You may find tons of material online on what stress is, how to beat stress, workout plans, and foods that can help you to manage stress better, etc. But it is time to take matters into your own hands. Stress is not going away, and neither are its triggers. If you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, there are tons of stressors that you have to deal with, from kids schedules to your work stresses, and then your home schedules. If you are not a mom, and are single, or married, or in a relationship, there are different stressors at play.
Let us give you a step by step checklist that you can use to create your own stress-busting plan that can help you improve your health and lifestyle!
Step 1: ID The Stressors
When you’re stressed, you rarely remember what is it exactly that is making you feel angry or upset. You’re just too worked up to figure things out. That is exactly the point where you need to step back and ID your key stressors. Identify these stressors and break your schedule into smaller chunks that you can manage. Create lists of all the things you need to do and prioritize. Once you start targeting smaller sized chunks, based on priority, things start getting easier automatically.
Step 2: Avoidance Is A Good Strategy
Have you ever faced people who are always moping, complaining and being completely negative all the time? Or things that have negative connotations associated, that always bring you down. List all such items, people, and places, and avoid them like the plague. Sometimes, associating with positive and optimistic people can automatically help you become more relaxed about your own stressors.
Step 3: Let It Go
Are you always trying to be a superwoman or a super mom? Added stress comes from trying to be a perfectionist and trying to get everything done that is on your plate. Most successful people tend to only populate their to-do lists with top five items that are key priorities. All of the rest need to go. Try letting go of additional responsibilities and make a delegation plan. List all those pet peeves that make you want to be a perfectionist. Try a 21- day habit challenge to reduce your perfectionism on the items on this list.
Step 4: Work Out
While stress is something one can’t avoid completely, it does wreak havoc on your body if you are not mindful. Figure a workout plan, determine activities that you love and start incorporating these activities into your daily routine. While we all like to laze because stress and overwork all make us mentally tired, but physically your body is still struggling to balance everything inside. Working out gives your body a boost of endorphins that can help to lift your mood, and help you focus as well.
Step 5: Be Mindful
Amongst all that happens around us, we forget where we are and what we need to do. Sometimes, it feels like you’re a hamster on a wheel, without any respite. That is when you should schedule a few minutes throughout the day to take a mindfulness break. Sit down for a little while and take a breathing break. Learn to actively feel where you are, and what you’re doing. Even throughout the day, be mindful of the kind of emotions you are facing and exhibiting to other people.
Step 6: Eat Healthy
Eating healthy is another spoke to the spectrum of mindfulness and taking care of yourself. As women, stressors can be quite demanding on the body and hormonal levels. Hormonal imbalances can be very difficult, and we all know how difficult life gets with hormones out of whack (PMS anyone?). Eating healthy and making healthy lifestyle choices is key to making sure you are keeping stress at bay. Make a healthy eating plan, take a healthy lunch from home, and swap junk for healthy snacks.
Step 7: Get Your Zzz
While I am the one to talk about stress (someone who’s always craved crisps while working!), I do keep a regular sleeping pattern. If you talked to anyone around me, they’d tell you I wake up early and sleep at a set time. Friends apologize if I am subjected to late night parties! The only reason why, and what you should cultivate too, is to get enough sleep during the night. A friend recently started complaining of hair fall and lethargy and we concluded it was his sleeping pattern, sleeping in chunks during the day, and working during the night. Set a bedtime and stick to it. If your brain keeps buzzing when you’re trying to sleep, keep a journal next to you and jot everything down that is running through your head.
Step 8: Take Breaks
Take breaks. There is no emphasis enough that can be done to indicate that breaks are important to your routine. Ever faced that situation where you’re frustrated and that presentation that you’re working on is just not creative enough or intuitive enough or just not visually appealing enough? That’s when you need a break. Breaks throughout the day for ten minutes can help boost creativity, help you be more mindful, and can help you avoid frustration. Build a schedule and put reminders for your breaks, walk around, go drink a glass of water or stare at a plant away from your computer screen. This also means that we need to build hobbies and take vacations
Step 9: Emotional Documentation
Women are emotional beings. There is no denying it. This does not mean we are overly emotional about babies or pink frilly things, but just generally, we cry more often, and we laugh more heartily. But that also means that things around us tax us more emotionally. Utilize your journals, and write things down that are bothering you. Talk it out with your friends and find solutions to the stressors you’re facing. Sometimes, learning about other people’s problems and empathizing helps you to understand the magnitude of your own problems.
Step 10: Help Others
Go out and help others. It can be anything as easy as listening to others and empathizing to volunteering at local shelters and soup kitchens. Helping others brings life back into perspective and realize how people are leading their lives. Sometimes the size of our own problems is just too small in any case.
I am NoorJehan Arif, co-founder and partner at my Technology and HR solutions company, Mushawar Consulting. I blog at http://www.noorjehanarif.com and http://www.rockethq.co/blog and am a career and business coach. I assist young professionals to become better and stronger individuals and young businesses to become better and stronger corporates. Currently, am planning on an entrepreneurial magazine and trying to finish my first piece of fiction.