Stress Response 6 - Stress Busters
So what can you really do?
Analyze: Do an honest inventory of how you really spend your time (include distractions like TV, surfing the net, unneeded texting and emailing). Recently I removed an app that prompted me to feed and maintain it, and play games. It was easier to remove than I thought, as my grand-daughter showed me. I also removed newsfeeds on my computer search page. I am amazed at how much more I am getting done and how my energy and focus has improved.
Schedule: Make enough time for self care (including sleep), and things that bring you joy. If you don’t schedule it, other things will take its place. See the November post on the Avery Counselling Facebook page from a TED talk by Mel Robbins on why this is important.
Revisit your priorities: Do you really have to be the one at work that does all the extras? Do the children really need to be in 5 activities when there is no time for family, creativity, or downtime? Is it really true that no one else can do this, or even that it has to be done? Make sure the big priorities get done first or at your best time. Take things that aren’t really important off the list.
Don’t try to multi-task: You may think that you are gaining – but the research is clear – divided attention significantly decreases efficiency and effectiveness. The time we spend “switching” our attention comes at a cost – the job is less well done and takes longer to do than if we did one thing at a time.
Hit the Refresh button. There are many ways to do this. One formula is 1 minute per hour, 1 hour per day, 1 day per week, 1 week per month and 1 month per year. What is refreshing to you? You could take a breath, notice the beauty around you, meditate or pray, be in nature, create, connect directly to people, relax in the bath, listen to uplifting music, dance or exercise.
Is it really yours to do? As explored in the previous blog, there are many situations where we really don’t have the power or control of the issue so there is no benefit to ourselves or others trying to fix something we can’t fix. Do what you can and should, let go of what you can’t or shouldn’t. Accept what cannot be changed. This is the core message of the Serenity Prayer:
Grant me the strength to change the things I can,
The courage to accept the things I cannot change,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Humour: Sometimes a little humour can help. During one of the most difficult times of my life my mantra was: it’s hopeless but not serious. When I was in the grips of perfectionism, after each failure I would say “perfection is just around the corner”. It never was, but at least it didn’t feel so far away. Another saying clients appreciate is SNAFU: Situation Normal, All F**ked Up, which I am told is an old army term. For me, if I find the irony in the situation then the laughter eases the strain. A good belly laugh helps keep the stress away!