Is it just me or does it seem like there is a stress storm going on? To be fair, I live in Wisconsin and serve on our local school board. With all of the turmoil over Governor Scott Walker’s budget, worries over collective bargaining rights, and trying to figure out how to do right by the kids, staff, and taxpayers of our district, it seems like there has been a never-ending wave of stress coming my way.
I know I’m not alone in that feeling. In the wake of all this pressure, I’m feeling worn out and mired in woe. Everywhere I turn, Facebook, TV, radio, even in casual conversation, there are reminders of the situation. It feels like my brain has ceased to function creatively, a bad thing for someone who needs to write and speak well.
Sailing as a kid taught me about weathering a storm on a boat. Someone has to be in charge – at the helm, but no-one can stand watch all the time and do it well. At some point you have to “stand down” and take a break. The point of standing down is to give yourself the opportunity to recover and be refreshed, so that you can jump back in. Without the break, you will become fatigued and less able to function effectively.
Think about it.
- Are you taking the time to allow yourself to recover from the stress storm?
- Are you finding ways to refresh yourself so you can be effective, creative, and productive?
I recently took a week off and traveled with my husband. On the first day I dropped my beloved iPhone off a balcony and essentially disconnected myself from the world. Not a bad strategy. It turned out to be one of our best vacations ever, I came back refreshed and ready to jump back in. However, it didn’t take long before I felt the storm battering at me again. While a week away works wonders – taking time each day to “stand down” is even more important.
Tips to Stand Down:
- Disengage: Turn off the cell phone, close Facebook, step away from the TV and the radio. Shut off the constant stream electronic stress and find some peace.
- Distract: Read a great book, enjoy a hobby, watch a funny movie, play a game – find a way to think about something else – or nothing at all.
- Recharge: Connect with people you care about, indulge in a massage or other personal pleasure, enjoy a delicious meal – treat yourself well.
- Refresh: Sleep, sleep, and then sleep some more. Oftentimes stress robs us of a good night’s sleep. Protect your sleep by spending at least 30 minutes before bedtime escaping from the stresses of the day so they aren’t running through your head. A twenty-minute nap can work wonders as well.
Make sure you give yourself permission to stand down and take time to take care of yourself during stressful times. You CAN weather the storm, but you can’t do battle 24 hours per day.
Eliz Greene works busy people to improve heart health, so they can work well, feel better, and stress less.
She is a heart attack survivor and the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs and is a sought-after wellness & stress management speaker.
If you are planning a women’s wellness program, workplace wellness program or programs for healthcare professionals check out EmbraceYourHeart.com to see if Eliz would be a good fit with your organization.