Manage Stress by Managing Yourself
First of all, I am not going to begin this article by telling you about how important it is to eat properly, exercise regularly and to look after yourself. You know all that stuff already, don’t you? No, what I am going to give you are five things you can do to handle your stress,
Could I suggest first of all, that you practise these when you are NOT stressed? After all, the time to learn any new skill is BEFORE you need it, not WHEN you need it.
Be Here Now
I reckon that a major part of stress comes from the “what if” tape that plays every time we come across something that exceeds our perceived capacity. “What if I can’t handle this?” “What if I screw this up, I’ll lose my job?” Imagine yourself turning down the volume on the tape. Instead ask yourself…what is the one thing I have to do RIGHT NOW? Do it and forget about the rest. Repeat as necessary. Focus on doing this one thing as well as possible.
What Part of “No” Don’t You Understand?
There are times when you just have to say “No”. Begin today by saying No to small requests – things you do find it easy to say NO to. If you find it hard to say “No”, say “I’ll get back to you”. This will give you breathing space to decide if you can easily accommodate the other person. Practise this skill when you are NOT under pressure…
If your boss asks you to do something extra, ask him/her what other tasks will have to be left undone because you can’t do everything. You are not Superman/woman. (Really, you are not…haven’t you checked lately? And remember, even Superman wasn’t super all the time!)
If you have a part of your job that stresses you out, explore the option of swapping this task with someone else, in return for you helping them with something. If that is not an option, is there a possibility you could change your duties if a part of your job really stresses you out?
First Things First…After I’ve Done This
Yes, we all know this don’t we? But it’s amazing how we really, really have to tidy out the drawers of our desk (or clean the skirting boards with a toothbrush if we work at home) when there is a deadline coming up. Cheryl Richardson has an excellent idea around creating an “Absolute Yes” list. This list has 3-5 items that we need to do every day to keep on top of our work. Put this list on small cards and place them where you can see them regularly. Then make sure you do them every day…If you tend to dawdle before you get stuck into a task, build in some “dawdling” time and then begin the real job.
Take a Break
One of my favourite stories about stress was the company that used to call a tea break in the middle of a crisis! This immediately reduced tension. After all, things can’t be that bad if there’s time for tea! Next time you are feeling totally stressed, take a break, go for a walk, stand up and stretch at your desk. And remember if this job is totally stressful, you can always leave it. You always have choices…
I believe it is possible to live a stress free life. You can learn how to handle the problems that you come across every day in a way that stretches rather than stresses you.