I see you. I know you get tired of all the hats, all the neediness around you, all the obstacles ahead of your ease. Do you feel like you pour into the world your best, and then wait for the world to pour back into you? The truth is it doesn’t always happen that way. If you find yourself functioning on ‘E’ and wondering how you are going to pull yourself thru it yet again, keep reading, this post is for you.
It is national #StressAwarenessDay and as an anxiety fighter, and witness to my clients, and women close to me suffering from stress-related illnesses it’s tremendously important to me that I make you PAUSE, and reflect upon the stress-filled lifestyles modern society is forcing down our throats. I want to give you a chance to say NO to the constant grind before it’s too late! This will not be an unrealistic conversation about an idealistic stress-free life. I am the practicality queen, I’m here to give you a plan you can use TODAY to start giving yourself more grace.
Let’s talk about 3 tenants of stress management that can save you from stress-related suffering, and redirect you to health & happiness.
1. Chose to be productive, not primal.
We all know stress puts us in fight or flight mode, but for most of us, flight is not an option. In our attempt to hunker down and get ‘ish’ done we unconsciously land ourselves into this primal fight mode because of the way we approach our work. Obsessing about tackling everything in a reactionary way makes it hard to be strategic, and manage our energy long term. Feeling like you have to take on the world single-handedly sounds cool until the reality hits you that you are physically, mentally, and emotionally tired of fighting. Our productivity obsessed culture is leading to burnout, unhealthy work habits, and loss of joy. Free yourself from the gag, and build your life around doing enough of the things that matter most, rather than finding ways to do and be more than you already are.
Several of my coaching clients get stuck in grind mode and unintentionally attach their productivity to their self-worth. They all made lives out of “fighting” to be more productive like their lives depended on it. The more they did, the more valuable they felt. Every request, need, question, task, and to-do that comes up can feel like an opponent or challenger that needs to be slayed. Who needs that? Again, the amazon warrior thing is cute for a season but if it becomes your permanent lifestyle it will take its toll. It is important to take a serious look at the way you are living and finally do something about the stress you constantly talk about.
Here are just a few side effects of prolonged stress from the American Psychological Association:
- Muscle pain in back and upper extremities
- High Blood Pressure
- Risk of heart disease and heart attack
- Chronic Fatigue
- Metabolic disorders (diabetes, obesity, etc)
- Depression, anxiety, and mood swings
- Immune System suppression & disorders
- Stomach pain or discomfort, and more…
Pay attention to when you are physiologically landing in an adrenaline controlled, logic compromised, survivalist, fight mode. Check for tunnel vision, fatigue, loss of appetite, feeling wired, irritability, increased heartbeat, shallow breathing, and an aggressive edge. Take note of these moments so you get to know your triggers, and have information on where changes need to be made. Here are some solutions to break the cycle of constantly going, pushing, and grinding on autopilot.
Pro Tip Solutions
- Pause, Step away or close your eyes, pull back into your body, and Breathe deeply into your belly for 3 slow breathes in a crunch, or up to 10 minutes when available. To pull it together visualize yourself going from a starburst to a symmetrical dot.
- Stop skipping breaks. YOU NEED A BREAK DURING WORKING HOURS and YOU NEED 1-2 DAYS OFF A WEEK. You are not better because you don’t take them, you will perform better when you do take them. If days off require major change, that’s okay, get started on working toward it.
- Take time to develop a Health & Wellness self-care plan and commit to it. Go check-out my resources on my website for a little help.
2. Finesse your lifestyle don’t force it.
Many of us create stress by trying to squeeze water from a dry rock. You are pushing toward a goal or an outcome with that, “whatever it takes” grind mindset, and it’s costing you, your peace. To manage our busy lives we have to be willing to accept the rocks for rocks, move on, and focus on the fountains. In other words, give yourself permission to change conditions that don’t give you enough time, energy, profit, peace or whatever you are constantly trying to force. You have a say so, choose wisely. It just isn’t always worth the stress to try and work with what you got. Here’s how you can move away from the rocks and find your fountains.
Pro Tip Solutions
- Be brutally honest with yourself about your time. The way we spend our time should reflect our values and aspirations. Are you clear on what those are? If not take time to meditate or get help finding that clarity. Then proceed to ask yourself these questions around time management. Is your to-do list for the day realistic or over-committing? Where are you giving too much of your time away to things that are not your problems to solve? Does your to-do list reflect your core priorities? What needs to get done now, and what can be deferred? Schedule non-negotiable tasks in your life and build out your schedule from there. Reach out to me if you need help learning how to schedule for work/life balance.
- Address any partner/spouse/co-worker that does not do their fair share of work. You will never master being two people, know your limits and hold those around you accountable for their contributions.
- Successful people master delegation. Average, struggling, people live their lives trying to do more than they can effectively handle. Don’t stay stuck in the hamster wheel, ask for help, or recruit the right people to do what you need them to do.
3. Say No.
Give yourself grace by freeing your heart from all the things you “should” be doing that are not based on roles and responsibilities that you have accepted, or values that you serve! We can get into where those demanding voices telling us what we should be doing come from another time. For now, reclaim your right to decline charges to your time and energy. Every time you say yes, you are inversely saying no to something else. I’d bet more often than not what you are saying no to is your peace of mind and self-care.
As you build a lifestyle with a better Grace vs. Grind balance know that it is ok to decline extra tasks/projects/events that are non-essential until you find a consistent flow with an effective, balanced schedule. This may take a solid 30 days, and that’s okay.
Pro Tip Solutions
- Be assertive expressing your needs & boundaries.
- Believe you deserve to take care of yourself along with everyone else not after everyone else.
- Look for harmony rather than rigidity. Meaning create a life that flows, allow for exceptions to your boundaries when your intuition tells you to bend, but don’t abandon the systems working for you.
If you are struggling to manage your stress first know that you are not alone, and that many women are feeling stuck, uncomfortable, and spread to thin just like you. But guess what, it is not ok! Prolonged exposure to stress is a real risk factor to your health. There is no magic pill, it will never end on it’s own. The people around you are not likely to change in order to serve you up some stress relief. You are going to have to decide how you want to live, and choose sustainability over stress over and over again. If you need help I AM HERE>>>Get on my calendar and let’s talk about solutions.