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Between everything you do at work and at home, it’s hard to find time just for yourself. If you’re like us, you might even feel like stress is just the norm.
It doesn’t have to be though.
It’s time to take back time for you so that you’re able to do everything else on your list better.
The Effects of Stress
The Mayo Clinic says long-term stress can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts our body at an increased risk of numerous health problems, including heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, depression, obesity, memory impairment and worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema.
Isn’t it crazy that something we consider the norm (stress), can affect our body, mood, and behavior?
People will pay whatever to avoid some of these symptoms or take whatever pill they can to eradicate them. But really, we could feel a whole lot better mentally and physically with just a few lifestyle changes!
My Relationship with Stress
Growing up, I have always been the Type-A kid.
Do you remember the scare tactics teachers used for standardized testing? Those speeches would worry me until I finally fell asleep. Parents going out of town? I would worry until they got home. Whatever I could worry about, I did.
I ended up with ulcers at the age of 10 over things that were so trivial looking back.
I was a perfectionist in high school as well. After being in dozens of clubs and taking the ACT 5 times to get a score any school would love, I was burned out.
By 21, I was dealing with dermatitis due to stress.
The year I taught high school, I knew I had to change my attitude though. I was only in control of my own happiness, obligations and time.
I had to make changes.
I let go of worrying about things I couldn’t change. You’d be surprised how empty my brain can be when I filter out thoughts by, “Can I control this?”
Personal development and reading the right books helped me organize my life by what is most important and also relax a little!
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Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up:
You have a way of reaching me when no one else can. You are a sneaky one to say the least. I heard you’ve been with a lot of people, but you seem to be suffocating me in this relationship. I am writing to tell you I’m through. You can keep the wrinkles, ulcers, headaches, sleepiness, and shoulder tightness. I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but it certainly is not you.
Sorry I’m not sorry,
While I always preach, don’t stress–it is very hard for me. I am such a people pleaser and perfectionist that the tight feeling in my chest just creeps up.
9 Tips to Break Up With Stress
1. Write Things Down
I use a planner each year that I write the big events for each day on. I keep a notebook with any of my larger thoughts and worries. I also have a to-do list at work and at home. I know all of this paper may seem like a lot, but it somehow allows me to organize my thoughts and see what is important. I also love to write down 3 things I am thankful for each day (big or small). This simple thing has been proven to help you establish a more positive outlook on life.
Today I am thankful for 1) A safe drive home for me, my family, and my students. 2) A job that I love 3) An understanding boyfriend that doesn’t judge my new 8:30 bedtime.
I have read in several health magazines that breathing can instantly lower stress levels. I keep holding my breath this week, and I have been trying to catch myself. I need to exhale the stress. You may also try meditating to take it to a new level.
3. Picture it!
What is bugging me? I know this is going to sound nuts, but I visualize all of my worries going into a big garbage can when I am going to sleep. Seeing your worries go away, or letting them “wash off you” helps you let it go.
4. Finish 1 Task at a Time
Take the time to finish one thing, You will not only do it better, but you will feel better too! By focusing in on one thing (instead of my usual 5!) you can get it done quicker and easier. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment once it’s done. It’s much better to mark off 1 thing than have 5 things just lingering half-done.
5. Take a physical break
Workout, do hall duty (teachers), take a walk, get lunch–do something to change your scenery. It will boost your spirits and help you from spiraling down a stressful road that undoubtedly never ends.
6. Remember, there is a world out there.
I was stressing on my way into the school. What if I have 100 emails, or the kids don’t remember the lesson? My stress continued at school. What can I do differently? Do they like homework out of the book, or should I try a worksheet? Will the kids, my peers, and my boss like how I run my classroom? Even after the last bell had rung I worried over what I could have done better and what was to come. I forgot there was a whole life besides my job.
7. Live a healthy lifestyle.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet have been shown to regulate hormones, preserve our bodies, and protect us from aches and diseases! While some days I feel like fixing my lunch and fitting in a workout adds in stress, but I know it is helping me and will become a routine really soon.
8. Get enough sleep.
I am having to give up a couple of things in order to get in my 7-8 hours a night, but it is so worth it. If it means recording a TV show or waiting to go out until the weekend, sleep is essential to my body and mood.
9. Take Time for You.
When in doubt, break out the cure-all. Drink a glass of wine and take a bubble bath!
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What stresses you out? How do you deal with stress?
Struggling to keep your head above water or your mind right? Check out this book!