Stress and relief.

(Yes, I baked the Carrot Cake. And you’ll hear all about it soon, once the images are ready.)

I wanted to take a little of my Friday to discuss something that has been bugging me for a couple of weeks now: stress. Something we all experience at some point and need to learn how to deal with.

I’m no psychologist or counselor; I’m close to be Communicator, actually. But I praise myself for being a good listener, and for being quite good at managing my time.

This means, I’m always running, always late, always procrastinating. But I still make the most out of every day, I meet my deadlines, I work 8 hours a day and enjoy the whole 24 hours of each day. And after a few long conversations with friends, I realized there are a few steps we can all follow to get rid of stress.

At least partially, of course.

These are my 5 tips to avoid stress melt downs when dealing with many activities or personal experiences at once. Again, this comes from a non-professional, super personal point of view.

  1. Too much sleep/ Not enough sleep.

There’s a fine line there that we need to acknowledge at some point. We all need our 8-hour sleep every night. That’s science and it’s undeniable. Yes, most people can do with only 6 hours, and some people love hitting that snooze button way past noon. But none of these will help you if you’re feeling stressed out.

Maybe you have to study, or work, or babysit, or go out. Maybe it’s a hectic season – end of the year, end of the quarter, a pitch in the agency, you name it. But you can’t make up sleeping time. If you missed a few hours, no matter how many quick naps you take afterwards – you can’t make up for the lost time.

And if you’re studying or working and it’s way after midnight, do you think it will be worth it? You’re running in low battery already. Better go get some sleep, wake up tomorrow, make some coffee and slay that deadline!

There are some people out there who sleep too much, too. Think about it. A third of your day ought to be dedicated to sleep, by default. When you start adding more and more hours to that pile, you end up more tired and your day, lacking hours, won’t pay off.

  1. Redefining priorities

(Yes, I’m talking about making a list.)

Stress can feel like a burden, or like an ocean you’re sinking into. It’s easy and logical to fall in despair. But if you do that, it will only make it worse. Like the story of the frogs that fall into the can of cream, you need to take one step at a time and be patient to overcome the break down.

I love lists. I always make them. At my old job at the agency, you could tell when I was having a rough day because I had a list set up with all my deadlines on my desk. I still find it foolproof.

Write down everything that’s on your mind. I would also include what I wanted for lunch, because that’s me. But with a list in hand, you’ll be able to visualize all your “To-Dos”, arrange it according to their importance and your priorities, and then schedule your day in consequence. Easy peasy!

DSC02172That’s me. Working in a family vacation back in 2010.

  1. Environment matters

Stress and negativity go together like Orange is the New Black and a bottle of Malbec wine.

If you’re having a rough day, everything around you will affect you. Although stress is caused by a state of alert in your body, adrenaline involved and all, you’re actually in a pretty vulnerable position.

You won’t react the same as you would do in a good day. People’s comments will make you mad for no reason. If your computer is a bit slow or Internet crashed for a nano-second, you’ll freak out. And repetitive music will make you lose it completely.

Try to step out of the volatile area. If you’re at the office, plug in your earbuds and play a relaxing playlist. It can be an old record you’ve always enjoyed, or the playlist you created in your last vacations.

If you simply can’t stand people today, just let them know you’re in a tight deadline and find some quiet corner to work in. If you have a pile of things to do and all you want is go to bed, take a 20 minute nap. (It’s supposed to be the perfect Power Nap you need to get by.)

  1. Do what you love

If you find yourself loathing your work every morning, if your career only makes you feel stressed and unproductive, if your hobbies take the best of you – maybe you need a change. Of course, it isn’t easy. And if you don’t have a B plan, it could mean even more stress.

But think about it as a long-term investment. If you don’t start looking for a new job today, you won’t have a new job tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. If you’re too comfortable in a position you hate, no matter how much you whine about it, most likely you won’t quit for a long time.

If you’re not there yet, picture yourself in the rock and hard place position. If you’re blessed enough to be able to make a decision about your future, and you feel like it’s time – do it. It will be worth it.

Vacations in Rio - Fun with FriendsHappy places work, too! Specially if you work in them.

  1. The “Really?” trick

And last but not least, the “Really?” trick.

When you’re feeling stressed out for a certain situation – ask yourself this. Is this REALLY that big of a deal?

–           If the answer is YES – then you’ve recognized the importance of the issue and you’re ready to deal with it. Isolate the problem to find a solution. If it’s drenched in unrelated concerns it will only make it more difficult. If you find that you don’t know how to solve it, find help. People live in communities. We need each other, and it’s OK to ask for help. As I always say, nowadays it’s less important to know the answer than to have the number of the person who does. We humans, we communicate, and we like networking. There’s a reason to it.

–           If the answer is NO, then to hell with it. Move on. Some people make their issues yours. Let them go. You have bigger things to set your mind to, and if you don’t – go find your passion or something that you truly care about.

What stresses you out? What solutions do you find for you or your loved ones? Tell me in the comment section below!

And stay tuned, I’ll be posting a Stress and Relief playlist soon, here in Kilo India Delta. Happy weekend!

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