Eight Simple Stress-Busters
By: Susie Cortright
Choose a life of less stress by identifying your stress points. You can start by answering the following eight questions in your personal journal:
- Look around you at all the ways you have created your lifestyle. Why did you make each lifestyle choice? Why do you work the hours you do? Why are your relationships in the state they are in? This exercise helps you to remember that almost everything in is a direct result of a choice we have made and that we have the power and the freedom to make a new choice anytime.
This is also an excellent tool for positive affirmation, particularly on those days when the sacrifices you've made stare you squarely in the face. If you discover that the choice you've made isn't the right one, outline the changes you need to make.
- What are your priorities? How important is your spirituality, your family, your professional identity? Consider this ranking when you're called to make choices and compromises.
When have you put your identity, your plans, and your self-nurturing on hold while you took care of someone else?
- If you had 15 to 30 minutes each day for yourself, how would you spend it? Schedule time for yourself. Mark it in your day planner or on the family calendar.
- How much of your stress level is the effect of over-dramatization? Remind yourself that the level of stress you experience is directly related to the way you internalize it and the importance you place on your own dramatization.
- Do nutrition and exercise contribute to your stress or help you manage it? If you aren't sure, keep an energy diary to help you determine the hidden factors in your lifestyle that may be robbing you of energy. Make a plan to change or eliminate those influences.
Log the times each day when you feel beat or burned out. For me, it's 3 pm -- about the time I want to hit the cookie jar. Try to schedule your workout (not a great big snack) for the time of day when you need an energy boost.
- How easy is it for you to say "no"? Respect yourself and your time enough to delegate tasks and refuse to take on more than you can handle.
- Are you multi-tasking yourself into more stress? When we try to do too much at once, we are raising, not lowering, our stress level. Multi-task only when you can realistically fulfill all tasks adequately. It's hard to tune into your kids while you catch up on your own reading, for example, and you can't take time out for yourself while simultaneously devoting the time to anyone else. Decide which tasks deserve your full attention. Then give it.
- Do you have the support network you need? Conduct a search at http://groups.yahoo.com or http://www.topica.com for an online group that shares your hobbies, interests, or lifestyle.
Susie also publishes a weekly scrapbooking newsletter, featuring cutting-edge techniques for preserving your precious memories. You can subscribe here: http://www.momscape.com/scrapbooking/.