Managing Stress in Our Lives
Who hasn’t said at least once that “I don’t have enough time” or “Gosh, I wish I had more time.” All of us, at some point, have struggled with stress. It’s hard to manage a family, yourself, your job, and all the other responsibilities that are thrust upon you as an adult. You often feel like you’re being pulled in five hundred different directions. Which direction should I choose first? That’s just it though. We, as adults, have to find the balance that works best for us. Just because your best friend does it this way or you see another blogger do it that way, doesn’t mean those ways will work for you. Here are a few suggestions, I’m trying to put into practice to achieve my work – life balance.
What needs to be accomplished?
First, determine what is it that needs to be accomplished. Now, this may seem easy, but not really. If your mind works like mine, you can have a sticky note list and for every item that is checked off as completed you add five more. Then you really don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything at all. Maybe your mind is constantly running. Mine never shuts off either. Here’s the approach I’m using. At the beginning of each week in my planner, I write down everything that I know needs to be accomplished for the week. Important: spread out the tasks or you’ll be overwhelmed.
Along the bottom are my cleaning tasks for the week. The left side helps me track the bills that need to be paid. The right side is supposed to keep me motivated with changing my lifestyle habits to more healthier ones. For each day of the week, I break my sections into “To Do”, “Business”, and “Catch-all.” As my week progresses, other tasks will arise that will need to be completed. I put those under the “To Do” section, but here’s the thing…each “To Do” only has six spots per day. I limit myself to those six things per day! That’s it! If something else arises move it to another day! By doing this, you’re showing progress and not feeling so overwhelmed by tasks.
Second, unplug everything so that your mind can rest. Here’s how I put this into practice. There are certain times of day that are allotted “dead zones.” What is a “dead zone?” It means all electronics are turned off, put away, and focus is given to something else. That means every single person in my house has to unplug completely. In our house it is a four hour block of time. My kids complain initially, but then they are just fine. We play with wooden blocks, trains, Legos, or go outside. The thought of electronics melts away. This step is great for adults too. We’re so plugged in to our phones, the television, the iPad, the whatever, that we forget to stop and smell the roses. Literally! Being unplugged gives your mind the opportunity to relax.
Value your time…
Third, it is important to understand that your time is valuable to you, your family, and your clients. At the same time, do not get in the trap of undervaluing yourself. Your “skills” are in high demand. Don’t work so hard trying to please your client that you forget about your family. Don’t hang around listening to negative people. Your time is valuable. Spend your time and energy where it’s most needed at a specific time, but keep moving. If you need to turn your planner into a time schedule. In the top box write “6 am – 10 am” in bold letters. This would mean that in those allotted times you’re going to focus on those tasks. When the time is up move on to the next section/time block. Do this until you’ve completed your goals for the day. Just remember that things my arise that are out of your control. DO NOT let them throw you for a loop. Finish the task at hand and get back on the schedule. Remember, there is nothing wrong with saying “NO.”
Fourth, get up and move. Take a break from the things that stress you. Take a walk outside, call a friend, read a chapter in a book. It is proven that thirty minutes of exercise a day can improve your overall health. Exercise can boost your energy level and improve your ability to concentrate. You don’t have to be a world class athlete…you just have to move every single day!
Lastly, the hardest thing for me! Get enough sleep. I mean restful, peaceful sleep. As mentioned earlier, it is incredibly hard to shut my mind off. Yes, I know I’m weird. If you’ve ever suffered from the busy mind problem, you understand. Her’s where you planner comes in handy. Track your sleep for a week, then develop a game plan that works best for you. Finding a hobby that helps you unwind is very helpful too. For most adults, the recommended amount of sleep per night is between 7-9 hours.
What do you do to help balance your stress level?