What to do when your stress is making you CRAZY!
When you experience heavy stress - the kind that engages you in a knock-down drag out fight with your worries and fears, your being (mind-body-soul) begins to operate at a lowered capacity. This is when the 'snowball' effect begins to operate. You operate at a lower capacity, you get less done, you make more mistakes - this increases your stress, your being takes it on... becomes even less effective... and the cycle begins.
The most important thing to do at this point is STOP!
Okay, I know what you are thinking... I can't stop. There is too much to do, I am already behind! I've heard the excuses, and I've said them myself, but the truth is if you do not take the time off - it you don't stop, things will get worse NOT better. Eventually, your body will force you to take the time off by becoming ill.
So - choose to love yourself and take a time-out so that you can again show-up in your life and in this world the way that you want to. Let's face it, none of us want to show-up in our lives stressed out, forgetful, irritable and mistake-making. We want to be peaceful, constructive, effective and full of life's abundant energy.
So, what does stopping and taking a time out look like? It could look many different ways. What do you do to recharge your batteries? I like to take a sick day. We now know from scientific studies that stress is the leading cause of disease, therefore taking a sick day when you are stressed is completely appropriate. Personally, I like to stay home in my PJ's all day - read books, watch movies, meditate, listen to music, take a long bath - anything that feeds and nurtures my soul. Remember, you are not your monkey mind, so if your mind is chattering at you all day long about what you need to do, what you should be doing, and worries about what 'bad' things could happen to you - remember - YOU are the master, YOU are the wise sage. Comfort your monkey mind, give it another task to do, and don't let it take the reins of your life and your experience. Also, remember, that worrying is praying for what you don't want! Our thoughts create things - be aware of what your spending time thinking about. Enjoy your day, revel in your time out and fill yourself back up with joy and peace.
Second, make a "to do" list. Often we increase our stress by not being really clear about what we have to get done, and this lack of clarity weighs us down. So make a list of everything you want/need to do, including work, personal, relationship, kids, husband, self. I like to make this list in the afternoon or evening of my time-out day. After your list is complete, take 5-10 min to think about your values, and the things that you want to actively create in your life. What are the most important things to you? It could be family, finical success, self-discovery, promoting your business, or your marriage. Look at what your most important values are, and when you know what they are, go back through your "to do" list and put a capital "A" next to the things that are in alignment with your values and only you can do, but a lowercase "a" next to the things that are in alignment with your values and someone else can do. I encourage you to be really honest with the lowercase "a"'s, often we take on task that someone else is completely capable of doing because it makes us feel important, valuable, indispensable or caring. Be honest and aware of things that you can have someone else do for you. Next, put a capital "B" next to the items on your list that are not in alignment with your values and only you can do, and a lowercase "b" next to the items that are not in alignment with your values and someone else can do. Watch your thinking - what things on your list are "have to's" and what things are "want to's"?
Third: Do it, Date it, Dump it, or Delegate it. Take your "to do" list and rewrite it under one of the four headings I just spoke of. Dump things that don't align with your values, delegate things other people can do, date things that can be put off and done later. This might take some communication with other people or business. You have the power and choice to call someone and say, "I really want to do a good job on X, or I really want to put my full effort into X, and right now my "to do" list is overflowing, would it be possible for me to have that for you in 2 weeks time instead of this week?". I guarantee you that people will respect your wisdom, balance and communication. Finally, but all the things on your "Do it" list that you really WANT to do - things that are in alignment with your values and that you can get excited about. Want to's get down faster, easier and with less efforts that "have to's". Aligning your list with your values will naturally propel you forward into action.
Fourth, congratulate yourself on effectively and positivity dealing with your stress so that you can show up in the world as an effective, powerful, peaceful being!
Mindy Amita Aisling
ICF Life Coach,
NFPT Fitness Trainer,
OMA Certified Mediator
Mindy Aisling is a certified life and business coach in Bend, OR, exceeding all of the educational requirements & training set forth by the ICF.
She has worked with such organizations as St. Charles Hospital, Soroptimists, The Dispute Resolution Center, Olympic Medical Center, Americorps, and Juvenile and Family Services.
She has been featured in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Bend Bulletin, The Peninsula Daily News, KOMO 4 TV, The Oregonian and many more. You can learn more about Mindy here.
Mindy offers professional, affordable online coaching to clients around the world, and local coaching to clients in Bend, Oregon.
Licensed and Insured