Overwhelmed with stress? Here's how to reclaim your life!
Women experience stress at unimaginable levels. Today's women are mothers, daughters, and friends, who are inundated with an overload of information, expectations, and input. You're more connected globally than ever before while still struggling with how to effectively manage close personal relationships. You may have a Facebook account but not have much practice in having healthy one-on-one conversations. You may struggle with putting down your cell phone, turning off the television and juggling a family and career.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help manage your stress and rediscover a more powerful and emotionally balanced you. Take a look at these six ways you can help reduce your S.T.R.E.S.S. levels:
S is for Simplify. Are you overcommitted and overly busy? Are you forcing yourself to stay involved in activities you used to find enjoyable? It might be a situation of activity overload. Even good things can create stress. If your weekday hours and weekend life is filled to the brim with activities, you may want to evaluate the need to simplify your life. Write down all the things you're involved in and choose which activities you truly enjoy and which ones you're involved in because of pressure from others (or from your own internal messages). Then make some changes to simplify your life.
T is for Tools. Even great ideas need appropriate tools to take them from 'idea' to 'reality'. Take some time to evaluate your style. Are you stuck in social media overload? Use one of the many free software tools available to manage some of that interaction or simply use an alarm to remind you to unplug.
Are you experiencing relationship stress? Grab an accountability partner or join a group to give you the tangible tools you need to make healthier choices. Simple exercises like deep breathing, walking, getting a massage, and listening to calming music can make an enormous difference in the stress you feel.
R is for Redo. You're living a grand adventure of discovering who you are while hearing constant messages from friends, family, and society about how you have to be different. You can help reduce your stress by creating an atmosphere in your family where a "do-over" is acceptable and even encouraged. When you react to stress by having a meltdown, give yourself permission to start over and make your needs known without the drama. When you realize you've made some relationship choices that aren't healthy for you, be quick to offer yourself forgiveness and plenty of grace as you practice a better way. You can significantly reduce your stress levels by letting home be the place where you can intentionally practice the "do-over" process.
E is for Empathy. Are you convinced that no one really understands you? You just may be right! However, you can choose to reduce the stress of feeling all alone by reaching out instead of curling into a self-protecting cocoon. The details of your life are uniquely yours, but there are commonalities between your life and those of every other woman alive.
Reach out! Share a smile, a word of encouragement, and let go of your need to have someone completely "get you." Leave notes for co-workers or kids, send text messages to your significant other, give a compliment to a stranger, and ask your friends what they feel stressed about then really listen to their response. As you reach out, you will be making your heart more open to others who will reciprocate.
S is for Solid. Your own personal journey, your emotional and spiritual life, is what gives you a base of personal experience from which to tackle life. Is your own foundation solid? Would you be proud for your son or daughter to follow you? Do you have some healing work that you need to do? Choosing a positive attitude goes a long way, but it isn't a substitute for the deep healing work that will be required following abuse, grief, or big changes. Being willing to do the work now means you'll have a solid base from which to move through the next stressful experience.
S is for Symphony. There are about 20 different instruments played by upwards of 50 musicians in a symphony orchestra. No one instrument is more important than another and together they make beautiful music. The secret to making that music, though, is in the hundreds and thousands of hours devoted to practicing, both together and separately. Embracing your uniqueness is like that.
Every woman is unique, and each is on a journey. You have a priceless opportunity to celebrate who you are while learning ways to reduce your stress that will transform your life. Practicing these S.T.R.E.S.S. tools will help you enjoy the journey!