As the weather begins to warm-up, we’re making our summer vacation plans. The past two years of restrictions and lock-downs put something of a crimp in our usual vacation travel.
Instead of sitting around moaning about our circumstances, we took advantage of the break. We engaged in a few more hobby activities than normal. We tackled a few jobs around the house and went out for more nieghbourhood walks than usual.
This year we have plans. We’re looking forward to visiting family and getting our camping in our trailer.
Right now, I’m sitting here, enjoying a coffee and taking it easy, I’m thinking about stress. We all have stress; there’s no way to avoid it. In fact, some degree of stress is a good thing. Just as the stress of weights during exercise can help build muscle, so life-stress can build emotional, psychological or mental “muscle”.
Stress becomes a problem when it controls us. If you want to remain balanced, you need to manage the stress in your life.
How do you do that? Here are six secrets of stress management:
- Know yourself: If you don’t have a clear sense of who you are and what you stand for, people and circumstances will try to shape you. Trying to be someone or something you are not is stressful.
- Set clear goals: Define what you want or need to do. If there’s a big, undefined task looming in your subconscious, you’re going to be stressed about not getting it accomplished. Setting clear goals allows you to see the end and set the steps toward reaching the goal. Just meeting each of the milestones leading to a completed task can go a long way to reducing stress.
- Set your priorities: You can’t do everything all at once. You can set your goals and know the steps to reach those goals, but if you don’t know where to begin, you’re going to build stress. Figure out the priorities and you’ll know where to begin.
- Set your focus: Once you know where to begin, focus on that task. If you try and focus on more than one thing at a time, all things will suffer.
- Delegate: You can’t do it all yourself. You can plan a major project, set all the steps, plan dates for the deliverables and then stress over all that needs doing. Get the team involved. Even Jesus enlisted 12 disciples.
- Relax: Take a break. Successful weight-trainers know constant stress on the muscles will soon become counter-productive and even damaging. They know their muscles need to have periods of relaxation to get the best benefit from training. Stress can compound. You need to take breaks to relax and refresh, thereby coming back stronger.
Stress is never eliminated, but it can be managed and controlled. A few simple steps and you can make stress work to your advantage.