Stress is your body’s way of fighting back to protect you, often, from yourself. Notice when you spread yourself too thin, you may get sick. When we’re run down, overworked, and not sleeping enough our body will try to make us rest. For some, stomach issues strike or for others, like me, migraines halt all work and plans for, at minimum, an entire day. In extreme cases, that are not addressed over time, stress can lead to serious health problems like diabetes, heart issues, and cancer. Then we have even more to worry about. Then we’ve missed the deadline or canceled an appointment that then has to be rescheduled into an even busier schedule. It’s a vicious, unending cycle that is detrimental to our health and creates more turmoil in the lives of many.
Keeping your priorities in balance is one way to prevent you from drowning and keep your head above water. Life is chaotic for many of us. Working full-time, two jobs, or even three jobs while trying to take care of a family and still have time for ourselves is overwhelming. Maintaining your sanity can feel near impossible.
I’ve learned a few strategies that can absolutely help you to decrease and or cope better with stress.
Almost everything I’ve written about deals with some form of self-care. And during those rare instances when I can carve out spare time, I also read about self-improvement. I then began the arduous journey of a Master’s in counseling. After several years of researching, writing, and reading on the topic, I stumbled across coaching. I was already spread too thin, but truly believed, and still do, that keeping our Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health in balance is necessary to, not just be well, but to thrive.
So, in an effort to help others, while working on my own self-improvement, I recently completed my training as a Health and Life Coach. I learned best practices in order to help others, and in the process, uncovered my own personal pitfalls and which methods work for me to create peace. I discovered so much about myself and armed myself with countless tools to apply directly to my daily routine in order to keep my life in balance. All this, in order to learn how to live my best life and help others to do the same.
I am of the opinion that we are all a work in progress. Balance may not be possible every day all the time, but working towards it can decrease feelings of overwhelm. It’s not about the end goal, it’s about the journey! Our work is never truly finished. There is always another goal, a new plan, and another dream to strive for in life. I don’t believe the day will ever come when I’ll say, “Okay, I did it. I have balance. I am stress-free. My life is now complete.” Truth be told, even after the near-perfect days when all goes well and my spirits are high, low and behold there’s another deadline at work, an unexpected home emergency, or another diet plan bit the dust.
Life is a journey. There will always be ‘something’ that causes stress. It’s the ebb and flows, the ups, and downs, the twists, and turns that make the successes that much sweeter. The ability to rise above it all and still achieve our goals is, in part, what brings us joy, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment in life. How we handle it, and how we can manage and find ways to balance the chaos is what makes the difference. The one thing that never changes, is the fact that there will always be change. What makes all the difference is how we cope and rise above it all, despite the bumps in the road.
So, with that in mind, I’d like to share three ways you can decrease and cope with your stress.
- List your priorities.
- Focus on what’s most important.
- Organize your calendar and stick to your plan.
List your priorities.
What are your top priorities? The most important things to you, in your life, should be prioritized. These are the things and people you should place most of your attention on.
Think about it. Why do you work so hard? What makes your heart happy? What drives you to save for that vacation? Who and what brings you the most joy and feeds your soul? Those are the things that are most important to you. That is your purpose in life. Honoring your heart’s desire will lead to fulfillment, happiness, a feeling of accomplishment, and the peace we’re desperately searching for.
My family, my health, travel, and helping others through my writing are what’s most important to me. My focus is on my kids and husband, my physical, mental and emotional health, my writing, and my job.
Focus on what’s most important.
Now that you realize what drives you, that should be your focus.
My work hours go into the calendar first. Not that I feel the j.o.b. is more important than my family or my health, but I like to get my paychecks every two weeks and keep my health insurance. So, I put those times in Monday through Friday.
My kid’s and husband’s schedules and specific days and times in which we spend quality time together are then filled into my schedule before and after work hours. Birthdays, holiday plans, dance classes, and date nights are entered next.
Since my health is a priority, I schedule times for all things physical, mental, and emotional. I schedule all my doctor appointments directly after work. My health is not an option. It’s a priority and it’s treated as such. I enter the weeks we are going on vacation, the days and times I exercise, and the times I pray, read, and write. All of that is part of what keeps me healthy, and sane. It is absolutely necessary, especially with the day-to-day stress that’s not going away.
Only then, does everything else gets squeezed in, and only if there’s time and energy to spare. And why not? When I spend any of my time on the things or people that aren’t the most important to me, I become stressed and overwhelmed. It creates a negative inner dialogue driven by guilt, shame, worry, and resentment. So… I don’t do that anymore. I give my energy, and my heart, to the people and things that fill my heart with joy… above all else.
Organize your calendar and stick to it!
Make sure to set those priorities on repeat. For example, my writing time is not an option. It’s what I love to do and is my time to do what makes my heart happy. Date night with my husband is non-negotiable. So I put it in my calendar on the specific day and time that works for our schedules and click “repeat weekly”, duration… “forever”. Faith’s dance class is set to “repeat weekly”, duration is set for the last night of the recital. And so on. That way my priorities are set in stone, or I should say, in google. You get the idea.
Those are the things and people most important to me. Honoring what’s in my heart creates a feeling of calm amid the chaos of life.
Keep in Touch
Have you experienced uncontrollable stress? Do you know your heart’s desire? Do you think these tips will prove useful in your life? Leave a comment or question. I’d love to hear what you think. What topics would you like me to write about next? Find your peace. Stay well.