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When you are planning and strategizing for the New Year, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. I know you’ve got your business plans under control. I want to make sure you’ve also planned for how to be successful next year without sacrificing your health or losing your mind!
There are things that you value about the work that you do or specific situations. Knowing and connecting to your values can help you manage stress.
You might value helping people or serving. You might value your independence. You might value connecting with like-minded people.
Values can also be things that are important to you like family, friends, your pets, a safe and warm house, or security. Values can be qualities you think are important like love, kindness, honesty or authenticity. Values can be actions like charity, hard work, giving, or caring for others.
How to connect to your values to manage stress:
Try to figure out why you are experiencing stress in reaction to a specific situation, and to what value that might correlate.
When you shift your focus away from the situation and onto WHY you are reacting, it can be much easier to manage that stress in the moment and get back on track.
Consider some of the things that you know will probably stress you out (because they have in the past) and create a plan to focus on what you value in that situation. Then, when it happens again, you are ready!
When experiencing a stressful situation, ask yourself:
Shift your focus away from the situation and onto what it is you value. It gets you out of your head and back in the game.
When you feel as though you have more control over a situation, it helps to manage stress (it can also make you a better leader and help you to be more productive at work). While not always possible to exert control over every situation, stress researcher Robert Sapolsky states, “a sense of control works best for milder stressors” (p.404, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers).
Shift your mindset to consider:
Let’s break down a situation:
Carol is super-stressed about going to a family dinner. She loves her family, but feels they can be critical of her life in unkind ways. And also, she’s a vegetarian and this event is all meat all the time. What a mess!
All of us have things we do to cope with stress. It’s different for everyone, and it varies by situation. We all have things that really work and some things that we just do out of habit.
It used to work:
For me, watching Friends on Netflix was a go-to stress management tool - but I didn’t even really enjoy it anymore, it was just something I did when I was stressed. It was a habitual reaction to stress that used to make me feel better, but evolved into doing nothing for me.
It does work:
For me, actually physically leaving the house and going out to the movies is a stress coping mechanism for me and it almost always works! Also, I’ve also noticed that if I get some physical activity in, going to a yoga class or for a walk, that also almost always reduces my stress - more so than my preferred habitual method of sitting on the couch looking at Pinterest. It turns out being social helps me to manage stress, even though I’m introverted - so hanging out with friends is a great option too!
These are just some examples and I’m guessing you have your own things that really help you to cope with stress, and then the things you’re just doing out of habit that don’t help as much as they used to, if at all.
What coping strategies actually work for you?
Which ones don’t?
Make a plan to do more of the ones that work
and put them in your calendar.
How I plan:
When I know I’m going to have a stressful week (like during finals week or a course launch), my schedule is literally packed with yoga classes and movie dates with friends to help me buffer the stress that I know is coming!
This is your brain - this is your brain on stress…..unfocused, lack of concentration, racing mind. How can being busy and overwhelmed affect your health? In addition to increasing stress, it can impact your sleep, your emotional states (irritability, impatience), and your mental state (less focus, concentration). Details here.
Doing less is probably the easiest stress management tool ever. You literally just do less. I am very intentional about what I say yes to now, because when I’m more focused on my goals then I’m more successful. I’ve finally gotten to the point that I don’t say yes to things that I don’t want to do (even if I should). I choose my mental health over what other people think I should do. It’s not always an option - we still have to go to work - but when it is an option - I say no to that. I don’t isolate myself, I just decide where I want to put my limited energy. I get to decide how I spend my time. Why am I spending it doing things that I don’t enjoy with people I don’t really like? What else can you say ‘No!” to? Check out this list.
Need help prioritizing and planning? I couldn’t do anything without my Passion Planner.
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