Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stress Management Update

A while ago, I realized that I have too much stress in my life. Also, since Matt and I are trying to have a baby, I am working on my stress management because it helps with conception and, besides, babies bring enough stress into one's life.

I've been working on a couple different strategies with varying degrees of success:
  • Better Nutrition: Nutrition definitely impacts stress, particularly because it impacts our hormones. I was doing really well with this one, but I have strayed. I am officially re-commiting to eating in a healthier way.
  • Consistent Exercise: Like nutrition, exercise helps manage stress levels by impacting our hormones. Like nutrition, I have strayed on this front, too.
  • Daily Relaxation Ritual: For a while I was shutting everything off at 8:15, picking up the house, doing a bit of yoga, and relaxing until bed around 9:30. I have to confess that I have strayed from this one, too. Egad! I think it was caused by a couple problems. 1) The end of school was very busy, and I oftentimes had to stay up later to get my work done. 2) The line started to get blurred between work and relaxation. For example, I really like writing blog posts, so I started to count those as "relaxation," but really they aren't. My mind is much too active for it to count as relaxation.

Okay, making this list is depressing. Apparently, I'm not doing very well.

I think I'm doing two things right:
  • Eliminating Commitments: I have done a good job of eliminating commitments that no longer bring me meaning and joy, and I have done a great job with saying "no" to new requests, even though it's really, really hard! Last month, I had three different organizations ask me to contribute to their projects in different ways. I respect every single one of them, but I simply had to say no. I have to leave space in my life for new projects and relaxation.
  • Organizing My Time: I do a good job of managing my time and working to get ahead on projects rather than leaving everything for the last minute.

It looks like I've got some work to do...(I'm trying not to stress about it too much!)

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Kerri said...

yes, you are doing some great things! definitely focus on the things you ARE doing and don't berate yourself for what you haven't gotten to yet. :) good luck-

Anonymous said...

Came across a quote that seems relevant. In "Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World", Mary Pipher says "I was finished with the self-improvement projects I had launched my whole life. All of my goals to better myself had become gaols, prisons that kept me from accepting myself. My constant efforts to improve had been a form of self-aggression. Now I wanted to accept myself as I was. Psychologist Carl Rogers formulated what he called "the paradox of change," which is that people can change only in an environment of utter acceptance and regard. I wanted to create a mental environment in which I viewed myself as someone who deserved to be understood and cherished, rather than criticized and improved. My goal was healing and self-reclamation."

Rachel said...

Stress management is something I struggle with as well. Making space is all well and good as long as it isn't instantly filled in with something - even if it's something fun. Obligation is obligation - and for me, when I'm really busy and not coping even some of my favorite things end up feeling stressful.

For me, eating well and exercise are very key. Also, and I'm not kidding... I have used this technique: I'm an evening showerer. I usually run in the evening so it works well this way. I find that if I use the shower to signify 'done' for the night it works well. Then, an arbitrary time doesn't dictate when I'm ready to settle down - have some me and fiancee time - and generally regroup. I'm making a physical change to my self/my environment to help the feeling of relaxation and 'work completion'.

Anyhow, I thought I would pass it along. Sometimes I still sneak marking into the bedroom, if I'm really swamped. No body's perfect. That's good to meditate on, too. :)

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