How Do You Keep Yourself In Check?
December 10, 2011 § 1 Comment
I’ve been working 70-80 hours a week, for the last few weeks now, and it’s been challenging me in ways I wasn’t prepared for. The stress and fatigue are overwhelming at times and I’ve been begun to look rundown. There are wrinkles under my 25-year-old eyes that were not there this time last month (ahhh!) But this morning I ran into an old colleague and we got to talking about how to monitor stress. He told me to make a list of all the symptoms I experience when I become stressed (i.e. moodiness, loss of appetite, etc.) and then check in with myself daily. And, of course, be proactive about correcting the problem. An inspired idea!
Some of my own stress symptoms include:
- Moodiness & irritation
- Sore throat
- Aching shoulders & neck
- Upset stomach
- Teary, dry eyes
- Easily emotional
- Inability to get to sleep
- Excessive worrying
So what’s the next step? It’s not the same for everyone, but there are a few things I’ve found that help alter my state of mind…
1.) Call or find a friend to chat with. Discuss everything except what is bothering you. Talking about books you’ve read lately, good food you’ve eaten, and exciting plans you have for the weekend. Getting your mind off the issue at hand and becoming less task orientated will create an instant state of calm.
2.) Go for a jaunt around the block. Bundle up if it’s cold and go regardless of the weather. The fresh air is rejuvenating and the exercise will release the tension in your body.
3.) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t matter how self-sufficient you are, no one can do everything! So seriously when someone asks if there is anything they can do, just say yes. Yes, please!
4.) Find a reason to laugh. Pull up a tube video, watch the morning news, ask if anyone has heard a good joke lately, or just laugh at the fact that you fell on the ice this morning and spilt coffee up your sleeve.
5.) Take a bath or shower, use some calm scented products or candles, and stay in there until your skin wrinkles. Don’t leave a minute early, you want to achieve that perfect pruney texture.
6.) Create… art, baked goods, towers of wrapped gifts… it doesn’t really matter. The process of starting with nothing (or raw materials) and creating something new is rewarding. It makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something and taps into your creative side. Plus it isn’t nearly as taxing or important as the tasks that are likely stressing you. Once in college I created the world’s largest mountain of ice cream, which was surrounded by a moat of chocolate syrup, secured with a pop-tart fence and draw bridge, and inhabited by gummy bears and other edible creatures. That’s what I call accomplishment.
So what about you? How do you handle stress?