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Stress – ways to deal with it

November 11, 2007

by Jenni Sebora

Time to get up. Get dressed. Take the garbage out. Make breakfast for everyone else, but maybe not time for yourself. Make sure the kids are up. Write a check out for lunch money for the kids – again, it seems I just did that . . . and that is just the first hour of the day.

Stress. It’s a part of our lives, especially if we are parents and trying to run different directions at one time. Stress. It will always be there, but there are definitely things we can do to relieve or reduce our stress.

Here are some “proven” stress reducers. (I am not sure who the author of these is, but it could be any of us.)

1. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful.

2. Prepare and organize for the morning before. Put out the clothes you plan to wear – that goes for your kids, too. Have the lunch money check written out and put in child’s backpack, etc.

3. Make duplicates of all keys. Place an extra house key under the plant on your porch. Bury a house key in the garden in a secret spot (unless you have a dog); carry an extra car key with you, but not on your key ring . . .

4. Don’t rely on your memory. Write down your appointment times, when library books are due, doctor, dentist appointments, etc.

5. Be prepared to wait. A paperback book or magazine can make a wait almost seem pleasant.

6. Plan ahead. Don’t let the gas tank get below one-quarter full; keep a stocked supply of those home staples, such as toilet paper, soap.

7. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments.

8. Always set up contingency plans, “Just in case.” (“If, for some reason, I am delayed, here’s what my spouse will do...” kind of thing.)

9. Relax your standards. The world will not end if your grass doesn’t get mowed tomorrow.

10. Count your blessings. For every one thing that goes wrong, there are probably 10 or 100 blessings. Count them.

Wow! This is true. Sure the toilet overflowed right before I had to leave for work and get the kids to school, but my children are healthy; the toaster is working; the car is running . . . .. We forget to focus on the good sometimes.

11. Ask questions. Taking a few minutes to repeat back directions, what someone expects of you, etc. can save lots of time (“The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get,” idea).

12. Say “No!” to some things – extra projects, extra social invitations that you know you don’t have the energy or time for. Everyone, everyday needs quiet time to relax and be alone – children and adults alike.

13. Turn needs into preferences. Our basic needs translate into food, water, and keeping warm. Everything else is a preference. Don’t get attached to preferences.

14. Make friends with non-worriers.

15. Get up and stretch periodically especially if your job requires you to sit for extended periods of time.

16. Put things away where you find them or they belong (the kindergarten rule). Organize your home and workspace so that you always know where things are (well, most of the time).

17. I like this one. Try it. Check your breathing throughout the day, and before, during, and after high-pressure situations. If you find your stomach muscles knotted and your breathing shallow, relax your muscles and take several deep, slow breaths. (If you take short, shallow breaths, it does not allow stale air to be expelled, oxidation of tissues is incomplete, and muscle tension frequently results.)

18. When the stress of having to get a job done gets in the way of actually getting the job done, create a diversion. Sometimes a change in environment or activity may be just what is needed.

19. Talk it out. Discussing problems with a friend can help clear your mind so you can concentrate on solving the problem.

20. And, of course, one way to avoid unnecessary stress is to avoid the stress. Select an environment (home, work, social) which is in line with your values, needs, desires. If you hate to talk politics, don’t associate with people who love to talk politics, etc.

21. Every day do something you enjoy.

22. Learn to live one day at a time.

23. Add an ounce of love to everything that you do.

24. Do something for someone else.

25. Take a hot bath or shower to relieve tension

26. Focus on understanding rather, than on being understood; on loving, rather than being loved – in giving, you receive. . .

27. Do something that will improve your appearance. Often- times, looking better can help you feel better. Outward organization can help you feel more inwardly “organized.”

28. Become more flexible, and less rigid. Some things are worth not doing perfectly and some issues are fine to compromise. (It’s okay the bed is not made perfectly . . . )

29. Eliminate destructive self-talk.

30. Use your weekend for a change of pace.

31. If an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day and get it over with.

32. Learn to delegate responsibility.

33. Have a forgiving view of events and people. Accept that we live in an imperfect world.

34. Have an optimistic view of the world. Be positive. Believe that most people are doing the best they can.

35. Do one thing at a time. When you are with someone, be with that person and no one or nothing else. When you are doing a project, focus on that project. Be present in the moment.

Surround yourself with people who are positive thinkers (kids are by nature this way).

Have a great week!