Choosing a Preventative Approach to Stress Management: Part One
Often we can tell when someone is stressed out simply by what they tell us: “I am so overwhelmed. I have too much on my plate. I can’t handle it right now. I can’t keep up. I’m frazzled”
“I’m so stressed out. I’m so stressed out. I’m so stressed out.”
Repeating these mantras can make the experience of stress a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There’s no doubt about it: the business of life can be stressful. We aim to keep up and maintain a certain quality of life, and often lose our sense of balance in the grind of it all. Frequently we forget to plan for stress management, and renewal becomes a priority after the fact, rather than a proactive measure.
With the more prioritized areas of our lives, such as financial planning, career planning and family planning, it takes conscious intention to put these into place. Ironically, at times it can be so much to keep these balls in the air that we stress ourselves out. Thus, it stands to reason that it also takes conscious intention to plan for nipping stress in the bud, this is called “Stress planning” or stress management. The traditional approach to this is planning a holiday, yet this doesn’t cover the rest of the year. Recharging ourselves and preventing the insanity should be a part of life as regular as brushing teeth. If you’re going to choose a busy lifestyle full of activity, commitment and stimulation, it would be prudent to throw in recovery measures that will keep you in balance.
In an ideal world, you would carry around a checklist, in order to check in when you start experiencing stress. The checklist would serve as a gauge for you to monitor that all systems are in place for you to manage incoming stress resourcefully. Items on this Resourceful Stress Management checklist might include:
Inspiring, calming people/ or pets that restore your energy.
Reducing stimulus: sounds, lights, vibrations.
Setting limits: on commitments, projects, coffee/ alcohol/ refined foods.
Working out problems: sound-boarding through a trusted, neutral friend, therapist, or journal.
The list will look unique for you. Only you know best which things in your life serve your need to restore, release and revive. The next time you find yourself stretched thin and strained to the point of actually recognizing that you aren’t operating at a balanced level, check in with yourself. Make a list of the items that will boost you and enhance your ability to manage your plate-load. Check in to see if you are doing any of these things. If you aren’t, then bingo…no wonder you’re on the edge.