If You Are Stressed, How Do You Change the Time Management Way?

change little by little

If you’re stressed, how do you change?

There are as many ways as there are people.  No one way is right for everyone.

However, there is one consistent truth:  changing from stressed to a de-stressed life can only be done incrementally – there is no “QUICK FIX” – been there – done that – it doesn’t work!  It took a long time to build up to this acute stress level and it will takes time to unravel these adopted behaviors and thoughts.

And using multiple methods at once will only add to the current stress – it’s better to pick 1, 2 or maximum 3 things to help you and stick with it.

What any of these methods will do for you is to remain conscious of your stress, monitor it and make the changes to your life which will reduce that stress.

Here are a few strategies.  Try them all – one at a time.  It’s the best way to know which one works best for you – the key here in terms of managing your time – don’t try them all at once – try one at a time – but being stressed, you probably want to do them all – NOW – you want a fix now – it won’t happen – and what the result will be even more stress than is currently in place!

My experience with acute stress has taught me that adding more stress is not the answer but learning to de-stress one step at a time IS – I promise.  And, yes, your natural tendency will be to go for the “stress” – but less and less as eventually we all learn that the rewards are much greater than the “buzz” we get from the adrenaline rush!  With every rush, there is a downside – controlling stress levels lessens the impact of any stressor on the mind, body and soul.

Journal – It’s a method that, at first, I thought was silly – imagine talking to yourself and writing it down!  It worked!  It took a little getting used to but I love books and love the feel of a great cover so I bought myself the most luxurious journal I could find.   Though I didn’t journal every day, I found that I liked to “talk to myself” before going to bed – it had a calming effect to get my thoughts down on paper.  To this day, I still journal and I love it –

Affirmations – These were actually not difficult and affirmations don’t let you “forget” to work on the stress issue.  I put my affirmations on my Outlook in recurring events and throughout the day, the affirmations pop up.  Yes, you should really write them out and say them outloud – I understand the effectiveness of that process but, when you’re stressed, it’s the kind of thing that “you’ll do later” but later never comes.  So having them appear on my screen regularly during the day helps.

I call it “programming”.  Affirmations such as:  “In every situation, I remain calm and focused”, “Every day, I manage my stress for best results”,  “Every day I exercise in a way which relaxes me”  – you get the idea – create some of your own.  Combine it with visualization – as these affirmations pop up at different times of the day, visualize yourself.  For instance, the first affirmation here – see yourself in the most stressful situation you can imagine and see yourself as calm and focused – feel it – calm and focused.

Delegating – One of the key reasons stress has built up is because of the belief that you “need to do it all – it’s your responsibility”  – it’s not!  The only responsibility you have is to yourself.  Everything else can be delegated.  I hear you now – “Are you nuts?  What about my child?  What about my pet?  I have to take care of them”.  This is a typical knee jerk reaction! Get real!

Think about it – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year you are telling me that you are totally responsible for someone or something else and that no one else can take care of their needs other than you?  Does that sound sane?  Of course not.  What if you get sick?  What would happen then?

Delegating is not abdicating – it’s getting someone else to do something which they can be do equally well or better – okay, maybe not at first, but with the right teaching and practice, they will.

How can you delegate? First, with teaching someone how.  Then, asking them to repeat the instructions to you or watching them do it, correcting anything they didn’t understand.  Lastly, let them do it – their way!

If your child is five or six, they can clean their room – make their bed, put clothes away, set the table, remove dirty dishes from the table – lots and lots of little things.  It helps them learn skills they will utilize their whole lives.  And you’re building self-sufficiency and pride in their that is priceless.

As far as your pet is concerned, a dog walker can walk your dog during the day or your child can change the kitty litter.

There are a ton of ways a person can delegate both at home and at work and even for personal necessities – think about it – I do believe you’ll love the results!  And everyone else in your life will feel better too – they’ll eventually be able to enjoy your company and you, theirs and they’ll enjoy the new, more relaxed you who is not constantly rushing off to do more work you brought home from the office or put the dishes away or cut the grass.

Tomorrow, I’ll outline a few more methods I’ve tried – but if any of these appeal to you, start today.

The easiest one, of course, is creating two or three affirmations and putting them in your Outlook to have them appear in your reminder box throughout the day. (Calendar, New, Type affirmation in subject line, click on recurring on the toolbar and set it to appear daily at whatever time you wish, save).  With affirmations, it seems odd to read the same thing every day and several times during the day but remember how you learned your multiplication – you memorized them by repeating them over and over and over again until you knew them on command.

Lorraine Arams
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“Just Relax Now” – Falling on Deaf Ears!

Falling on Deaf Ears!

If your approach to someone else or to yourself is to say:  “Just Relax Now”, you’ll find the message falling on deaf ears!  Why?

Because that advice is competing with the adrenaline rush of stress! And a host of other factors.  In my opinion, the reason anyone has difficulty doing what is good for themselves is because they don’t want to face what they need to face in their lives – and being “high” on something is the way to do it.  As long as a person keeps their world in a “stressful condition”, they’re “too busy” to deal with whatever it is they could be resolving.    There are no rehab centres for stressed out people unless they end up in the hospital in cardiac arrest or they develop diabetes or they have a stroke –

Many good meaning friends and family members want to help and they think by saying, “just relax”, that somehow the message is going to get through – it won’t.  Try it on someone you know is super stressed – you’ll get ignored or a negative response – it won’t be pretty!  Hey, after all, the stressed out person has so much to do!!!  Frankly, stressed people don’t want answers, they want more stress – the drug of choice!  I know – I know – that doesn’t sound logical.

 Why isn’t everyone in that condition – everyone has to live human lives too?  Different strokes for different folks and, though, someone may not exhibit “manic” forms of stressed out behavior, it doesn’t mean they are not stressed – some people “appear” very calm on the surface!  And, let’s face it – we have been taught that if we lived a life that looks stressed, we must be important!  There comes with “stress” an air of “special”- “if I’m this busy and stressed out, I must be important”!  How do they get that message?  From society – from media – from moves or from role models who exhibited this behavior.  Think about it – when you see someone stressed, don’t you see them as important?  Oh, heck, they must be because they have so much to do! 

Imagine competing against all of that with the words, “Just Relax”.  You know the message will definitely fall on deaf ears!  And anger might just get generated too – “how dare anyone say that to me!” or “if you were successful, you’d be stressed too!”.

And, if you are ready to say to yourself  “just relax”, it won’t make it any easier coming from you!  Same reasons.  So how does a person “conquer” stress? 

In small increments – the most difficult part of this process will be “seeing” yourself, teaching yourself to love yourself and accepting that you are no more or less defective than any other person in this world, that you aren’t special or important because you are experiencing acute stress and that there is absolutely no good reason whatsoever to put anyone or anything else first – beliefs are difficult to change even if the evidence is obvious!  After all, a person has been taught and lived with the messages – internally and externally – for a very long time! 

Should you bother?  Should you even try?  That’s up to you – are you ready to live with the consequences? 

“Just Relax Now” message is not the answer – it won’t happen just like that – there are no miracles when it comes to stress.  De-stressing needs re-training.

We’ll talk about some of those re-training points tomorrow.

Lorraine Arams
If you’re not attaining your goals
try my new twist on goal achievement at
http://www.wizetime.com


 

How Do You Know if You’re Addicted to Stress?

Do you have the Time?

How do you know if you’re addicted to stress?  Is it obvious? Where do you start? How do you begin the change?

  

It’s obvious if you could possibly take the time to watch yourself but most stress addicts think that what they are doing is the “right thing to do” or “what they’re supposed to do” – it never really dawns on them that they’re “over the top”.  But here are some clues – in case you’re looking — remember that most stress addicts are in denial because they think that working hard is it or taking care of everyone else is the ticket or the world just can’t do without their constant input or attention or picking up the “pieces” or the “garbage” is their sole responsibility – after all, everyone else is so incapable of taking care of themselves or doing anything without their “hovering”? 

What would the world do without you?  

Work –  

  • What’s the atmosphere surrounding your work? 
  •  Do you often experience negative feelings at work – your boss is an idiot, your co-workers are slackers, no one understands you, you feel you’ll be fired any minute and going home “on time” is a stressful thought – “how can anyone go home on time – there’s work to be done!”? 
  • Do you wish that you didn’t have to deal with people at all and would rather computerize everything – “if only they had dedication like you”?  Do you often get irritated by what seems to be a lack of “involvement” by others? 
  • Do you feel superior because of your “sacrifice” to the job, to the boss, to the work? 
  • At the end of the day, are you satisfied or are you in a constant state, “it’s not enough”?

Money –  

  •  Is your financial world in constant chaos and it’s chronic no matter how much money you make?
  • Is any of your money being dedicated solely to you for your pleasure? 
  • Are you working more than one job to make ends meet and the ends never meet?

Friends –    

  • Do you hardly ever see your friends?  Months go by and there’s been little communication – phone calls, emails and Christmas cards but you just don’t have the time to spend with them – why?  Or has your circle of friends diminished so much that there are only three or four people left  and you don’t even have the time for them? 
  • How about acquaintances – do you have any at all?
  • Do you even have the time to make a new friend?

Home –  

  • Are you constantly cleaning?  Are you getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning to the clean the house before you go to work, denying yourself sleep? 
  • Are you in a state that “no one can do it like you” so you do everything? 
  • Do you resent it when your family members take the time to relax in front of the tv or enjoy their friends or golf, play tennis and hang out with friends while you slog away at home? 
  • Do you feel unappreciated and yet you can’t stop yourself from taking it all on? 

Personally –  

  •  Are you  feeling more and more in a state of panic?  Are you always “running”?  Do you talk fast, fast, fast and yet it’s not fast enough?  Does fear grip your day?
  • If you’re married, do you think your spouse is having an affair? (is it any wonder – you never have the time for her/him).  If you’re single, do you think you’ll never meet anyone?  (would you have the time for them even if you met “the one”). 
  • Are you most often in a state of “fret” – you fret about your work, your co-workers, your boss, your pets, your family members, your money, “how you look”, what others think of you, that you aren’t doing enough, wondering why you “can’t get it right”, and wonder how much more you can give?

However, the main indicator is that you “hardly ever have the time for anything pleasurable”.  Why?  Because “you have to” – you have to shop, you have to work long hours, you have to “be nice”, you have to sacrifice, you have to do all you can for others, you have to make more money, you have to advance in your career, you have to  . . . . . you have to fill your life so you don’t have to face your vulnerability, your humanness, yourself!  You don’t realize that the most important thing in life is to learn to love yourself unconditionally and understand that you are not flawed! The hundreds of people from all walks of life and every level of socio-economic level Oprah has had on her show over decades all have one common denominator:   they have learned somewhere along the line and that is:   they are “defective”!  Whether people have achieved the apex of success or experienced the lowest points in their lives, the message is the same. 

 Is it any wonder then that high levels of stress is a chronic condition of our society when the majority of people have the notion that they are “defective” rather than believing deeply that they are “incredible”?   

 How would they behave differently if they believed that they had been given special gifts  – all of them – gifts to be developed and shared – with pleasure – and a sense of satisfaction every step of the way?  Do you think it would be a more rational world? 

 How do you know if you’re addicted to stress?  Is it obvious? Where do you start? 

 Look – really look – at yourself – “see” how you are behaving, what your thoughts are – – – will you give yourself permission to begin with watching your behavior and your thoughts – or won’t you?  If you’re a stress addict, your immediate response will be “no” – you have too much to do – you don’t have the time for you! 

Lorraine Arams
Goals?  More stress or satisfaction? Give this
new twist on an old theme  a try –
it will only cost you taking time for yourself!
http://www.wizetime.com
   

    

Stress Relief – Do You Really Want That?

Stress Relief – do you really want that? 

The first answer I would get from most people who feel stressed and possibly overwhelmed is —-  YES —-!!!  I’ve learned to question that notion.  Why? Because I’ve given the almight “yes” to that question too only to really discover that I thrive on stress – it’s like an addiction – I learned it well early in my career – work hard, long hours and you’ll succeed is what I was told!  So I did!  Long, hard hours most often 7 days a week, so tired sometimes, I couldn’t remember getting up!

Stress – an addiction????  You got it – and everyone in a constant state of high stress knows exactly what I’m talking about – the chemicals in the brain give you that high – you move faster, talk faster and you feel super human – look at everything you accomplish in a day!  Like any addict, we hate the down side – it’s not so much fun!  The energy is simply not the same when we reduce our stress – it feels good for a while – the body feels more refreshed but . . . the excitement – it’s missing!  And . . . let’s face it, social norms encourage and reward “hard work” – it’s in our daily vocabulary as is hello and good night!  Note here – notice I didn’t say social norms encourage healthy attitudes towards work because they don’t!

How do we keep it going?  We find an environment or create one in which we can keep that “high” generated.  However, eventually, our brains and our bodies just can’t take it any more and we end up in a heap!  It may take years of abuse.  Denial, all that time, is such a great friend!

Don’t believe me?  Read about it in magazines, newspapers and on the net – stories of people who achieved their idea of success and they crash!  Either their health gives way or their spouses leave or they lose their jobs or someone dies or . . . but, something, “whacks them”!  Something interrupts their “relationship” with the arena in which stress is perpetuated.

So . . . ask yourself:  Do I really, really want relief from stress?  Be very honest with yourself . . . not your first reaction;  Watch what you say and do . . . it’ll give you clues how you perpetuate your acutely  stressful life.  Likely, you won’t see it at first because, hey, why should you – this is exciting!  But . . . you know . . . . somewhere at the back of your mind . . . . you know . . . you need to change this modus operandi!  It’s exciting but it’s dangerous . . . what is it you really want?

Tomorrow – another blog about stress – why?  Because it’s wasting your time, your resources, your health and your relationships.  Time management is about managing your life – managing stress is part of that equation.

Lorraine Arams
Not achieving your goals? Try this new
twist on an old theme at
http://www.wizetime.com

It’s Afternoon – How are you Feeling?

Sleepy - it's only afternoon too!

It’s afternoon – how are you feeling? 

Are you ready for a nap?   

Or are you energized and happy with your day?  

It depends, doesn’t it – it depends on many things – your stress level, the pressures at work, the condition of your health, how satisfied you feel with what you are accomplishing today – the factors are endless.  And, of course, if you do read my blog regularly, you saw my article on sleep yesterday.  If not, do have a gander – it’ll may remind you just how important sleep is; you’ll find it at: http://www.wizetime.com/Timemanagementandsleeparepartners. 

I didn’t have a great sleep last night – my dreams were so vivid, they woke me up with frightening imagery!  I dream in color so everything is very clear and focused.  In my dream, someone entered my space, closed the door behind him, leaving it slightly ajar.  It’s the only door in the room.  He wouldn’t speak or move – he just stood in front of the door, arms bent at the elbows with a odd expression on his face.  Blond, wispy, short hair, light blue eyes and pale white skin dressed in an off-white polo shirt with the collar ends curling and khaki colored casual pants.  His shoes were brown and laced immaculately.  My reaction was concern, a little fear and a mind racing to find a solution to this situation.  It woke me up very, very early.  

Now I’m sleepy – what to do?  These are the 3 things that I find help me the most when I haven’t had enough sleep. 

  • take some short walks around the block – not too long but enough to keep my blood circulating – usually 10 minutes or so and get up from your desk several times to stretch – just a few simple stretches for a couple of minutes

  • take several deep breaths very consciously visualizing the air going in and coming out through my nostrils – I try to get the oxygen deep into my lungs, as far down as possible.

  • drink water – water seems to have a positive effect.  Of course, it is said that fatigue is associated with dehydration even if we don’t feel particularly thirsty

Hope these tips help. Other than having a nap, these are the next best things!  So, if it’s afternoon for you and you are sleepy, try a couple – see how you feel! 

Lorraine Arams
Goals? Not working? Try another approach at:
http://www.wizetime.com
 

  

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