HOW I DEAL WITH STRESS
I’m feeling a little stressed this week.
Well, more than a little. Quite a bit. More than I have felt in a long time.
I know it is predominantly coming from the typical stress of a small business owner. I know the reasons why it is putting me under stress. I also know that I really should not be anywhere near as stressed about it as I am.
I wasn’t always very good at identifying when I was under stress, my wife Court would call me out on it way before I would even realise that was my issue. But since I have been working on being more mindful and more present, I am picking up on my common stress habits far more quickly.
- I forget things people had said.
- I forget what I was doing.
- I lose my keys and wallet (more often than normal).
- I start doing 3+ things at once, but achieve none of them.
- I get a bit snappy and have less patience for bs.
- I procrastinate more.
- I even find myself downloading a mindless game on the phone and use it to distract myself. I then eventually snap out of it and delete it immediately. (fkng life wasting load of trash phone games are)
- I struggle to focus my attention on one thing.
- It takes longer for me to get to sleep.
- I feel like I don’t have enough time for anything. Even the thought of writing this email this week was stressing me out, and it is one of my favourite things to do each week.
- All of a sudden I reintroduce bad habits I had eliminated, such as flicking the phone in bed.
- I don’t pay enough quality attention to Court and Harper.
How frustrating is it that when we become stressed we often reach for all of those comforting, easy, procrastinating things that make us feel good to numb the feeling of stress? What’s worse is, is we struggle to implement any strategies to reduce stress and allow us the clarity to get back on track.
All of my signs of stress have a negative impact on me, my family and my work. They need to go. Not a few of them. All of them. If you think just waiting it out, a few more games of Candy Crush and your favourite chocolate bar are going to fix it, then you’re in for an unwanted treat… once the dopamine wears off you’ll be treated to double the stress and maybe an added side of anxiety. Oh and also, those things you were stressing about haven’t been sorted yet either.
When we think we can handle it, we’ll just push on through the fog, tough it out, I’ll eventually get through it all and just have a strong drink at the end to calm myself down… We don’t eliminate the stressors, we don’t fix the problem. We need to implement strategies to help us cope with the stress and be able to see through the fog so we can reduce the time under stress as quickly as possible. We can never completely eliminate the experience of having stress. It is impossible, but we can manage and reduce it drastically.
Here’s what I do…
- I stop and listen to my body and my thoughts.
I remind myself that even though I feel as though a million things need to be done. They don’t have to be done right now. Nothing bad will actually happen. So I stop everything and allow myself to do nothing for a short period of time.
2.If I am exhausted, I take a nap and/or go to bed earlier.
I can’t focus if I am not properly rested. If I can’t focus then nothing of quality gets done, so I may as well take some time out so I can come back and hit it with a fully functioning brain.
3. I put distractors away.
Phones, games, all nonsensical bs that I know is just me trying to hide. Cut!
4. I stop and listen to people.
I ask about them and focus on them.
5. I write everything down and put important things away in predictable places.
If I am going to forget everything, I’d better write it down. If I am going to forget my keys and wallet, I’d better pick 1-2 places to only ever put them. Both of these behaviours free up brain space, help me regain clarity and stop me stressing out about what it was I forgot or “where the f**k are my keys again!?”
6. I force myself to focus on one task at a time and delegate where I can.
That has always been the most effective method. So why the hell do I decide to change that when I feel under the pump?
7. I do a workout at Valor or go for a swim.
I stopped this email right here to go and swim to help clear my head, think more about what I want to say and ensure I deliver a quality email to you. Man has it helped so damn much! Not only did it help clear up my mind for the email, but it helped sort my brain out for the rest of the day. Forcing yourself to get some blood pumping and be away from all work and distractions is incredibly powerful, yet so often when we are stressed we tend to do the opposite. Getting out of your bubble and getting your body to move is vital.
8. I apologise to those I have affected due to my stressed snappy-ness.
Owning up and taking responsibility for your own arseholeyness is a very liberating experience. It grounds you and it called bullshit on your “I got this” ego.
9. I talk to Court about what is stressing me.
This was the last technique I implemented, but it should have been the first. Even if you don’t need any advice or help. Sharing it purely just for the purpose of putting it all out there with someone else who cares can really help clear the mind up and reorder the mess. We do this when we goal set with our gym members and for them, just the process of talking it out and writing it on a sheet of paper so they can see it all makes a huge impact on them going forward.
10. I practice a little gratitude.
This helps remind me that whatever the issue is, it really ‘aint all bad. So chill out and chip your way through it. Because in the whole scheme of things, you are really one lucky bugger.
So here goes operation de-stress. Even the process of writing this has helped a lot. So as much as these emails are for you, I guess they’re pretty darn self serving for me too. That’s a win-win.