not feeling good?
- Read more: Are you looking for information on specific burnout topics, such as setting boundaries? Search for relevant articles on the NiceDay blog, for example by searching for ‘boundaries’.
Need extra support?
Haven’t the steps above helped you sufficiently and are you looking for professional help or guidance from a psychologist? Learn more about receiving online help through the NiceDay app here.
Do you have questions about using the app while going through your action plan or are you unable to figure something out? Please read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact our NiceDay Support Team on working days via the app (tab ‘Support’) or by telephone on 010 – 3030 600. We are happy to help you!