It's Time To Reduce Stress

by DavalosMcCormack on October 10, 2008

It’s early October, soon it will be Halloween then Thanksgiving and then, oh my god, Christmas. I mean, oh my God. Sorry. Don’t want to remove the religion out of the occasion. And if Christmas is coming can Easter be far behind! Everything is happening so fast that there hardly seems to be any time anymore.

But there is something you can do about it. Several somethings in fact.

Get a ‘To Do’ list. Sounds silly but you would be surprised how many things get left undone or left to the last minute, causing unecessary rushing and stressing, because you forgot about them. Make a list each day of things you absolutely have to do, things you need to do, and maybe things you’d like to do. This will help you make sure the “absolutes” and the “needs” get done first, and whatever time you have left over can be for the rest.

Learn to say “no”. Again it sounds ridiculously obvious but you would be amazed how many things pile up on your plate just because you didn’t say no. Be polite, be apologetic, be filled with regret, but be honest. If you can’t do what you are being asked to do, or if doing it would cause you a lot of grief and stress then, as our former First Lady Nancy Reagan would say, “Just say no.”

Take the time to do it properly first time. Often we think we can cut corners and rush something through. Too often that ends up with us doing something in a shabby or shoddy manner so we have to do it again. It may take a little longer to do it right the first time, but it saves you time in having to do it over again.

Use the 10 minute rule. Pick a task you really don’t want to do – say write a report or call someone with bad news. Spend ten minutes doing it. Chances are that at the end of that ten minutes the task is either done or well on the way to being done. That means you won’t have that problem hanging over your head or keeping you awake at night.

Get plenty of sleep and regular exercise. What!! Are you crazy? Who has the time? You do, you just have to make the time. Running yourself into the ground will just leave you tired, cranky and not much fun to be around. It will also impair your immune system making you much more vulnerable to colds, flu and other nasty bugs. If you are rested you are more likely to be able to focus on things that need to be done, and get them done quickly. By exercising regularly you stay healthy, you reduce your stress level, and you end up with a lot more energy than if you didn’t exercise.

Finally, take a break. I know it’s hard to do when you are swamped with work and chores but sometimes it’s the best thing to do. Stop, breathe, have a cup of coffee, go for a walk, read a magazine article or book for a few minutes. Just break away, even briefly, from what you are doing. The odds are that you’ll feel sharper and be better able to focus on the task at hand after you’ve taken a mini-break from it.

You don’t have to do these all at once. Try one at a time. Figure out which ones work for you, which ones you can fit into your life. Once you have found one that works stick with it, and add in one more. If the new one isn’t helping, dump it and try another.

None of these ideas are very complicated or difficult to do. Nor do they take up much time. Which is good, because let’s face it, who has the time. Wait a minute, isn’t that where we came in!

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