How to stress less and elevate when feeling low
We all have experienced stress and its effects. What a person defines as stress differs for all of us. However, we all typically tend to fall under its influence when expectations that people have of us (including our own) rise above what we can handle.
Besides the impact stress has on the body it affects the emotional and mental capacities. Most of us are so used to stress that we don’t even notice the signals on time. Some of the symptoms to look out for are: frequent headaches, lasting low energy, insomnia, chest pains, upset stomach, loss of sexual appetite, feelings of sadness, anxiousness, and difficulty concentrating. There can be many more, but try to observe and be mindful of potential changes in your behavior, energy, and mood. Catching the signs on time helps you to react promptly and decrease the negative lasting effects stress can have on you.
Lists, responsibilities, and expectations
Let’s assume you are already under stress at the moment you are reading this. A useful approach would be to have both short term and long term strategies to deal with stress. To be able to invest long-term in the process of stress prevention, you first need more capacity and energy to start with. That is where the short-term strategy comes into play – it helps you find strength and start dealing with stress elimination, before dealing with its future prevention.
You can start by asking yourself what are some items you can delete from the to-do list or delegate? Freeing up some time during the day lets you rest more or spend that time doing recharging activities. If you continue doing what you’ve done so far, you will only receive the same as before. In this case, by not stopping to find ways to lower your burden means continuously feeling tired and stressed. Therefore, to improve your life and elevate you need to introduce some changes now. This often requires effort that we feel we don’t have when we are under stress. That’s why you need to bring in changes one step at a time, minding the extent of the transformation in terms of your capacities to deal with them.
A quick fix is to take some time off and recharge. However, don’t forget this is a short-term strategy only since when you come back from holiday you still need to work on the long-term prevention strategy. The burn out doesn’t go away with one vacation. Alternatively, if you can’t take time off, try to prioritize sleep and rest. What can you avoid doing in this period? If there are people you need to meet, think if you would want to postpone or cancel some of those activities and prioritize rest? This will generate enough power to make the next needed step in the transformation.
Plan to include downtime
In the long run, you need to think about how you want to organize your priorities and divide your time. The long-term strategy is consisted of planning and including rest and time off every 3 to 4 months. Everything is easier if you have a vacation to look forward to, right? Burn-out prevention includes being mindful of these needed breaks and finding your balance between work and vacation time.
Take a look at all the projects and responsibilities you are taking care of at the moment. What do you enjoy from that list? What is the ratio of things you feel you need to do vs those you want to do? If there is little of the second category, think carefully about how you can introduce more of those. Having them can recharge you and help you deal with the first category. Furthermore, who can you rely on to help you when you start feeling overwhelmed when the tiredness starts piling up before that vacation? If you don’t have whom to rely on, you are likely to break down at some point. Since we can’t run off every time we feel overwhelmed we need that support system. Any structure is likely to break down in a storm without strong pillars in place. Keep your “building” strong by having a multitude of reliable “pillars.” If you lack such resources in your life, it should be a part of the long-term strategy. This process of figuring out a plan for the long run is something coaching for success can help you with.
Changing ourselves changes everything around us
We all deal with stress daily, however, what we define as stressful and why that stresses us differs for each one of us. “We are not upset by the events themselves, but by our interpretation of those events.” What this tells us is we can learn to stress less by finding a different perspective, a more useful one, to look at and deal with stressful events. Ask yourself what is the most stressful in this situation. What am I most upset about? How do I usually react in these situations and how would I want to react? Do I know anyone who would react in that situation the way that I would want to? If you do, go ahead and ask them what helps them, what are the calming thoughts that drive their behavior. If not, try imagining what could be potentially the standpoint they take that helps them react the way you would want. Finally, what do you think is the journey to being able to react the same way? These are some of the questions you can cover in coaching for success and fight this battle with an ally, instead of doing it alone.
Effects of our interpretation of stress
We think of stress as our enemy and often we might even stress over being stressed. Research has convincingly shown that the best stress protection is the belief that stress is good for your health. Depending on your thoughts stress causes a different effect on your bodily response. If you think it is beneficial for you, your body listens to this belief by preparing you for the stressful event without impairing your health. Therefore, the long-term strategy should involve identifying ways to make stress your friend. By achieving this you are sure to reap all the benefits of a true friendship that multiplies the good and divides the evil.
1 September 2019 Article Submitted by Milica Markovic
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