This lesson is all about ways to manage your stress levels. Ways to pull yourself out of that funk and remember that life isn’t that serious. These are great for resetting your fight or flight response and allowing you to decompress enough to make a wise and thoughtful decision for how to proceed! Let’s get to it:
Maintain a Happy List.
I know this sounds a little flippant, after all happiness is the privilege of the young right? I want you, no, I need you to maintain a happy list. It’s not childlike, it’s survival. Knowing exactly how to infuse joy into your daily life is like a life raft for the stressed out. Knowing that at any given moment you have what you need to bring yourself joy is a game changer.
I suggest keeping a list of at least 10 things that can be brought into your day in less than 2 hours and for under $20. Often, just the act of writing your list will dramatically improve your mood. But, in the future, when you find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, in your head and unhappy you can reference the list, choose one item off of it and infuse your day with a little bit of happiness.
I know it’s helpful to see what kind of things I am talking about, so you can find my current list below. When I give my list a look and I don’t feel inspired by it, that’s when I write a new list. But, my current list is:
- Go to an afternoon movie.
- Go to a yoga class.
- Grab a bourbon & write.
- Go to the park and read.
- Take a walk around the block.
- Organize a section of my house.
- Take a bath.
- Do a few sun salutations.
- Jump up and down, dance, shake it off.
- Seeing the world from a higher vantage point. Get on top of a roof/parking deck/the roof of my car/etc. Anywhere high up.
Take Emergency Days off.
You really do have a lot more choice in the way things go than you probably realize. If you are feeling close to quitting, on the edge and overwhelmed with stress and there is no vacation in your near future. I suggest taking an emergency day off. Communicate with your clients that you will be unavailable, re-schedule anything that needs it and put your to-do list to the side for the day. Then, create the ultimate day of bliss for yourself. Get up when you want to, eat what feels best to you, do as many items on your happy list as you’d like and if you’re really committed, turn your phone off for long stretches of time. I like to leave mine on Do Not Disturb mode for the entire day if I can. Then, do a few of the practices laid out in this course, evaluate your lifestyle and see what needs to change so that your life can feel better to you as soon as possible!
I know it can seem hard to take a full work day off. You’re worried that you won’t get it all done. You’re worried that your clients won’t understand or that your family won’t see how hard you are working if they see you exercising the flexibility that you have earned for yourself. But, trust me when I tell you that the next workday following that emergency day off will be the most productive day you’ve had all year. Also, quitting for one day is a whole lot better than jumping ship all together!
Take extra care of yourself.
When you have a lot to do and a high stress environment in your life, this is not the time to start neglecting what you need. Often I see people stop eating and sleeping in response to their stress at work. This is the opposite of what you need to do. Instead, treat yourself particularly carefully. Drink more water, take frequent breaks just to take deep breaths, enjoy a long bath/shower and eat food that gives you energy! Really take the time to nurture your mind and your body when you are in high stress mode. It will help you to stay focused, energized and productive.
One of my personal favorite ways to reduce stress is to brain dump. Take a piece of paper and simply list out, as quickly as possible, all of the things that you are worried about at the moment. Get every last tiny thing out on paper so that you can clear your mind of it and let it rest. This prevents you from holding it all in your body or dumping it all on the first loved one who’s willing to listen. Be proactive, get it out and let it go. Bonus points if you burn the paper!
- Write your happy list! At least 10 items that can bring you joy in under 2-hours for under $20!
- The next stressful workday on your horizon, do what you can to take extra care of yourself. Get extra sleep, drink extra water, take more deep breaths, eat healthier foods. Take note of how you feel at the end of the day? How does it differ to past stressful work days? How much were you able to accomplish?