Friday, January 16, 2015

Managing Stress in 2015

Stress.  That yucky feeling that can not only consume your life, but even has the power to make you physically ill. You all know it, some perhaps better than others. Some of us can handle it, battle it or be defeated by it. It all comes down to how you manage the stress in your life. 

No matter what we do there is some degree of stress we have to deal with.  The stress of arriving somewhere on time, balancing work and home, trying to please everyone...the list goes on and on. But what is it all for? Why do we all get so worked up and "stressed" often times over the smallest things that really don't matter?  Well, I think it is just the way we have been hardwired.  Over the past generations life has taken a serious shift and what is important to people seems to be drastically different now than perhaps it was 50 years ago.  

With 2015, maybe now is the time to really evaluate your mental health and make a plan to manage stress in a healthy way that will only result in you thriving.  It is all the power of the mind people, so let's use that wonderful muscle and control what life throws are way.

For me, the best way to keep stress at bay is to stay organized and exercise. When I am organized and can prioritize what I need to do first I feel in control.  When I am in control I do not need to stress because I know it will all get done. No need to work myself up into a "tizzy", just take a breath, glance at my list and get back to work.  As for exercise, that has always been my go-to stress relief.  I know that I need to get moving with some level of intense workout for me to stay sane.  As much as a nice walk is lovely, it really doesn't do much for me mentally.  I need to exhaust my body in order to exhaust my mind.  

Maybe being organized and exercising aren't for you, well here are some other suggestions to help you start this year with a plan to not let stress get you down.
  1. Learn and practice relaxation breathing (even better mommies, HypnoBirthing!), visual imagery and mediation/yoga.
  2. Be realistic about your life and expectations. Set goals and make steady progress to attain them.
  3. Stay in the moment and do your best to enjoy it. Don't think about and worry over what is to come.
  4. Connect with those you love by spending time together and doing things you enjoy.
  5. Forgive those who have upset you and don't hold on to is too short.
  6. Give yourself "down time".  Set aside 20 minutes a day just for yourself.
  7. Anticipate stressful situations and make a plan to help you stay focused and calm.
  8. Make lists for everything and prioritize what you need to do first.
  9. Write down what is worrying/bothering you. Release your concerns on paper and move on.
  10. Seek support and communicate your feelings often.
  11. Learn to be flexible and not get stuck in doing things one way.
  12. Be good to yourself by accepting your mistakes, saying no and taking time for yourself.
  13. Clean up your desk/home and declutter your life.
  14. Learn the difference between what you can and cannot control. Don't spend your time stressing over things that are out of your hands.
  15. Speak up for yourself and regain control of situations by expressing what is on your mind.
So, as this month continues to fly take a moment to try and identify what stressors you have in your life and how to best put it to bed.  I know I am going to continue to battle my stress through staying healthy and focused on what truly matters.

What are some ways you battle stress?  Ready to take on a new year with a fresh outlook?

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