I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. I’ve had a lot of work to do, a few new clients, and decisions to make about where I want my career to take me.
Additionally, I’ve been coping with personal issues, including the death of a loved one and a recent car accident (no one was really hurt and it wasn’t my fault, but it was still inconvenient).
With all of this stress on me, things have been slipping through the cracks a little bit, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with the way it seems to be piling on.
After talking with my husband, who has a PhD in psychology, I came up with five ways to deal with stress in my life. Hopefully they’ll help you manage the stresses in your life, as well.
1. Focus on what you can control
It’s easier to be stressed when you worry about things you can’t control. I’m working on focusing more on what I can control, rather than obsessing over what I can’t. Tackle the things you have influence over, do what you can to improve your situation, and then move on to the next item on your list.
2. Drop the things you don’t HAVE to do
I have a long to-do list; however, I don’t actually have to do everything on it. There are some things that I can skip. Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Look at your situation, and figure out which items are negotiable. Chances are you’ll discover that many of the items you’re stressing over can be dropped from your to-do list.
3. Add things you like to your life
It’s harder to be stressed when you’re doing things you enjoy. My husband has been trying for months to convince me to sign up for guitar lessons again, as I really enjoyed them in the past. Adding this back into my life would force me to evaluate some of the things I’m doing, and drop some of the “busy-ness” that adds stress without adding meaning.
4. Use stress-reduction techniques
There are a number of stress-reduction techniques that can be used to help calm anxieties and feel better about a situation. Employing these techniques makes it easier to cope with stress. Deep breathing and meditation are two time-tested techniques that can help you reduce the amount of stress you feel. Even a short, five-minute meditation can help you bring your focus back to what’s important — thereby reducing stress.
5. Take care of your health
My exercise has dropped off in the last six weeks or so, and I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep. I feel more stress now than I did while I was eating right and getting enough sleep. Regular exercise offers a healthy outlet for stress reduction, while at the same time providing you with more energy. Take care of your physical self, and it’ll be easier to reduce your stress levels and improve your mental health.
How do you reduce stress in your life?