I am big into memes these days because they often articulate the expression or way I would say things. I find myself just nodding and saying….yesss that’s exactly it. My favorite meme these days is the one that says “When I get a blocked nose I fully sit and think about times when my nose wasn’t blocked and how I took it for granted.” I can relate because every time I get sick, I think like this. Has it ever happened to you?
When life is good we typically don’t think of how we could have done things differently or better. When days are full of positive things and everything seems to fall into place or be in order, we hardly stop and say, I should have prepared better for this!
In a strange way, the idea of that ‘stuffy nose’ meme became the inspiration for my post. Thanks to two great Hollywood actors this idea of a bucket list came to life in a movie a few years ago. It is a list of things you may not have done before but want to do. I think nothing could be better than a list for managing stress in a way you have always wanted to but never have before.
No one has perfect days every day. You know that right? Bad days come, stress comes but until it hits, we don’t think about it. Here are 3 ways you can take on a rough day when it comes your way.
1. Stay ready so you waste less time getting ready
We cannot control what comes our way sometimes but we can control how we react to it. We can minimize stress by watching our own words and actions. Maybe the British army was onto something with their adage, Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. That can mean at the slightest indication a rough day is on its way, keep it at a stream before it becomes an ocean. We don’t get any practice days in this life. We are living life in real-time so it is important to remember the clock only rolls forward, not back. None of us will get to relive a single day in 2015 no matter what. Prepare for each day as though that will be its only entry in your life’s history book.
2. Pay attention to times when your stress usually hits
Know the frequent occurences and make changes accordingly. Does your eye start twitching more or your hair start to fall out a little when so-and-so spends more time than usual around you? Is there a peak busy time at work that happens the same time every year that makes you think about a new career? Pinpoint if there is a predictable meltdown point that you can prepare yourself for better. If you occasionally procrastinate and feel the stress of a looming deadline at work, what about breaking up that project to do a little at a time and eliminate the major meltdown this year?
I remember at a former job we used to plan a major event every year. The project manager for a few years would get so overwhelmed with stress because their planning did not start until the last-minute. So everything was done in the 11th hour and we all felt the pressure. Each year we felt an intense level of stress. A lot of restless nights. It wasn’t fun and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the event was over. One year someone else took the reigns and gave us a timeline with checkpoints over a couple of months instead of days. We met regularly to check in with each other, we addressed past mistakes and implemented new ideas to make the event better. We finally had no reason to be stressed because we properly prepared and the event was fabulous.That year of change, we were still so nervous it would be a disaster because we ACTUALLY had everything in place weeks earlier than in previous years. We were sure we must have overlooked something. We had free time we didn’t know what to do with. All along we had thought stress was just part of the event like it was written into the agenda. In the end we realized it did not have to be that way.
Life doesn’t have to be that way for you either. Which brings me to my final tip to de-stress your life.
3. Create calm in your life
What helps calm you down? I will share a few things that help me. First off, music is a powerful communicator. Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Indie artists downloaded on my phone. There is a song for every way I feel. Music delivers and evokes a lot of good emotion. Some moods are an excellent excuse to press play on my favorite tracks to give me that peace of mind I need.
I am also a bit of a yogi. I began practicing a few years ago and it is one of my favorite things to do. Yoga is perfect for my introvert spirit. It is about a sense of quiet strength. There is no need to be loud. It is a reflection within…introspection. Yoga is about balance and breathing and connectedness for you. It is an incredibly peaceful and relaxing process. It is also not always easy which is part of what makes it great. It challenges you without breaking you. One day I had a vicious headache after a stressful day. I did a 15 minute yoga session in my living room. I turned on a YouTube video, put my phone on silent, uncurled my mat across the floor, physically turned my lights down to symbolically quiet the intensity of that day. My headache disappeared after that because I gave myself 15 minutes to be. I gave myself 15 minutes for just me.
It can be anything you need to create your calm. Light candles around the house or take a walk around the block or soak up some sun on your patio or spend time every week doing something creative like I do on Sunday while writing my blog.
Whatever simple thing makes you most happy and helps you de-stress to feel most at peace, do that. Do it for you. Your body and mind will be grateful.
How do you de-stress? What is your favorite way to de-stress?