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Friday, 28 June 2013

5 Tips for Stressing Less!

When I was first in the midst of discovering my health was spiralling down hill, a friend of mine who'd been through a similar journey said to me "you'll never be the same again".  He wasn't talking only about the physical, although that may be true, he was speaking of the lessons and growth that take place through trials.  I believe he was right.

One of the biggest things I'm learning and growing in is how to handle stress.  It's been something I think I thrived on for a while - the stress induced adrenal rush that can make us highly productive... for a short period of time.  The trouble is, long-term stress is also a  suppressor of our immune system, amongst other things, leaving us vulnerable to less than optimum health.

Here's a few things that I'm learning and challenging myself on, in learning how to minimize stress and deal with it in a healthy way when it comes.  I hope you might find something here that's helpful to you too:

1. Get organized.  Being un-organized is stressful.  If everything has a time and a place and an order of priority then stress can be reduced. For me one area where I'd hit the "adrenaline button" to get things done, would be in cleaning and taking care of our house.  I'm learning that if I have a routine and a system in place, I no longer have to pressure myself to deep-clean my house from top to bottom in one morning! (And spend the next 2 days recovering!)



2. Minimize. Living in clutter and trying to keep track of too much "stuff" is stressful.  I'm enjoying the stress-relieveing process of learning to live with less.  I'd highly recommend it! Here's a great blog for more on this issue: becomingminimalist.com



3. Know your limits. We're all human and we all have limits.  For an introvert there may be limits on how long they can spend with people before they need to decompress and spend some alone time. We all have physical limits - our bodies need sleep, food and water in order to function properly.  Some of us have more restrictive physical or health limitations too.  Know yours so that you can function at your best and not push yourself to stress and strain trying to achieve more than is humanly possible! (I'm definitely preaching to myself on this one!)



4. Prioritize rest.  If you don't plan for it, it doesn't happen.  Maybe you already know that being out 7 evenings a week isn't sustainable long-term for you.  Maybe you know that you're pretty cranky if you don't get 8.5 hours sleep every night.  Take time to decide what your work/play/rest balance should be and then plan for it.  You'll be way more productive when you're rested. There will be times and seasons where prioritizing rest might be difficult and it will always have to be flexible, but if you have a "best case scenario" goal to aim for, you're more likely to hit it at least most of the time.



5. Remember what's important. Gain some perspective. If you're anything like me, the things that stress you out the most are often the things that are no where near the most important things in life.  Take time to gain some perspective, to remember what's really important and what's not worth getting stressed about.  For me that's quietening my heart before God and remembering that He's in control, and choosing to be thankful.  

How do you deal with stress in your life?  Tweet me @vacrossthewater or comment below

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