Sorry for the lag since my last post! I’ve been preparing for and then moving into a new house, which makes me a very recent authority on stress and its management.
So here are some quick and dirty ideas of what you can do to lower that sky-high stress level.1) Remember to breathe, deeply.
When we’re stressed, we often start breathing shallowly. By focusing on deep, slow breaths, we reassure our central nervous system that things are going to be just fine. And our body is an important part of the equation when it comes to stress management.
2) Think before you act.
This might seem obvious (as obvious as breathing, maybe) but when we’re stressed, we often do things on autopilot. We go through the motions as quickly as possible, and assume that’s the best way.
In fact, taking more time to think about the smartest way to execute a task will save you energy and time in the long run. So that goes to…
3) Have a plan.
If, for example, you know that your mornings are always hectic, make a plan the night before. Write up a checklist and then follow along. Set your alarm for earlier than you might like, because you’ll be glad you did.
We often get into a routine and continue to follow it, regardless of whether it’s actually the most efficient. By taking some time out, really thinking things through, and being open to a change for the better, you can feel less rushed and more in control. And yet…
4) Recognize that sometimes you can’t be in control.
The desire to have everything you own way can make you much more upset when you can’t have that. Sometimes the best course is to just sit back and accept that you have no control.
An example of this is that you got a late start in the morning (yes, you’ll notice the theme, and yes, that’s because I’ve been working on this problem in my own home.) Then you get on the road and there’s traffic. You find yourself freaking out, trying to zip around just one car, or being irritated by the other drivers.
A better path is to accept that yes, you might be a little late to work. You don’t control the traffic. So listen to music or an audio book. Hum to yourself. Think about something entirely unrelated. Or just focus on the road and the experience of driving mindfully. But you can’t control your lateness, if it comes to pass, and you might as well accept that.
5) Delegate where you can.
Leaning on others for support is crucial. Maybe you’re stressed because you’re think you need to do it all yourself. Maybe you don’t feel like you should get to bother others. Or maybe you think you do things better than other people so you can’t possibly ask them to help.
Whatever your reason for not delegating, rethink it. You deserve help. Otherwise, your loved ones suffer anyway–either because they don’t get enough of your time, or because they have to see you upset or irritable.
Give yourself a break. And don’t forget to breathe!
Moving stress photo available from Shutterstock