There is always a choice. What choice are you going to make?
The Australian Psychological Society show that Australians are stressing more than ever (pdf). Constantly feeling stressed can have significant negative effects on both your physical and mental health. Life can often feel like a balancing act, where we are juggling everything and trying not to drop any balls. It’s difficult to manage the needs of your relationships, family, business, studies and take care of yourself, too.
It’s time to stop, breathe and re-focus on your goals, and most importantly your action plan to achieve them. Break things down into bit sized chunks, be solution focused and identify what is causing you stress. Acknowledge it, choose to let go and move forward by taking positive action to overcome it. I know, it is easier said than done sometimes, but here are some techniques to deal with stress.
- Learn some relaxation techniques. Some people meditate (I suck at that!), go for a run or do some yoga. I am the weirdo that likes to clean – it makes me feel better when everything is in order. Find something that helps you relax and do it.
- Change your perspective on stress. You are unable to avoid it altogether, so change the way you look at it. Reframe it, own it, acknowledge it and put plans in place to address reduce its impact on you.
- Learn how to say no. Stress is often caused by having to little time to do what you need to accomplish. Learn your limits and how to communicate them to those around you.
- Reduce your toxin intake. Limit things that don’t serve you, like alcohol, sugar and caffeine.
- Meet friends face to face. Social media is a blessing, but it often removes the need to see people in person. That can ultimately be isolating. Speak to someone you trust about the stress you’re feeling.
- Take a weekend off to do something new. Go camping, take a drive, enjoy discovering new places and activities. You’ll come back calmer, more relaxed and maybe even inspired.
- Smile and find something to laugh about. Smiling and laughing releases the feel-good chemicals in your brain and helps to lift your mood. I mean really have a belly jiggling, pee your pants laugh. Don’t take life or yourself too seriously.
- ..if you’re a parent, this is hilarious as sleep is the one thing that eludes us often. But sleep when you can and try going to bed earlier. Cut out tech and bright lights at least 30 minutes before bed so you can really unwind and relax before trying to go to sleep. Getting enough sleep is essential to a healthy body and a healthy mind. Do what you can to ensure the sleep that you do get is good sleep.
It sounds so simple, but it’s not easy. We need self-awareness and understanding. It is ok to feel stress as it’s unavoidable. The choice lays in how you deal with it. Are you the hero of your story, owning it and using it to propel you forward or the victim using it as an excuse for not achieving your desired outcomes? The choice is yours. Yes, it is a choice! What choice are you going to make?