In almost every conversation I have with friends, family, or acquaintances, the topic of managing stress habitually comes up. If I were to poll all of you reading this article right now on what is bothering you the most, I imagine a majority of you would answer something related to stress, and how to manage it.
Yes, stress is annoying, difficult, and frustrating. Stress is part of life; however, just because something is part of our lives, doesn’t mean it has to control our lives. I used to let every little thing stress me out, until I really developed a relationship with my stress. I learned how to manage it and I live knowing it’s there from time to time, but I don’t let it rule my life.
It’s possible to live peacefully with the stresses of our lives. The first step is becoming aware of our stress triggers so we can take appropriate action. I have made it a point to notice the habits in my life that tend to lead me to a stressful place, and I’m feeling many of you will relate to them! Take a look below at my top four, and see if any of these habits have a roll in your life. I have added some replacements or reframes, so you can begin to manage these with grace and ease.
- Multitasking. Whenever I have way too many things going on at once, I feel completely buried in stress. Usually, my multitasking stems from not being organized enough and not mentally having a good grasp of my time management. As we know, when we divide our attention at any given moment, our energy is zapped, our productivity is lowered, and the quality of our work is diminished. Try to get into the habit of doing one thing at a time. Write things down, make to-do lists, and create schedules, so you can trust that there is enough time to get everything done. This will help give your brain a sense of peace.
- Excessive Internet use. This one is a huge for me personally. I can very easily get sucked into hours of mindless social media and Internet surfing. Some days I think back and try to calculate the hours I’ve spent on online, and it truly embarrasses me. Yes, we live in the age of the Internet, and our jobs require us to be connected often, but staring at screens 24/7 is not good for our brains, our eyes, or our psyche. Social media can bring up so many emotions from fear to lack to unworthiness. All of these are huge stress triggers. Notice how much time you spend in front of a screen. Give yourself limits. What really works for me is allotting myself a set amount of time to check in online per day. Once I’m done, I’m done. Be disciplined, step away from the phone or computer, and give your brain a break.
- Too much caffeine. I love my coffee, but I definitely have those days where the coffee intake is greater than the water intake, and I feel like a total crazy person. While I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should have coffee in your life, I am here to say that it’s important to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day. When I think back on the days that I have physically felt the worst, there is an absolute correlation to the fact that I drank very little water and too much caffeine. How we feel physically has a huge impact on our stress levels. We have to feel good in order to do the good work of our lives. Remembering to drink your water is a simple, effective tool to help keep your nerves at bay. To help me out with this, I recently bought a super cute Swell, reusable bottle that I love bringing around with me.
- Saying yes too much. Are you one of those people that has your schedule packed to the brim? Do you say yes to every invite, opportunity, or event? Chances are your packed schedule is leaving you no solo time, which can take its toll on our sense of calm. There is high value in taking part in our societal roles; however, it is equally as important to have the space in between to breathe, be quiet, and regroup. If you are reading this, and can’t remember the last time you spent at least 20 minutes alone, this one is big for you. Know that it’s ok to say no to the things that don’t really light you up. Make alone time a priority, put it in your calendar, and commit to set aside the time. We restore ourselves when we are alone, remember that.
I hope these common habits and their solutions help you on your way to managing stress with ease! Have you noticed any other habits that bring you stress? Let’s keep the conversation going below!