If any of these descriptions fits your lifestyle, I urge you to start getting your stress under control before it’s too late. I was a stressed-out, workaholic corporate attorney for 23 years, with no life outside of my legal practice. I was a super-achiever at the office and a total failure in my personal life. I treated my husband like a convenient roommate. If you notice some parallels between my story and your life, rest assured, you can change and achieve a happier, more fulfilling life – I did.
Here are seven steps to get you there:
#1: Journal Your Stress Level
The first step to getting your stress under control is to figure out what is stressing you out. Spend a week recording your stress levels periodically and the source of the stress. You’ll learn a lot.
#2: Turn Off the Tech
Technology is a wonderful tool, but most of us let it rule our lives. Put it in its place! Designate certain times of the day to check for messages and stick to the schedule. Looking at your phone constantly wastes time, creates distractions, and allows your job to take over your personal time.
#3: Just Say No
If you’re the perennial volunteer, learn how to keep you hand down. Since your time is finite, taking on added responsibilities necessarily means that you sacrifice something else. Think about what’s really important to you. Are you giving your spouse and kids the attention they deserve? Just asking…
#4: Make a Relaxation Appointment
We all need to take a break to recharge on a regular basis. Workaholics eventually reach a point of diminishing returns and overbooked Moms get cranky. Schedule downtime events in your smartphone (e.g., a walk outside, mani-pedi or a massage) and treat them with the sanctity of a doctor’s appointment.
#5: Go Drug Free
If you fuel yourself with coffee all day, reach for a glass of wine (or two) to relax after a tough day, or pop pills to sleep, your stress is out of control. Craft small, achievable goals to steadily work towards going drug-free.
#6: Practice Mindful Living
In order to enjoy life (isn’t that what we’re here for?), we need to actually pay attention to it. Research demonstrates that our brains are not capable of multi-tasking. Focus on a single activity and fully experience it. If you find yourself overeating, try putting your technology away and concentrating on your meal. You’ll find that the food tastes better, you enjoy it instead of inhaling it, and that you stop eating before you feel stuffed.
#7: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
One smart thing I did when I was working 12-hour days was that I exercised in order to relieve the day’s stress. It really works and offers a host of other health benefits too. Exercise truly is the magic pill.
Reducing stress will also keep your out of the ER. Studies show that ninety percent of patients who show up there are being treated for stress-related ailments.