Managing stress: An all-year event
Managing stress is a year-round priority
by Raven Ballard, PLPC
With the holiday season wrapped up, many of us are working toward getting back into the swing of routines and balance. While there’s no doubt the holidays are a stressful time of the year, it’s important to remember that managing stress should be a year-round priority. Below are five tips to help:
Time it out
Make a list of three activities you enjoy: one that takes you 10-20 minutes, one that takes you 1-2 hours, and one that takes 4+ hours.
Examples: 10-20 minutes of meditation; 1-2 hours of scrapbooking or going to the gym; 4+ hours spent at the zoo or with friends at a movie and dinner.
When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, evaluate how much time you can spend or need to spend on self-care, then refer to your list. Use this list as a go-to when feelings of stress become overwhelming, and feel free to add to your list as more activities you enjoy come to mind.
SIFT your mind (Siegel, 2013)
Take a deep breath and bring your awareness to the following:
Sensing - what are you sensing in your body right now?
Images - what images are coming to mind for you at the moment?
Feeling - what feelings and emotions are coming up for you?
Thoughts - what thoughts are streaming through your mind?
Create a playlist with songs that soothe or calm you when you’re feeling distress. It may be helpful to pick up an extra pair of headphones to keep handy in your car, purse, backpack, etc. When feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated, listen to a few songs and take some deep breaths.
Trust your gut
If you feel like you’re in a funk, search for a new recipe to make. Try for one that involves an ingredient you’ve never cooked with before. Not a fan of cooking? Search for a local restaurant in your area you’ve never eaten at before or see if there’s a dish you’ve never tried at one of your go-to restaurants.
Stick to a routine
If your life is feeling chaotic or out of your control, create a routine for your morning or evening that feels realistic and doable for your lifestyle. If your mornings are slammed, but you have 15 minutes in the evening, create a routine for those 15 minutes. This routine could include washing your face, meditating, or listening to a TED talk. If you find that your morning is more flexible, build a routine that includes having a good breakfast, showering, or setting your intentions for the day. Have fun with this routine and remember that you’re in control of what it looks like.
Need support? The Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program is a free, confidential counseling program that serves Missouri Bar members, law students and their families. Contact us at 1-800-688-7859. We’re here to help.
Siegel, D. J. (2013). Brainstorm. Penguin Group (USA).