Stress is something that we all feel from time to time. It’s natural to feel stressed if there have been things that have occurred in your life that have meant that you have found it difficult to manage. Maybe you have very specific things in your life that are causing you stress? Maybe you already know what these things or ‘triggers’ are? Is it work? Your relationship, or lack of relationship? Is it money worries? The list is quite obviously, endless.
I’ve felt inspired to write about STRESS this week, as I’ve been feeling that something has been in the air if you will. I’ve spoken to several friends and clients lately who have all told me that they have been feeling particularly stressed or ‘stressed out’ at the moment.
As someone who is multi-passionate, I can relate to this as I often feel stressed when I feel like I’ve been juggling too much, or when I just don’t feel on top of things. Feeling stressed is a sign for me that my mind, and body, need to take a break. It also means that I need to take a look at what’s going on and see if there are some changes I could be making to alleviate that awful feeling that usually sits in my stomach and makes me want to sleep. Aaaaghhhhhh, avoidance!
So, what can be done to combat this feeling of stress?
The first thing I always like to do is to, you’ve guessed it, is to write a list! I’m big on list making. It allows you to get clarity on the things that are floating around in your head. It doesn’t have to be an actual list of course, but just a piece of paper where you can write down all the things you currently associate with your stressed feeling at that particular time. Don’t throw these away either. Keep them for at least a few months…I’ll tell you why in a mo.
What you should take particular notice of here is the difference between the things you CAN change versus the things you CAN’T change. For example, worrying about the fact that you have a report due in for work might be a ‘real’ reason to be stressed. Worrying that you ‘might’ get sick for example, is something that you don’t have any control over, so worrying about these kinds of things is really just wasting your time and energy and will sap you dry I tell you!
The next thing to do is to TAKE ACTION. This is honestly and truly the best thing that you can do to combat that feeling of stress. Look at your ‘brain dump’, at all the things that you see you have control over. List them in order of priority and start to tackle them. One by one, check them off of your list, and you will find that you will start to feel a little lighter.
You have to be really strict with how your prioritise getting these things done. Obviously important things come first and you would work backwards from there. This goes back to another post I’ve written about scheduling and organising your time. You see if you know that when you schedule something in your diary, that you actually stick to it, not once but over and over again (in other words you are reliable…to yourself!), then you condition yourself to relax. Ultimately, you learn that you are trustworthy and eventually it WILL get done!
One final thing you can also do, is to break your routine. By that I mean, take a good look at what isn’t working for you. Look at that list that you’ve made (this is where you look at any lists you’ve made over time). What keeps on coming up? Is there something that is causing you stress over and over again, regardless of what you feel are actively doing to handle it.
If you see some serial offenders, for example you feel stressed because you can’t lose weight? Then maybe you need to break your routine. Clearly the things you have been doing to try help with this issue haven’t been working for you, so what is it that you can do that is totally different from anything you’ve done before? Is it that you join a new gym class? Can you ask a friend to train with you, one that you know works out hard. Can you see a dietician to get help with your diet?
So, these were just a few ideas that might help you to combat stress. There are clearly many different things that you can do. Remember to take a break when you need it. Sometimes feeling stressed is just a sign that your body and mind needs time to ‘re-boot’ as it were. Also always remember that generally taking care of yourself is key. Basic things like, diet and exercise make a big difference to stress levels. I also like to meditate, which may be you’d like to try as well? There are also other things you might want to do that you know help you relax. Another thing I know helps me relax us to paint or draw.
There is also the old reliable ‘sharing with a friend’. I have several great friends who, when I’ve spoken to them about things that have caused me to feel stressed, I just feel better.
One final tip, and this is a quote from Marcus Aurelius, reminds us that…
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength”
Have a great, stress-free week!