Pulling the Plug on Stress: 5 Ways to Slow Our Roll During Times of Stress
We all say it. “I’ve really got to take a break and take better care of myself. This stress is killing me!” Then what? Nothing!
We stay on the same crazy, over-booked, under nourished, burn the candle at both ends, non-stop express freeway to burn out!
Then what a surprise! We get sick. We get irritable. We lose the capacity to handle simple day-to-day frustrations which, in turn, creates MORE frustration because we end up feeling stuck on a never-ending merry-go-round-from-hell of our own creation.
You know this. Stress is the number one manageable health risk that leads to serious health conditions like strokes, heart attacks and cancer, as well as raising our potential for accidents and injury, because our overloaded brains can’t focus on being Present. Besides all that, well, it just doesn’t feel very good!
So, if we know all of this, what is it that’s keeping us from pulling the plug, getting more realistic about our load capacities and slowing our roll?
Well, it’s different for every person, but usually it comes down to one, or a combination of, the following five things. We have:
1) Unrealistic expectations – either of ourselves, what others expect of us or what we expect of other people
2) Insufficient boundaries – we just don’t say no when we should and turn into human door mats
3) Unhealthy ‘People Pleasing’ tendencies – we make the source of our happiness more about what others think of us, than what’s actually healthy for us
4) Use distractions to avoid facing uncomfortable issues – Stay busy and you won’t have to think about issues that cause you pain
5) Lack the right skills to manage and prioritize life activities – Assessing where you are, where you want to be and how to get there are learned skills that take practice and focus.
Do any of these reasons ring true for you?
What would it mean to you, and your life, if you were in the driver’s seat instead of a passenger on the bus of life? What could you REALLY accomplish if you allowed yourself to push the re-set button and thrive, instead of just surviving?
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, it starts with a single decision, a commitment to what truly makes you happy and healthy, then taking small, manageable steps toward a better life.
You have it inside you. It’s just waiting for you to give it permission to come out and play.
So, let’s revisit those 5 reasons I just listed and consider some suggestions to help you move closer to a less stressful life.
Unrealistic Expectations – Whether it’s expectations we create for ourselves or expectations we’ve allowed others to create for us, the first step is to get a reality grip on what’s truly urgent and what’s not.
I’ve found that, in many cases, in my own life and for my clients, people tend to create an unnecessary sense of urgency when it might be something they could prioritize differently.
So, ask yourself this. What would happen if you took a step back from an item on your list or schedule, either temporarily or permanently, and how would it improve your life and level of health?
Also, what’s the worst-case consequence you’d experience from taking that action? Is it truly as bad as you think it is?
Insufficient Boundaries – This one’s simple. Just say no more often.
Seriously! If you are already overwhelmed with life, saying no to taking on more work or more social activities you don’t have the energy for is a no-brainer.
If you’re saying yes when your body/soul is screaming no, it’s usually because you feel you don’t want to let someone down or you don’t want people to think you aren’t a team player.
But, here’s the thing. You can avoid that by simply communicating the truth.
You’d LOVE to go to the party, take on that extra client or finish that household project, but your plate is full! You’re off the players list on a temporary basis to refresh and rebound. People will not only respect that, they’ll want to follow in your footsteps and start setting some of their own boundaries.
Unhealthy People Pleasing Tendencies – This one was one of the hardest for me to get a grip on and I still fight it frequently.
Your first step as a Soon-to-Be-Former People Pleaser is a biggie.
Understand that you aren’t here on this planet to live your life based on what other people want or think of you. You can be supportive, flexible and accommodating when it’s appropriate, but when it comes to LIVING your life, making decisions and putting your health at the forefront, those decisions need to come from you, not others.
Using Distractions – If you are a person that is fixated on everyone else’s problems, but never have time to focus on solving your own, you are using deflection to avoid the real homework that leads to a healthier, less stressful life.
Let other people fix their own issues. You can’t live their life for them no matter how badly you want them to be happy.
Spend some time asking yourself the questions about what YOU want, how you want to live YOUR life and what it will take to get you there. Then get busy putting them into action!
Lacking the Right Life Skills to Manage Your Life – This one is simply about being open to learning new skills.
If the ones you have aren’t working for you, identify the areas you need the most help in and reach out for help. It’s out there.
Whether you need help digging deeper into life issues through coaching, learning from others with similar challenges through support groups, taking a class at your local community college on Tai Chi or listening to an online course on time management, there are life management resources available to help you reach your goals.
Remember, the ultimate goal in de-stressing your life is to allow your body, mind and spirit the ability to experience what it was always intended for, to enjoy life in a truly balanced way.
It just takes one step after another to get to where you want to go!
Go forth and conquer my friend!
If you think you might benefit from life coaching sessions, or just need a little push to get through a life transition challenge, I encourage you to take advantage of one of my free 20-minute introductory phone coaching consults to see if I can help.
Full sessions are provided in-office or by phone, so you don’t have to live in the Florence area to benefit from this service. To schedule, go to https://www.turningpointscoaching.com/book-online