Wow, life has definitely been crazy lately making it rather difficult to get on here and pay attention to the blog. The wedding is in two weeks and I find myself dealing with stress as I try to balance my increasingly demanding school work, my job, wedding planning, toastmasters, family and friends, and just trying to keep the house clean and myself happy.
I was struggling with the stress. A Lot. I like my life to take place at a bit of a slower pace, and having the time to care for myself and have some quiet relaxing time, I’m not someone who enjoys being constantly on the go and having something planned all the time. I have a tendency to look at my calendar and start freaking out because of everything I have going on. When will I have time for ME??!!? I found myself panickly wondering. Somewhere along the way I managed to figure out how to find the balance in the craziness and to let go of some of that stress and today I wanted to share a few tips that I have found helpful, because lets face it – everybody deals with stress.
Stress is a natural thing that the body is designed to respond and react to, and a little bit of stress is ok but when you start to get overloaded with stress or are feeling stressed for continual periods of time it can be very detrimental to your health and wellness.When you get stressed your body releases the hormone cortisol, which prepares your body for a fight or flight situation, but when our body is stressed for longer periods of time and this cortisol is in our system for a longer period of time it can start to have a very negative effect on your body and your health. Cortisol causes your body to hang on to fat, crave sugar, raises your blood pressure, among other things. Check out this article 25 Surprising Ways Stress Can Affect Your Health.
The first thing is to change your perspective. As I walked to my Toastmasters meeting the other day thinking about everything I had to do and how I didn’t have time for myself, it just clicked in my head that this business is really just an opportunity to learn for when I graduate from IIN and start my own coaching business because I will have a lot going on.
With that one thought it turned everything around. It gave me a different perspective on all the happenings in my life and allowed me to take a step back and let go of the panic and let go of stress (at least a little bit of the stress) and take a different perspective. That same day I read something online something along the lines that nobody is busy, it’s all in how you look at it, if you are freaking out and rushing through everything, panicking and putting pressure on yourself you are going to feel really busy, really rushed, really stressed and it’s not good. If you approach things calmly and take them one at a time, you will still get everything done but it will be a completely different experience for you.
That really struck a chord with me, and now instead of freaking out about all the things on my plate, I take it one thing at a time, I put it into perspective – right now I’m doing this and maybe I have to do that later but it doesn’t matter because I’m doing this. It was hard at first I really had to work on keeping that perspective and not freaking myself out and I definitely found myself feeling a lot calmer and feeling good. Like it’s just my life and not this crazy insane time that I’m going through.
Breath and focus on staying present. Keep yourself focused on the here and now and what you need to do now. If you find you keep thinking about this and that and everything under the sun, take a moment to breath, focus on the inhale and the exhale, focus on the moment, and bring yourself back to the present moment, try to clear your mind, and focus on where you are now. Sure you have all this stuff going on but right now you are working on just this one thing, and by giving this one thing all your attention it will help you stay more relaxed and get the job done so you can move on to the next thing.
Get Your Sleep. It can be hard if you’re stressed, to fall asleep because your mind is all over the place but I have found this so integral to staying happy and calm. I need to get my sleep, seven hours minimum a night. It doesn’t matter what is going on or what is on my mind, I am in bed by 10 every night. As I’ve gotten older I really notice the effect not getting enough sleep has on me, those days can be so torturous at work. Can’t focus or concentrate and it’s a fight just to sit at my desk and keep my eyes open. I don’t want to deal with that. So I get to sleep. Whatever you need to do, it can be done tomorrow. If I have a lot going on in my mind, sometimes I will try a little bedtime yoga or just writing it all down, or sometimes just putting on a movie or reading a book helps distract my mind and get me off of what is going on in my brain so I can get to sleep.
Sometimes you just have to let some things go. Over the last month I’ve dropped off of facebook, I no longer try to make sure the kitchen counters are clean every night, if the dishwasher doesn’t get emptied oh well, and as long as I have clean underwear it’s no big deal that the laundry is still sitting in front of the washing machine waiting to be washed. I’ve come to realize that I can’t do everything. Right now I have to focus on the wedding and I have to focus on school, then I have to focus on my relationship with Mark, and my sanity – other than that I take things as they come. You have to learn to say no sometimes, and that’s ok. You can’t do everything and you need some time for yourself too. Figure out what is important to you and what needs to get done and prioritize because number one you need to be happy and find your balance.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help. My fiance has been so incredible that last few weeks, always making sure dinner is on the table, doing the grocery shopping and running around, emptying the dishwasher when he gets (and I know how much he hates doing that!), and just being really supportive and helping out where he can. It’s taken a huge load off my shoulders. Not to mention getting my mom and my mother-in-law involved with getting stuff together for the wedding, they have been such a blessing.
Exercise. I have found yoga to be such an amazing stress reliever this past month. If you remember I challenged myself to do yoga every day this month, and I have! No matter what else is going on I always take at least 15-20 minutes morning to do a little stretching and moving, I have this one thing that I’m doing for myself. When you get stressed you get a lot of tension that can sit in your joints and muscles so it’s really great to just move and stretch that tension out and let it go. Not to mention the breathing helps you focus and center yourself on the here and now. I know yoga isn’t for everyone, so just find something that is going to make you feel good and do it.
I hope you find some of these tips useful in managing stress or getting through a particularly crazy time in your life.
I’m interested, how do you guys deal with stress? Do you have any tips or go to strategies that you use? I’d love to hear them!