By: Terry Burgess, Midlife Coach for Men
This blog entry is a follow-up to an entry I posted on July 5th of this year. You may go back an read it at this link: http://upwardmc.com/stress-everyonehasit/
Today, however, I want to give you 25 different ways you can reduce and eliminate stress from your life. You do not have to implement them all. However, pick as many as you like (up to five), add them your daily routine until you have mastered them to reduce your stress. Then repeat the process with another set of five until you are comfortable with your stress level.
Here is the list.
- Start your 15-30 minutes morning earlier. Any mishaps in the morning will be less stressful and likely to occur if you have spare time to deal with them.
- Prepare what you the night before. Help make your morning less stressful by preparing your coffee pot, making lunches, setting out clothing for yourself, and having your children prepare their bags for school.
- Write it down, don’t rely on your memory. Write down addresses, directions and phone numbers. Use your mobile device or an ole fashion planner or notebook.
- Say “no” more often. It’s amazing how much stress can be eliminated by giving up unrewarding or stressful activities, refusing inappropriate requests and turning down invitations from people you don’t enjoy.
- Take advantage of off-hours for banking and shopping. If crowds or long lines stress you out seek out and take advantage of times businesses are not that busy.
- Walk everywhere you can. Exercise has a soothing effect—especially when it permits you to avoid traffic jams, crowded buses and costly taxis.
- Make reservations—If you are available to make reservations at hotels, restaurants, and theatres take advantage of it. Remember to confirm time, location and other details before you depart.
- Allow for extra time. If it usually takes thirty minutes to get to the work or airport, allow an hour. It’s better to arrive well ahead of schedule than to fret over every stoplight or traffic tie-up along the way.
- Rearrange work or travel hours, if possible. A thirty-minute change in an arrival or departure time can make a big difference in traffic, crowds and other stress producers.
- Be prepared to wait. You can make wait your friend if you are stuck in a long line or siting in a reception room for an appointment. If you are prepared by having a book/magazine, reading your e-mail, or keeping up with your social media account.
- Relax your standards. Expecting perfection is not only unnecessary, it’s boring. Remember it is through our failing and shortcomings we grow and learn.
- Find your own special quiet “ME” Place – Establish a serene place of you own—even if it’s just a comfortable chair in a quiet corner. If the sound of your teenager’s stereo, your husband’s ballgame or the neighbor’s barking dog still penetrates, wear earplugs.
- Reframe your perspective. Learn the power of not focusing on the result and focus on the process and intent. Is the World going to end if you miss my connecting flight? Will it matter in the ultimate outcome if you’re a few minutes late to your son’s baseball game or your daughter’s recital? Just ask yourself So, What? Will this really matter in a week or month from now? Chances are if your worst fears are realized, they often turn out not to be as detrimental as we envisioned.
- Count your wins and blessing. No problem is so bad that it couldn’t be worse. And it helps to remember that. Also, even if the outcome is not what you expected look for small “wins”/victories and the blessings you gained from the experience.
- Take a personal time out. Breathe deeply, stretch your muscles, nap, meditate or do a few tension-relieving exercises. If you can arrange a brisk 5-minute walk.
- Power of Touch. Hug your spouse or friend, play with or hold your pet. Physical contact is an excellent stress reliever.
- Ask more questions. You’re less likely to make mistakes or get lost if you make sure to get detailed instructions first and clarify any expectations you are unsure of in the assignment.
- Make alternate plans. Always have a plan “B” in the event something comes up unexpectedly. You never know when Mother Nature is going rain on your picnic or parade. If you have an alternate plan in mind this will reduce your stress when you need to change plans on the fly.
- Declutter your life. Remove unused, outdated, broken, objects that just collect dust or clothing. Simplify your life by removing yourself from responsibilities and activities that are not enjoyable to you and add tremendous stress to your life.
- Reward yourself after stressful activities. Stop for a special lunch or snack after dealing with crowded stores. Relax with a favorite television show or book completing that stressful project you accomplished.
- Schedule Fun. You must make time for fun stress relieving times in your life. Schedule fun time with friends and family in your calendar and treat it as if it were an appointment with you your most important client.
- If you’re a parent, take a break from the children. Hire a sitter and take a break from your kids. Ideals include take your spouse on a date, pursue a hobby, spend time at a museum, plan a girls or men’s night out, visit a local coffeeshop and just get away to a quiet place to read or listen to music.
- Journaling – Purchase either a special journal or a plain ole notebook will do. Every day write down your successes/wins, your personal interactions with people, your stresses, your dreams and your ideals. Periodically review your journal and you will likely find how much you have grown or overcome in your life.
- Get a massage. Tension just melts away under the touch of massaging fingers. A simple neck and shoulder can do wonders for the tight muscles brought on by stress. If you can afford it hire a professional masseuse or just find a friend to give you a massage.
- Have a routine for going to bed. Having a personalized routine at bedtime helps reduce stress. You can include stretching, meditation, reading, listening to music or any calming activities. It helps you sleep better – and is an excellent stress reliever.
Terry is a Personal Leadership and Midlife Coach for Men with Upward MC in Benton, Kentucky. He can be contacted via e-mail at Terry@upwardmc.com or by phone at 270-493-0967. His website can be found at http://www.terrypburgess.com