Yesterday, I shared some general ways I deal with stress. Today I’m following that up with some specific things I do that help me deal with daily stress.
You can read yesterday’s post HERE.
Here are 7 specific tips I have for handling stress:
Plan each day – Begin each day with a predetermined win for the day. What do you intend to get accomplished? Learn to plan what you can actually do. Don’t overcommit. Complete the item or move it to another day. Keep in mind, if you keep moving items you are either not making good use of your time or planning too much for effectiveness. The more you plan days you can complete the less stressful individual days will be and, ultimately, the more effective you will be. (In fact, read a post HERE about doubling your productivity.)
Switch projects – When I’m really stressed about a specific project, I like to take a break and work on something different; hopefully something I can easily complete. Now obviously that can become a problem if you never complete the stressful project, so use it as a help not a crutch. Sometimes, howerver, the energy created in making progress on another project will fuel you for the stressful project.
Review your time commitments – Monitor all the ways you spend time. (I wrote a post about this previously HERE.) If you were going to create a monetary budget for the first time, financial planners would have you track everywhere you spend money. The same principle applies here. If you’re always stressed chances are good you have a time management issue on your hands. Figure out the problem areas and you’ll decrease stress.
Practice redirection of thoughts – Read a Psalm. Listen to a song. Recite poetry. Look at pictures of your family. Take a moment to reflect on something of greater value in your life than that which is causing the most stress. (By the way, this works even if the family is causing the stress )
Move your body – Take a walk. Stretch your muscles. Head to the gym. I have found that the deeper the stress the more exercise I need, even during the middle of a busy day. When I come back from time in physical activity I’m more energized to attack stress and win!
Talk to someone who listens and cares – Sometimes just walking to another office and venting will relieve a stressful moment. Others, especially those who know me and care for me, can see things from a perspective I can’t see. They can speak into my day. They can help redirect my focus and give me a fresh start.
Stop and dream – What’s something you can look forward to? It may be at the end of the day, the weekend, or a year down the road. Knowing there’s something beyond today helps me handle the current stress. Guys, this is one reason I’m always intentionally trying to have a mini-vacation on the calendar for my wife and me. I know she and I both need that in our marriage to handle the daily stress grind. Again, don’t let this become a distraction to progress. You’ll have to discipline yourself back to the task at hand, but,in my experience, typically people who stress the most (people like me) are wired for progress more than process. We stress when things aren’t getting done fast enough and we tend to overcommit. I’m not sure our basic wiring will ever change, but sometimes, in the midst of that stressful moment, stopping to “smell the roses” lowers our stress level, gives us more fuel for the journey, and makes us more efficient…and more happy!
Those are my tips.