Do you spend a lot of time worrying about other individuals’ wants and needs, and in doing so, neglect your own??? We live in a society where this is extremely common place on both a career and personal level. But to live a healthy and fulfilling life, we must put ourselves first and not allow stress and anxiety to overpower us. Managing stress is all about taking charge of your thoughts, emotions, schedule and the way you deal with problems. You might not always be able to change the situation, but you can change your reaction to it. Here are a few ideas to remove unwanted stress from your life and take care of you:
- Use your “No Button.” Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress. This is an area where I personally struggle, so much so, that for Christmas a few years ago my co-workers gave me a symbolic “No Button” that says “no” 20 different ways!!!
- Along the same lines, mange your time better. Don’t over book and commit yourself. If you really don’t have time to join another charity Board or schedule a dinner with friends one week, it’s alright to take a pass.
- Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that make you smile, whether it be riding your bike, taking your dog for a walk, playing the piano, going to dance class, gardening, cooking, etc.
- Set aside relaxation time to recharge your batteries EVERY WEEK. Get a massage or facial, take a bath and light candles, turn off your phone and read a good book, sit in nature and write in your journal, take a lunch or evening yoga class, you get the idea.
- Connect with others and spend time with positive people who enhance your life. Limit your time (to the best of your abilities) with negative people and situations.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff (as my fabulous Mom always tells me). Keep your sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself.
- Be open with your family, friends and colleagues about your feelings and needs. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. Otherwise, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
- Realize there’s always someone out there who is worse off than you. Give back to others, even if it’s just smiling at someone who looks like she’s having a difficult day.
- And of course, adopt a healthy lifestyle. Eating whole foods, getting daily exercise and good quality sleep go a long way in managing daily stress.
“Most of our stress comes from the fact that we feel like we have no choice. We make everything in our lives a “must” to complete. No matter how successful you are, when you have too many “musts,” you’re going to feel stressed. There are always at least three options for every situation. When you realize you have these options, you begin to create choices for your life.”