One of the things that is super important in allowing me to maintain my hectic/busy schedule, is properly managing my stress levels. Sometimes (most of the time) I’m really good at this, and life moves quickly and I am able to keep up. but also, sometimes I become overwhelmed and then the busy schedule just keeps piling up on top of me until I’m buried under a mountain of obligations with no reprieve in the foreseeable future. In my experience, there are two key components to managing my stress levels. 1) Prevention and 2) Recalibrating.
It is so much easier to prevent myself from being stressed out than it is to get out from under the mountain once it starts building. One of the ways I keep from getting stressed is using my calendar religiously. Being able to see what is coming, knowing where the down times are, and to be aware of potential “escape” routes.
Another thing I’m able to do with my calendar is schedule me time. No, I’m not free on Thursday, that time is set aside to watch my weekly does of John Oliver.
The second way I work to prevent myself from getting stressed out is making time each day to do the things I love. For example, on days I have to work both jobs (8 am – 10 pm) I go out to dinner. Nearly all of my blog posts are written at the bar while I’m eating dinner. This way I get to write instead of cook, and the alcohol generally loosens my “tongue” a bit.
Despite my best efforts at avoiding stress, sometimes it gets the best of me. In those situations there are a few things I can do to recalibrate.
1) Make a list. Sometimes the mountain feels bigger than it is because I don’t have a clear idea of what exactly I need to do, and even if it IS as big as it felt, having a list where I can cross things off, or even better, erase them, somehow always makes it feel more manageable.
2) Music. There is literally nothing as therapeutic to me as music. Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I find it therapeutic to ACTUALLY overwhelm one of my senses. I put on my “stressed out” playlist, put y headphones in and turn the music up so loud that I can no longer hear myself think. This has the added benefit of putting me to sleep, and its usually a wonderfully peaceful, dream-free sleep.
Keep scheduling ME time. It is easy to think, “I shouldn’t waste time doing this, when I have important things to do.” NEWS FLASH. You are important too! Even your cell phone sometimes needs to charge its batteries. Don’t forget to charge yours.
What tips and techniques do you use to effectively manage your stress levels? Let me know in the comments below.