My life revolves around juggling my career in public relations, being a good mom and wife, and trying to be a happy me. It is a bit of roller coaster, and for the most part I love it.
As I gain more responsibility in my job and the role gets more demanding, it can be increasingly challenging to feel in control. There were nights were I would toss and turn thinking about how much stuff I had to do, what I hadn’t gotten done during the day and all of the ideas for the future. It was making my sleep time challenging to say the least, and let’s just say I love my sleep!
My favorite meme that I saw on Facebook says:
“I don’t have my ducks in a row. I have squirrels and they are going to a rave.”
This describes my life and what I have to react to each day. I know (or I have finally figured out) that the only thing I can control is how I react to it all. It was difficult, but I needed to stop the panic over the little things, so I could sleep a little better. I have learned to tackle the juggling and the stress in a couple of ways.
#1 – When you feel stress hitting, take a moment to realign your mind.
There are so many ways to deal with this. I used to eat and grab coffee. The bowl of chocolate bars on my desk were easy, but short lived in helping cope with my stress. When a treat turns into a meal, you know you have a problem. The relief would only be short-term and I need to find a real solution.
Now the moment I feel overwhelmed, I walk. When I worked from home that meant getting on the treadmill for five minutes. Now that I am back to working in an office, I do a quick lap around the office building. Those few minutes of breathing, stepping away and getting your mind refocused, makes all the difference in the world. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise “pumps up endorphins”, and “improves your mood. For me, I don’t always have 30 minutes to jump on the treadmill, but I do have two minutes to escape to get back into the grove. It is no longer about my chocolate fix, but a fix for my mind.
#2 – Get control with a list. Check it once, check it twice, check it again.
Yes, I am a Taurus and a bit of a control freak, so this tip is right up my alley. I love lists, but there is something rather powerful about having a list to help prioritize and focus. It is one task at a time. As my seven year old always reminds me, “how do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite!” A list allows you to break your priorities down and start attacking each one. There is something empowering about checking one item off after another. Trust me, you will feel amazing when you start to see the list disappear in front of your eyes.
If my list becomes too long, then I create a second list that I entitle “Bring Forward”. It is my way of ensuring that nothing gets left behind. It also always me to proactively plan the rest of my week. Once you see the big picture, you can understand how to prioritize and attack.
#3 – Deal with things as soon as you think of them.
An amazing women once gave me the best insight ever: “Bad news get worse with time.” Isn’t that the truth? The minute we put our head in the sand, we are asking for whatever stress and disaster is around the corner. We think that we can avoid that terrible email or the nagging phone call, but the reality is we are dragging out the pain. Why not just rip the bandage off and get it over with. I can’t tell you how many times I have spent nights laying awake at 2:00 a.m. stressing about something that I avoided doing or ran out of time. It is simple. Deal with it – send the email, pick up the phone or knock on the door. Once you deal with it, you can move on. Your imagination is always going to be worse than reality.
Stress may always be a part of our life, but we can find little ways to avoid it becoming overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches and find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no need to be a super hero. We are all in it together.
Stay strong and keep smiling!