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Stress Busters: Stress Part 6

Stress Busters, So what can you really do?

Analyze: In order to promote well-being, do an honest stress inventory of how you really spend your time (include distractions like the TV, surfing the net, unneeded texting and emailing) and how it affects your daily life. You can track your social media time on your phones automatically now. It is stressful to spend hours gaming, searching, or looking on the internet then having to hurry everything else. Are you really putting your time and focus on where it brings you and your family’s greatest benefit?

Schedule: Make enough time for self-care (including sleep), and things that bring you joy. Your wellbeing depends on it. If you don’t schedule self-care, other things will take its place. Stress impact accumulates if there is not enough rest and recreation

Revisit your priorities: Do you really have to be the one at work that does all the extras which stresses you out? Do the children really need to be in 5 activities when there is no time for family, creativity, or downtime to decrease stress? Is it really true that no one but you can do this task? It is even necessary that it has to be done? Make sure the big priorities get done first or at your best time. To promote your wellbeing 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 wellbeing, 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. Losing the flow of the work and having to go back to find where you were adds to stress.

Hit the Refresh button. There are many ways to do this to reduce stress and improve wellbeing. 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 antidote to stress is refreshing to you? Some stress busters are: do a minute of slowing your 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 on stress and unrealistic expectations, there are many situations where we really have no influence, power, or control of the issue. Trying to fix something we can’t fix is no benefit to our wellbeing or that of others. Do what you can and should, let go of what you can’t or shouldn’t do. 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!

Check out my previous posts about stress:

Stress Part 1 - The Stress Response : The Setup

Stress Part 2 - Stress and Our Body

Stress Part 3 - Stress and Relationships

Stress Part 4 - Stress and Work Life Imbalance

Stress Part 5 - Managing Unrealistic Expectations

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