The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is often referred as the “most wonderful time of the year.” And we all certainly enjoy the time spent with family and friends. But, if we are honest, it can be a very stressful time of year. The shopping, cleaning, cooking, and hosting can take a toll on us. And then we return to work. How can we deal with the stresses in both our personal and work lives?
We have a lot more control over the stress in our life than we think. Stress management is about taking charge of our lifestyle, emotions, thoughts, and how we deal with problems. A recent article in “HelpGuide” explained the importance of managing the stresses in our lives. Living with stress affects both our physical and emotional health. The article listed eight tips to deal with stress. The first tip states we must identify the sources of stress in our life. To do this we must look closely at our habits, excuses and attitude. Do you blame your stress on other people? Do you explain your stress as temporary? Do you define stress as a part of your personality?
Stress is an automatic response from our nervous system, but some stressors are predictable. For instance, your commute to work or a meeting with the boss can be stressful. When these stressors occur, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. Tip 2 - the 4 A’s of stress management – Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept can be used at these times. Tip 3 recommends you get moving. Even though you may not feel like getting up and exercising, physical activity is a huge stress reliever. Take a walk around the block, put on some music and dance around. Tip 4 encourages us to connect to others. It is calming to spend quality time with another person who makes you feel understood and safe. They don’t have to be able to fix your stress. They just need to be good listeners. If you build a network of close friends, you can improve your resilience to the stresses we face in life.
Make time for fun and relaxation. That is what Tip 5 suggests we do. Nurturing yourself is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Set aside leisure time. Do something you enjoy every day. Keep your sense of humor. Take up a relaxation technique such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing. Managing your time better is Tip 6. Don’t overcommit yourself. Prioritize your tasks by making a list of things you have to do and tackle them in order of importance. Break your projects into small steps and learn to delegate. Let go of the need to oversee or control every step in the process. You’ll be letting go of unnecessary stress as well.
Tip 7 recommends you maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle choices include exercise, eating a healthy diet, reducing caffeine and sugar, avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs and getting plenty of sleep. Tip 8 suggests we learn to relieve stress in the moment. Quick stress relief techniques include taking a deep breath and using your senses – sight, hearing, taste, and touch – or through some type of soothing movement. Look at a favorite photo, smell a specific scent, chew some gum. The key to quick stress relief is to experiment and discover the sensory experiences that work best for you.
Learning to manage your stress will improve your resiliency, allow you to better tolerate distress, and enhance your well-being. What stress management techniques do you use? Please share your techniques in the comment box below.
Marsha Witherspoon, CDFA serves as SDA National Treasurer for the 2019-2020 term.
She is a Member-at-Large from Columbus, Ohio.