Over the past couple of blog posts we’ve dug into exactly how stress can affect our mind and our body and overall why stress should not be a “normal” thing for us. Now I am shifting the topic a bit onto what we can do about that. Ways to reduce stress and learning to reset your focus again.
I am the type of person who truly lives by the golden rule in pretty much everything I do. I always make sure to praise people when they do an excellent job, but I also am not afraid to offer up constructive criticism when its appropriate. Why? Not because I think I’m better than anyone out there, but because I hope that they would do the same for me. I like hearing when my stuff is great, but I love when someone has the balls to tell me what I could improve.
Have you ever had a stress migraine? I have, they suck. It’s crazy to think that stress can have a physical effect on us, not just an emotional or mental effect.
But migraines aren’t the only effect that stress can have on your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, many people attribute the symptoms they experience to some kind of illness, when, in fact, it is actually stress. Stress is not just a “feeling”, its a chemical reaction in your body.
Productivity isn’t exclusive to our work lives or even to just getting more chores done around the house. Being productive is simply being intentional with your time. Making a plan for your day, week, or month and then sticking to it.
Being productive is simply being intentional with your time.
But what does being productive have to do with the holiday season?
Have you ever started out a Christmas season with a list of things you wanted to do: start a secret santa at work, make gingerbread houses with the kids, put up ten million lights on your house – only to finish the year not having accomplished any of it?
You cannot just talk about what you want to accomplish in your life, whether it’s as big as a financial goal or as small as an activity you want to do with your kids, you have to speak a specific and strong goal, set a plan in place, and then be intentional and choose everyday to stick to it.
So today I challenge you, set 1-3 goals for this holiday season (mine are below), look at your calendar and intentionally schedule them, don’t move them unless absolutely necessary – schedule around them like you would a meeting or Jonny’s basketball game, prepare ahead of time anything you might need for them, and finally, when the day comes, don’t make an excuse to put it off. There will always be one more chore to do, one more email to read, etc. Do them after.
I’m listing my goals below and the dates I’m setting. Feel free to list yours in the comments below and we can all check back in to see how each other are doing. My hope is by the time New Years rolls around, you’ve finally gotten around to some of those fun holiday things you’ve always wanted to do. And, even more important, help you to realize that this is a plan you can apply to all areas of your life to be more productive with the time you have.
1. Make Christmas Cookies 12/23
2. Take the kids to a Santa – and get pictures! 12/16
3. Take the kids to volunteer during the holiday season. 12/10
As someone who always made people ask, “How does she do it?”, I had to learn how to fit more into my day without completely losing my mind. Now I’m excited to share how I did that and what I’ve learned with everyone else. I just want to see people able to live the life they want, doing the things they want, without the stress they think is normal. I want everyone to experience Peace of Time.
Last week I gave you some insights into some of the main causes of everyday stress. I’m hoping you were able to do some reflection to find out some of the triggers you might be experiencing. Once you know what is stressing you and can address the problem(s), you will be in a better mindset to handle your day better: to take on more, to structure your time, and to not lose your mind doing it.
But before we get there, there are some people out there who really don’t understand the severity of the effects stress, especially chronic stress, can have on your body and your mind. And others have come to accept the “reality” that stress is normal, everyone is stressed, and thats just how it will always be.
There is true peace, contentment, and joy. It IS possible. But if you make a choice to just live in your stress, there are many short-term and long-term affects, some which are very serious.
How does stress affect you mentally?
When you get stressed for “no reason” (meaning there’s no imminent threat of danger or loss), your mind will almost immediately be affected. You may experience any of the following:
- loss of judgment/decision making abilities
- loss of your joy/overall disappointment
- inability to focus or deal with distractions
- making you feel anxious, frustrated, or angry
- Making you feel depressed, unable to work, and unwillingness to be around others
As a mom, any of those things will throw off whole days, even weeks, and not only do I suffer, but my kids do. They don’t get my full (or even partial attention), its easier for me to express anger and disappointment rather than love or enjoyment. As a business owner, this will trickle down to those below you. When you let stress take over in the moment, you lose productivity, you become brash with your coworkers, and cause the spirit of anxiety to spread throughout your work place.
But what happens if you continually leave the stress unchecked? Here are some of the long-term, emotional affects stress can and will have on you:
- “Worrying and feeling anxious
- Possible anxiety disorders or panic attacks
- Feeling out of control, overwhelmed, confused, and/or unable to make decisions
- Experiencing mood changes such as depression, frustration, anger, helplessness, irritability, defensiveness, irrationality, overreaction, or impatience and restlessness
- Increasing dependence on food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or other dangerous habits
- Neglecting important things in life such as work, school, personal appearance, or even family/friends/other relationships
- Developing irrational fears of things such as physical illnesses, natural disasters like thunderstorms and earthquakes, and even being terrified of ordinary situations like heights or small spaces”
Living a life full of anxiety, paranoia, and frustration does not sound like any kind of life to me. If you are stressed before even going into work, letting every situation make your anxiety worse, and then stressing out as you leave about the things that happened, that didn’t happen, or that will happen, your career and/or your business will fail. Stress will eat away at you mentally, stealing focus and energy you could be putting into your business. You cannot succeed if you are always stressed. You will not be happy if you don’t know anything but a stressful life.
You have to make a conscious decision to not let yourself get stressed when things get busy, to not get overwhelmed when things don’t go as planned, and to not let anxiety become the basis of your “normal” mood. Otherwise, not only are feeling and suffering from some immediate side effects, but stress will literally drive you crazy after a while. You have to learn to cope.
What kind of mental, emotional effects have you felt from stress in your life? Were they short-term effects or after prolonged exposure to anxiety? Have you ever worked for someone that you could tell was just stressed all the time? How did they affect the workplace?
In the upcoming weeks, we will continue learning about stress and its effects and then how to deal with it. Because I really want to show you guys you can do more with your time, but even if you know every time management, task management, productivity trick in the book, if you cannot deal with everyday situations, you will never make the most of your time and you will never be truly happy. That’s my hope, that all of you feel like you are taking back your day. That you are feeling complete Peace of Time.