We all know stress can be a killer. I personally know the effect stress can have on health, lack of sleep, appetite, depression, and even the ‘big’ health issues, which put things into proper perspective like nothing else will. There have been thousands of books and articles written about this topic, and we have heard tips on what to do to avoid and minimize stress for years. For some reason it often seems like chatter: ‘yada, yada, yada … I know what to do, I just don’t do it!”
I get it. Those who know me, also know I truly do get it!
So, rather than a laundry list of more things to do – here are 6 small aspects to consider integrating into our lives, which I have experienced as a ‘release valve’ to stress. No, they do not alleviate it; yet they do help smooth it out, frame a new perspective, and help us realize that our health is truly the single most important thing we can protect. My coaching: read these thoughts as if you are reading them for the first time.
1. Have FUN. We can ease stress with pleasure. Movies. Art. Symphony. Gardening. College football (Go Hogs!). Frankly, there have been years where ‘fun’ was the last thing on my list. What I have learned is there is nothing that says work, pleasure, success, AND fun are mutually exclusive. Period.
2. IGNITE our beliefs. Finding something in which to truly believe becomes our anchor. Faith, whatever form this takes, gives perspective to year end payrolls, quarterly quotas, financial success metrics, remodeling homes with funds that don’t exist, and children’s upcoming exams. Be open to inspiration and healing practices. Prayer. Yoga. Journaling. Walking in the early morning. Whatever it takes to slow the music down! Our Faith will sustain us.
3. Go to BED! Enough said. Sleep is the best remedy. Having a hard time getting to sleep? Yep – I get that. Try writing in the gratitude journal I mentioned last week. And if nothing else works – just get up and read! After a few pages in one, of the three or four books on my bedside table, I am back to sleep.
4. Talk. Find someone to talk to. Unload. Don’t bite our tongues. Express issues openly. This goes for all our personal and professional relationships, by the way.
5. Eat well (and good)! Ok, that means all the stuff we are told to eat: broccoli. walnuts, blueberries, pomegranates, egg whites, tomatoes … nothing we don’t already know. Having embraced this with renewed vigor these past few months – it works! So, now I have a basket of little raisin boxes on my kitchen counter and a dispenser with walnuts and when I need a ‘boost’ that is what I grab. Try it … would love your feedback and suggestions.
6. Get moving. Again, I am probably the last one to sign up for a daily hour of high sweat, high intensity Pilates. Yet, boy, what a difference it makes!! If all we can muster is a 15 minute walk, I can say that works just as well! If something is holding us back – just try it for 3 days in a row – something will click. Give it a go.
So, there it is. Nothing new or ‘original’ (see the A Fine Line from Monday) – yet, what is original is our individual choice relative to these 6 little changes in perspective.