I love the Mayo Clinic so I went there first to find out what they say:
- Decide to make the change on how stress affects you and how you react to stress: Simple enough....not gonna let things bother me anymore. Okay, maybe not THAT simple but making the decision to change is always the FIRST step in change.
- Identify your stress "triggers." Now this one is going to be fun....I suggest grabbing a piece of paper because life is crazy today. For me, driving into town (I live in a suburb outside of a city) and just thinking about driving into the city gets me stressed (and it's not a big city). Your job (this may pose a problem if it's "your job" and not aspects of your job). Your spouse (oops another problem.....maybe put on your list when my spouse does.....), your children (okay, if you have teenagers, just put teenage children we will all understand) but if it's babysitter issues i.e. getting them to and from, etc. than be specific. You cannot fix what you do not acknowledge so BE SPECIFIC.
- Don't forget on your list to put down the "positive" things that happen in your life that cause stress; marriage, birth of a child, VACATION (I know this seems crazy because vacations are supposed to reduce stress.....just plan one one time within a strict budget)
Now comes the attack plan: How do you reduce or eliminate what is on your list? Let's take "commute to work" as a stressor you need to reduce or eliminate. What exactly is it that causes stress for the commute? Is it traffic? Cost of gas? Running late? Time it takes to get there? Plan your work, work your plan. If it's traffic can you leave a little earlier or later to avoid it? If it's the cost of gas can you car pool or maybe work from home a few days (this would help with the traffic stress also). Do you run late? I have learned that people fall into three categories: laters, earliers or on-timers....and occasionally will do something different. I, personally, am an "earlier" person...if I am not 15 minutes early somewhere I AM LATE. Those of you who always run late cause stress on me and I have A LOT of people like that in my life. I don't have much advice for those of you who run late all the time as I don't understand how you can always be 5 minutes late. If you can be "on-time" 5 minutes late...than just be on-time. If you are stressed about the amount of time it takes you to commute talk to your boss about moving to 4-10 hour days, work from home a few days, or...yes, look for a job closer to your home.
Attack each stressor on your list and come up with several solutions to tackle that stress. If one doesn't work...move to the next way to attack it. Keep trying and keep thinking of ways to eliminate or reduce your stress.
Find a way to relax whether it be exercise, reading, resting, mini-vacations, walking your dog, etc. Do what you enjoy. Take time every day for YOU! Even if it is just five minutes to start out with...it will get easier and better with practice!!
Please tell me how you relieve stress.