How do you manage stress? Seeming disaster and stressful situations can strike regularly before 9 am in my household. In addition, I work crazy hours and juggle a number of responsibilities that have me switching gears all throughout the day. I'm sure you go through much of the same in your work and home life – from switching to work mode from mom mode, juggling grocery shopping with your 3 pm conference call, and getting the dog's Vet appointment scheduled while watching a webinar. I use several strategies to help me stay healthy and handle tricky situations so I can stay level-headed and keep moving forward in my day. My desk provides a picture of my best tools for handling stress like a boss and managing my day.
Stress is actually a good thing. It helps us to make decisions between what really matters and what doesn't. I find that the busier I am, the more sensitive I am to stress and bumps in the road. I used to take “the path of most resistance”, to quote Olivia Pope in a recent episode of Scandal, rather than the smarter path which would get me to the desired place (success!) in a less damaging and more strategic way. I used to get upset, overwhelmed, and then kind of break down and fail at everything because I burned myself out. All of that can be easily avoided and you can probably tell, that method wasn't very effective.
Use stress as a barometer to gauge where you're at and figure out how to best get where you're going.
When I feel the stress creeping up, I ask myself these questions:
- Am I spending my time on the most important things?
- What are my top 3-5 priorities to deal with today?
- How can I handle this situation in a different, less stressful way? Is there another path I can take?
- What do I NEED to help me deal with this situation or tackle this project on time?
- What do I need to say “no” to?
- Is this project worth my time, effort, and attention?
- What do I need to refuel and make sure I am healthy enough to tackle this project?
Stress tells me that I need to reassess. It's like when you're driving a car down the road and all of a sudden a red light on the dash starts blinking. Do you ignore it and keep going or do you pull over, diagnose the problem, and then figure out how to finish this trip?
Stress can also help you grow. Sometimes uncomfortable situations can cause stress. Last weekend I attended a conference that was stressful at the beginning because I felt uncomfortable going to an event where I felt out of place and didn't know many people. In overcoming my fear and discomfort, I grew as a person and grew my network of friends and resources. Out of some of the best situations in our lives that can be stressful, like weddings, job interviews, or attending a new conference, come growth that can make our life better tomorrow.
As someone who suffers from health ailments like fibromyalgia, it is imperative that I manage my stress level and am very aware of the toll running a business, family, and household takes on my body and vice versa. It's all part of living a healthy lifestyle, which for me includes eating paleo and using organic and homeopathic remedies whenever possible. I recently tried Bach® RESCUE® Pastilles, a chewy currant flavored homeopathic remedy that provides natural stress relief; they've now become an essential part of my daily routine. As I'm typing this blog post, my teenage daughter keeps coming over and asking me questions with her sleepover buddy and I have already chewed one RESCUE Pastille. They really work! RESCUE Pastilles contain 5 flower essences in a formula first developed by Dr Edward Bach in England in the 1930s. RESCUE Remedy is still made in accordance with the traditional methods Bach developed over 70 years ago! Find out more about RESCUE Remedy products here:
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- RESCUE Remedy Website
- RESCUE stress relief products are available now in the US at CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sprouts and wherever you find natural products!
- RESCUE fits your life as a convenient and easy remedy, available in a variety of forms:
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I keep 5 essentials on my desk to help manage stress so I can take on the day:
Water is essential because hydration is fundamental to most of our body and brain functions. Muscles feel better when we're hydrated, we think clearer, and we can feel good about drinking all the water we want! I actually stopped drinking soda and sweetened drinks when I went paleo in August 2013. I can count on one hand the number of times I have had soda since then – at first, if you have not been drinking alot of water, water tastes terrible! But once you start drinking water and cut the processed, sugary drinks, water starts to taste great and its what you crave. Plus your skin will be clearer!
Bach® RESCUE® Pastilles
Bach® RESCUE® Pastilles are a tasty way to deal with stress while you continue working or taking on the day. I keep a tin of them on my computer so I can easily reach for them when I am on a tight deadline, dealing with customer service issues, or trying to tame my inbox. RESCUE Pastilles are a natural way to help you stress less and stay calm and in control. Click here for a valuable coupon off your first purchase.
I found my current desk calendar did not have enough room to write down and organize all of the tasks I need to do each day. I recently found an excellent printable one-page to help get things done. It's called “Daily To Do List – Get Things Done” and is available FREE from Simple As That. I downloaded it and printed 10 days' worth of copies just to try it out and see if it was for me. After day 2, I was all in! Print 7 of these out and put them on a clipboard each week. At the beginning of the week, fill out the “what you're eating section” to plan your meals. This can also serve as a record of what you eat if you are on a diet or need to keep a meal journal and it's great for making sure all those leftovers get eaten. Write out any appointments or things you need to do each day and then keep the clipboard on your desk. Start each morning with a review of your top priorities that day as well as what you need to do so you can keep on task. As the day goes by, check off completed tasks and add new tasks to the appropriate days. I also love that there is an exercise and water section – this all ties back into staying healthy! Download the printable “Get Things Done” page here: Simple As That blog
The Five-Minute Journal
I bought this after listening to a podcast about gratitude. Every day, take 5 minutes to write down what you're thankful for, what things would make today great, and so on. There are 50 pages of instructions at the beginning to help you figure out how to use it. I encourage you to get this book and start journaling in it. It is a book for non-journalers, like you and me. I look at journaling as a woo-woo, “spiritual” thing that I stay far away from. So if cynical me can get this book and start using it, so can you. When you think about what matters, you start to care less about what doesn't matter. And usually what doesn't matter is what stresses us (the caterer arriving late won't affect the fact that you just got married, the kids splashing spaghetti sauce on the wall won't mean they don't graduate high school, and the occasional unmade bed doesn't mean you're a bad mom). Click here to get The Five-Minute Journal.
I turn off the ringer on my phone and usually plug it in across the room where my stereo is, playing the Neon Indian station on Pandora or listening to a fave podcast, like The Art of Charm. I find that when I am writing, I cannot listen to speaking so I usually have my phone on silent or have music that is upbeat playing to help propel me through the project. I keep my Bluetooth on my desk because it vibrates when I get a call and I can answer it without stopping working. This LG aptX Bluetooth goes around the back of my neck and kind of stays in place like a necklace, leaving my hands free to craft, edit photos, or take notes. I have also been known to walk around the house, fold clothes, or sweep while on conference calls and this Bluetooth helps me multi-task, get moving, and concentrate on the call all at the same time. If you are on the phone alot for your job or business, I wrote an article about 27 social media hacks you can do while on the phone that you might find handy that are absolutely easier if you're using a Bluetooth.
How do you handle stress like a boss?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.