Stress is a major problem for many of us. Even thinking about stress can send your heart racing and have you panicking that you are doing a poor job with work, family and friends. ‘Slow down’ and ‘Take time out’ are the solutions we are given that will supposedly help us to cope and to reduce our stress levels. But what if that isn’t what you need to do? What if that would make it worse for you not better? Here are some alternative ways to cope with your stress and strategies you can use daily.
Your starting point here needs to be to establish what you actually need and want to be doing. Get really clear on what your priorities are. You can then highlight anything that is either not important or that is a drain on your time. Focus on the priorities and create your schedule around these. You will then be able to see if it is realistic and if not you can take appropriate action. Do you need to rethink or is it a case of asking for help? By being really clear and getting rid of the things you feel you SHOULD be doing you will have more time for what really matters.
Learn to say no
Now that you have established your priorities you need to make sure that you don’t get overloaded again doing things that don’t fit. You don’t have to say yes to everything. Stop feeling obliged to help everyone else. If saying no outright is too big a leap for you, agree to think about it and say that you will come back to them. Your time is important and doing too much leads to stress and can have an impact on your health. Take control and be responsible for the decisions and commitments that you make.
Be really productive
How often do you sit down to do something and then get distracted by anything and everything rather than just getting on with it? Panicking and moaning about all the things that you have to do makes it all feel so much worse. I suggest that a great way to get organised is to start with a ‘Brain Dump.’ Take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything that you need to do or that is bothering you. In doing so it becomes external and more manageable. What you need to do now is to group these actions and work out how urgent they are. You can use this to create a to do list and start to allocate tasks to particular days. I have a simple and effective way to make this work for you. You can find out more here.
Ask for help
Feeling overwhelmed is almost a badge of honour these days. Everyone is so busy and all the chat is about struggling to cope. If you are really clear about what your priorities are then you will find a way to fit these in. The reality could be that you simply can’t manage to do it all yourself. If you need help then ask for it. Perhaps you can share lifts or pick up and drop offs with other parents or friends. Maybe you can’t do a class every week but you could manage it fortnightly. Focus on what you can do and enjoy it!
Be grateful for what you have
We are all guilty of focusing on the things we don’t do or don’t have time for. Try turning this around and being grateful for what you do have and enjoy. Jotting down 3 things that you are grateful for or that went well at the end of each day will make a positive impact on how you feel. Don’t take my word for it – give it a go and get your family involved too.
Don’t be a martyr
If you are really clear about what your priorities are then you will feel more in control and less stressed. It is important that you get this right and really commit to it. If you want to do something then do it. Don’t sit there moaning that you didn’t get the chance. All that will create is resentment and extra stress. One client was complaining that she never gets to go to her yoga class but that her husband cycles for hours on end on a Sunday. I asked her whether he is aware that she feels that way. It will not be a surprise to hear that he was oblivious and she was moaning to herself. If you want to do something make it a priority and find a way to do it!
Exercise keeps it all in perspective
You knew that exercise would be here somewhere given that I am a Personal Trainer! If you are struggling to cope with stress then exercise can make a real difference. It may be that you need to start to take time to exercise or it could be that you need to do more. My lightbulb moment this week was that for me the best way to relieve stress is high intensity exercise. I need it to be strenuous and to take all of my focus in order to stop my mind racing. You may need to slow down and relax. It is about finding what works for you and scheduling time each week.
I was so excited this week when one of my fit4evermore Community members posted that ‘I came home tonight after my day shift and seized the moment. Feel good for it….you’re right….just got to make time for me.’ It really can be that simple to make the shift. I think you will find this blog useful on how exercise can help with your mental health.
I hope that you found that useful. I would love to hear about any strategies that you use to help to deal with and to process your stress. You can send me an email or post in the fit4evermore Community Facebook Group. By sharing your tips and successes you will help and inspire others. I love the support you give to each other and your feedback helps to make sure that I continue to provide useful and timely content. Make sure you follow the links below to join my community. A great place to start is with my book ‘Moving More.’ I take you through step by step with lots of tips from my clients, workouts and recipes too. Click the image below to buy your copy.
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