We usually have relatively calm holiday seasons at the Weber’s. I am grateful my family taught me to keep Christmas gifts and schedules in the proper perspective.
But this year the stress snuck up on me. You too may have be broadsided by the stresses in your life.
Here are four ways to beat stress at its own game:
1) Recognize the Signs
Journaling and talking with support people can help you see the signs. Note when you are being forgetful. See how often you skip workouts or other self-care rituals because of schedule conflicts. Are you skimping on your sleep to get stuff done? Or even when you have time to rest you aren’t able to sleep well. Over- or under-eating signal stress too.
2) Put Your Behavior in Context
Once you recognize your stress signals, ask what else is going on in your life. Have you taken on a project you didn’t anticipate doing? Is your financial situation adding to your stress? What additional demands has their been on your time, like attending field trips, or new time-consuming projects at work? Have you and your spouse been arguing more? Has the teenage back talk increased? Look at the bigger picture. Multiple little stressors can add up to big overload. Dissecting your situation can help you pull the roots of your stressors.
3) Get Your Bearings
We often shed what gives us peace and strength when time pressured. Get back to your spiritual, emotional, and physical routine. Stay in touch with family and friends, even for brief connections. Get back to your to-do list and priority what needs to happen next and do it.
4) Reclaim Your Life
After putting the stress in context and getting your bearings, you are ready to start making structural changes to prevent or end the current stress. Do you need to ask for help from others in the volunteer projects you are doing? What boundaries do you need to set? What guilt do you need to let go of to start doing the things in your work and personal life that you need to do? How can you make sure you get the rest and self-care you need?