I'm going 100 miles per hour between taking care of the kids and finishing a big work project. How can I get through the next few weeks?
In the big picture, you're going to want to ratchet down the baseline stress in your life. Many of us think our only choice is to cope with stress, but you actually have more power over the causes and conditions of stress than you think you do. In other words, balancing your life now will prevent stress in the long run.
But you're asking about getting through short-term stress – and no matter what we do in terms of prevention, there'll always crunch time moments in life.
Here are five great strategies to clear your head and decompress:
– Get support. Whether it be your spouse, partner, or a good friend, make sure you're talking about your life to someone supportive. 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference.
– Delegate. Yep, it's time to start sharing the load. So who are you going to find? A babysitter? An assistant at work? A colleague? Your partner? The kids? It's okay to ask other people to pick up some slack (especially if it's for tasks they should be taking care of anyway).
– Start saying no. Somehow people always seem to ask for something extra just when you're under the most stress. It's okay to say no. Push back on the belief that you need to do everything for everybody, all the time. In the long run you can do more good when you are balanced, refreshed, and in a positive state of mind. That means saying no more often.
– Take a five-minute breather. Literally. Deep breathing helps calm your system and triggers the relaxation response, which makes your mind and body relax. If you're totally maxed out, you want to take a five-minute breather every hour until the big-time stress passes. Set a timer on your phone to remind you.
– Relax your body. Whether it be a yoga class, a morning walk, or a foot massage, anything you can do to relax the body will help relax the mind. Do something physically relaxing at least once a day. This will probably be one you'll be tempted to skip, so put it on your calendar and ask your loved ones to help you follow through.
These are just five of the many, many strategies you can use to decompress. What's your favorite approach?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your "ask the life coach" questions.
Life and Career Coach For Women
Marie Wetmore is a life and career coach for women, running workshops and coaching women individually in Davis Square and West Medford.