Do you know your warning signs of stress? For me, it’s the clenched jaw that keeps me from saying what I want to say, or the clenched hands that keep me from reaching out. Instead, I stand in a professional stance while my brain screams — are you crazy. If I don’t find a solution, the next stage includes a tightening of the neck and shoulder muscles and sometimes a headache that could go to a migraine. What are yours? If you know the early signs, you can stop it before it becomes more debilitating.
Do you know your sources of stress? Are you trying to do too much? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating correctly? Are you allowing others to take advantage of you? Once you know the sources, you can create a plan to minimize them.
What are your stress relief strategies? Do you exercise regularly? Do you take stretch breaks from your computer? Do you determine boundaries and stick to them? Others cannot control your stress for you. You must make a plan that works for you. Others cannot do it for you.
What are the obstacles do you face when trying to reduce your stress? Does overwork have you reaching for a chocolate bar or a bag of chips instead of taking a break and doing some exercises or heading home for time with family and a good night’s sleep? Do you order pizza or hit the drive through instead of eating clean because it’s easier, quicker, and cheaper. Only you can decide to remove the obstacles to reduce the stress.
Rewards are important. Once you’ve reduced the stress and are living a healthier, happier life, remember to reward yourself for making the healthy habit changes.