In a previous post I talked about ways to identify whether you're in a stress rut. I talked about the possible benefits to be derived from reflecting over the previous weeks events, selecting the things you would have changed and using this information to modify future activities. There are a lot of other techniques, easy things, people can do to relieve themselves of some stress. Here are a few ideas:
Stress is that sensation of being overwhelmed with things. These may be practical problems or emotional issues. Either way, the sense of trying to control what may be outside of your control can lead to stress. Often, the mere fact that you can identify what is within your powers to control is important. Equally, letting go of control and delegating, sharing, moving the problem up or down, talking about things, are ways of dispersing the stress load.
Take a step back and look at what's happening in your life. Stress has a way of accumulating by small degrees. Things often become stressful when there's a mismatch between what you've set out to achieve and what's actually happening. Taking a step back can help you focus on the stuff going on in your life. How many of your activities are essential? Do have to do that extra shift? Must you take the kids to everything they're involved in? Looking at your time, what's really set in concrete, what's negotiable and what could be stopped? Keep in mind that stopping the fulfilling things in preference to the unfulfilling is a sure way to ramp up stress levels.
Draw a line in the sand. Some people are highly effective at moving tasks around or passing them to other people. Are you one of the people they pass things to? A line in the sand is a way of protecting yourself and your free time from such intrusions. Some people fiercely protect their work role to a point where they can seem inflexible and unhelpful. There's a middle line between being seen to help out as a favor (something that's bankable) and saying no to everything and everyone. Decide what is absolutely your time and what's within your gift in terms of give-and-take, then stick with it.
Understand you are only human. The people around you may seem infallible but they aren't. Everyone makes mistakes. In fact making mistakes is one of the important ways we learn. Don't be sucked into situations where you feel you have to atone for errors by taking on more work. Equally, don't beat yourself up and strive for perfection, because that's a sure path to anxiety, fatigue and possibly even depression.
Published On: July 25, 2011