I started this blog to help people. Myself, friends, family, strangers. I want the world to be a brighter place. And at times, it is so easy. Share a little laughter, some fun things from life, and all the willy-nilly topsy-turvy adventures of life. Joy is everywhere. A blog article I read recently reminded me of the joy of crunching leaves under your feet in autumn – a secret love of mine. (Kim you know who you are.) Something so simple, but just so fun. The sharp woodsy aroma and the crackling crunching of the leaves is addicting. So is looking at the sheer varity of shape, texture and color in every leaf. I saw streaks, blobs, stripes, and all sorts of patterns. It was highly entertaining.
Even TV can bring enlightenment. While watching the TV show Deadliest Roads, I was reminded not only of how lucky we are to have safe and convenient roads in the states, but also of the luxury and wealth we take for granted. While one truck driver was stuck in a traffic jam fuming and late, he saw some nomads camped on the side of the road. He shared a large container of candy he had bought himself for the road and several large watermelon with the hungry children, and spread smiles, laughter and joy. He rejuvenated his mood and outlook, when he returned to driving suddenly things didn’t seem quite as bad as they had before.
Of course we all have days where the stress piles up one after. Too many chores and errands, work that piles up endlessly making us feel like we’re drowning in it, traffic, burning dinner, ripping your favorite pants, or an unexpected car repair. By themselves, these things are fairly easy to handle. But add up two or three in a day, and suddenly our normal coping mechanisms flee and we lose our usual self control.
Taking these tips in mind, I think the best defense is a good offense. Since we never know when stress will hit, our best plan of attack is to have a good game plan. Some ideas work to help alleviate stress BEFORE it turns from a molehill into a mountain. Other ideas can aid in the midst of the chaos. Here’s a few ideas I’ve picked up along the way.
- Perspective – is this a big deal? Often we think the stress we are currently in is worse than anything we’ve endured before. But is it really? Are these deadlines and setbacks really going to interfere with our life, or does it just feel that way? Do you even remember the annoying coworker from your last job who drove you crazy? Did the expensive care repairs from 6 months ago really put you in debt or did you just give up a few dinners out to pay for it? Most problems seem worse while we’re working to solve them. The problems I had two years ago seem much smaller looking back now.
- Clarity – are you seeing the truth? Is your boss really out to get you? Does your sister-in-law truly find ways to insult you at every get together? Maybe these people treat everyone that way. It’s possible they feel threatened by you in some way. Are you really trapped at a job you hate? Or did you choose your current position knowing it would give you job security and a good paycheck until you can find something better? Could you leave if you really wanted to?
- Health – are you having fun? If you’re not taking time to have a little fun every day, something is wrong. There should be at least a few minutes if not several hours a day, where you are doing what you love. Doing the things we love bring us joy, passion, energy and peace. Whether we’re doing yoga, fixing a car, making cupcakes, or reading a book, doing something you enjoy will bring you time to relax, unwind and bring some balance to your life. You don’t know how busy you are until you make time to slow down and notice. Don’t let life pass you by.
- Health – mini breaks. Mini breaks are a life saver. Taking as few as 2-3 minutes to step away from your stress can make a huge difference. I stood outside the other day and did nothing but look at the day. I heard the birds, saw the butterflies, the trees changing, the sun shining, the cool breeze, watched people going to and fro. And I relished every minute knowing that while today is beautiful, tomorrow could be rainy or cold or windy. Delight in the little things and you’ll be happier for it.
- Humor – Laugh at it. Exaggerate your problems. I named the other day GUOSD “Gang up on Shirley Day.” That was what it felt like. Work piling up, problems for my attention and so on. By exaggerating that everyone in the office was out to get me, I was able to laugh. Then I could better focus and realize that not everything in the pile had to be done today. Relieved, I focused on the priority and left the rest for later.
- Organize – Prioritize. I use a trick I picked up from some great source that I can’t remember. I list three MIT’s (most important task) for each day. Then I add a Pending file of items that need to be done after the MIT’s. I usually move the Pending up to start my next MIT list, but some weeks the Pending stays the same for several days. I always know I’m doing what needs to be done most and I don’t forget the smaller things, so I can relax more while I work.
- Humor – Nobody cares. This tip is a flip. Nobody cares about my whining and complaining, just like I don’t want to hear theirs. This makes me realize that I need to suck it up and deal with it. Sometimes that means switching tasks, or asking for help, or even wait until the next day when I’m better rested. My mom used to tease me when I was grumpy, “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna go eats worms!” When you can see the humor during your pain, it helps.
- Goals – am I getting what I want? Sometimes we get weighed down by the mundane tasks we need to do to reach a goal. This is the time to remind yourself of why you’re doing things in the first place. Maybe your job is a way to save for a new house or car. Maybe you’re working extra hard to earn a promotion. Knowing why you do something can help you see it in a new light. You do have a choice. You can change your course whenever you realize you’re not headed in the direction you want to go.
- Goals – change what you can. Sometimes our problems may aggravate, annoy and frustrate us because they’re so repetitive. Is there something about this habit, task or chore that I like or could change? For instance, I like to sing and hum while I do the dishes, it helps me pass the time. Having fun with your task can make it seem easier. Maybe you could trade a coworker part of a job you don’t like. Maybe she can type up the report if you do the research – or vice versa.
I’m no super genius, but these ideas have helped me and hopefully they could help you too. If you have better ideas to share – feel free. I will happily give you credit. I’m wise enough to showcase people smarter than me. :0) Thanks for stopping by.