It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do—stress is something we all deal with on a regular basis. I would even venture to say that stress is a daily occurrence in our lives.
Even when things are going really well, there’s still something we might be struggling with and stressing about.
So, what do we do about the stress that is constantly plaguing us?
How do we control stress and not let stress control us?
I recently did a podcast episode with my daughter on our Daughter Dearest Podcast. In the episode, we took a deep dive into stress and how to manage it.
As a college student, Olivia talked about the idea of not procrastinating and really trying to stay as organized as possible.
That means making sure you are using your calendar and not waiting until the last minute to do those things that are going to overwhelm you.
A lot of us tend to wait until the very last minute to do the things we know are going to struggle with most. But we need to make those things a top priority instead.
For me, some of my biggest stressors are when I overcommit, and then I’m late to things because I’ve put way too much on my plate.
I also forget to say no, which is how too many things get on my plate in the first place.
Getting comfortable with saying no is a vital part of reducing the stress in our lives. When we are invited to do something, we need to be okay saying no to the things we don’t actually want to do.
We even need to be okay with saying no to the things that we do want to do but aren’t exactly in our best interest.
Ask yourself this very important question.
What do you want?
When someone asks you to do something, ask yourself if it’s something that you really want to do. You can also ask yourself if it will help you to reach the goals you have set for yourself.
If the answer is no to one or both of these questions, politely decline. Then, spend your energy on those things that are going to bring you the greatest joy and help you reach your goals.
Sometimes, we will just say yes because we feel like we have to. The pressure and expectations of others often become our motivating factor.
But if we take a moment and really look at the situation and ask ourselves what we want, it will help us to know whether or not that opportunity is for us.
Every time an invitation comes up for you to do something, ask yourself, “Do I really want to be doing this?”
If the answer is no, let it go without giving it another thought.
Only take on those things that you really truly want to do.
Don’t let your stress lead to anger.
When I put too much on my plate and try to finish things at the last minute, it causes so much stress for me. This is especially true when I’m running late for something because of all the things I tried to pack into my day.
It makes me miserable to go around stressing to get things done only to be late for my appointments.
For me, this kind of stress leads to anger. And typically, the stressed me lashes out in anger at myself for not getting things done the way I wanted to.
I have learned the importance of taking a step back, evaluating the things that I need to do, and then setting priorities.
I remind myself to finish the email I need to send thirty minutes before I leave. That way, I can give myself enough time to get to my appointment, park, and get inside.
Then I’m not angry at myself the whole time. And instead of showing up to my appointment angry and stressed, I show up on time and ready to go.
I limit the stress and anger that comes by making a plan of action and creating a to-do list. This is probably one of the most important things that I have to help manage stress.
I get teased that I write my list on a piece of paper every morning, but that’s what works best for me.
I actually write my list on a pink piece of paper so that it stands out and I can find it quickly. With a large family, the house is filled with white pieces of paper. But when I see the pink piece of paper, I know it’s my daily to-do list.
It works great and keeps me focused on my daily priorities.
There are so many ways that we can manage stress.
Managing stress is really about what we choose to do and what we prioritize.
When we’re stressed, there are breathing techniques and meditations out there that can help calm us down.
Journaling is also a really good way to cope with stress, along with positive affirmations and evening gratitudes.
These things can help us to take a step back, take a moment for ourselves, and breathe.
For most of us, minimizing screen time can be a valuable way to decrease the stress that comes into our lives.
Our world is in chaos. It seems that there are many horrible things happening—even more than there have been in the past.
Because of this, the more we are on our phones, the more stress creeps into our daily lives.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t go on the internet. But we should limit our use of it.
When we are on the internet for hours at a time, it’s hard not to be stressed, especially when we witness all that’s happening around us.
It’s important to take a break from all the negativity and spend time with the ones we love—pets included.
Of course, there are aspects of pets that can certainly add to your stress level. But pets can also be calming and supportive.
No matter what, if I have been gone for a few days when I come home, my dogs are so excited to see me.
My kids might just say hi, but my dogs make me feel like the whole world has changed now that I am back.
Studies have shown that pets relieve stress, which is why there are emotional support animals. Pets really can be a stress reliever.
There are so many things we can do to reduce stress and anxiety.
Self-care is vital for limiting stress.
While managing stress is important, there are things we can do that will make it so that stress won’t even become a factor in the first place.
While organization and prioritization are important in managing stress, taking care of ourselves can limit the stress that we feel.
Prioritizing our well-being will not only alleviate stress but it can also help us to stay in a frame of mind where stress isn’t even a challenge to us.
Self-care, in general, is simply taking time for yourself in order to take a break and recalibrate.
One of the things Olivia loves to do to relieve stress is crochet. She wanted a hobby that would create the least amount of stress possible while helping regulate the stress she was feeling from school.
At 20 years old, Olivia crochets every day—even on the podcast. She was literally untangling her yarn as she spoke about stress, which was cracking me up.
Additionally, there’s a lot of research on how physical activity and a balanced diet can help alleviate stress.
Finding a hobby, exercising, and eating a balanced diet are all important parts of self-care that can reduce the effects stress has on our mind and body.
One final thought on stress.
I could go on and on about all the ways to combat stress and the methods to help us manage it.
For me, the most important things are being organized and learning to say no.
But we also need to evaluate our relationships.
We need to let go of the toxic relationships where people are not supportive of us.
Having unsupportive people in our lives makes it difficult to move forward.
Toxic people create a toxic environment. And stress is a natural by-product of that kind of relationship.
Olivia reminded me that it’s not just about having supportive people in our lives. It’s about making sure we are doing our part in telling the supportive people in our lives what it is that we need.
Nobody can guess what’s on your mind. You need to tell them. If you need something specific, you need to learn to say it.
Sometimes, we think that someone is not being supportive when, in reality, we haven’t even told them what it is we need.
That’s on us.
It’s our responsibility to let people know when we’re stressed and when we need their help.
The best thing we can do when we are overwhelmed with stress is to ask for exactly what we need.
There are people all around us who are willing and able to help. They’re just waiting for an invitation.
Stress may be a part of life, but it doesn’t have to control us.
We can still experience joy and well-being as we learn to manage the daily stress that comes.