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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Stress Relievers

This post is as much for me as for y'all—although my stress levels are way down, now that I work for myself at home and no longer work as a legal assistant in downtown Dallas. Loved it for a time, then took the leap of faith and became an entrepreneur. Still, I need this reminder list some days too.

Some common physical symptoms of stress include a racing heart, headaches, rashes/itching/hives, heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, change in bowel habits. If they persist, go see the professional of your choice.

I'm not a health professional, just a layperson who collects data/info. That means, instead of collecting owl figurines or antique letter openers (nothing wrong with either), I collect what I find interesting (usually health or writing related) along with cookbooks and published fiction and nonfiction.

So I found a bunch of loose sheets dealing with stress. I have more on this subject somewhere else, in another box I've yet to sort through, because I had this humorous list of about thirty items on how to deal with stress. However, the only one I remember, without benefit of said list, is something about seeing how many minimarshmallows you can stuff up your nose. Not that I'd advocate that, but the thought makes me smile. So here are my current findings, which are on a more serious note. I'll share the funny ones later, when I find them.

  1. Get more financially organized. Put your bills to be paid next to your computer. Or, even better, go ahead and set them up for payment online, with the date to be paid selected as needed. Have your important papers gathered in one spot: your Last Will and Testament, your medical powers of attorney, your general power of attorney, your car titles, your banking info, your life insurance policy, etc. Tell your executor where to find this.
  2. Stop procrastinating. If you are scared to make that doctor's appointment, just do it. You are more than likely worrying needlessly. Or you can worry less if you catch "something" sooner rather than later.
  3. Reach out and touch something soft: a beloved pet, satin sheets, an angora sweater, your baby's soft skin, even your hubby's rough hands.
  4. Watch a favorite movie for the tenth time.
  5. Water! Drink it. Bathe in it. Seek its source. Watch the ocean. Swim in a lake. Magic!
  6. Smell something good. Bake fresh bread at home. Put on a pot of simmering cinnamon sticks and orange rinds. Buy yourself some flowers (or just visit a florist and inhale).
  7. Exercise.
  8. Play the piano.
  9. Listen to music. Dance to music. Sing to music. Your choice.
  10. If the budget allows, go have lunch with the girls/guys.
  11. People who work hard at satisfying jobs, and who have rich family and personal lives, are usually the happiest. So if you spend most of your waking hours at a job you hate, where you are not appreciated, get one better suited for you.
  12. Play hard.
  13. Hike. Research your town's/city's hiking trails. Go explore.
  14. Go biking.
  15. Practice yoga or other stretching exercises.
  16. Remember, feeling as if you have too little control over your life can cause stress. Seek to resolve that.
  17. Also too little to do can cause stress. Find a hobby. Go volunteer and help others.
  18. Scented candles can be soothing. Go for beeswax candles that don't put toxins in your environment.
  19. Figure out your particular stressor(s) and take steps to remedy them.
  20. Remember that worry cuts into your productivity. You are punishing yourself. Stop that now. Realizing you are doing this is the first step to recovery.
  21. High-pressure jobs (a lot to do) with low control (little say so on your part) are the most stressful. Maybe stop to evaluate your position in a new light. Check out the current job market. Wouldn't it be great to find a job closer to home, that pays you more, with better benefits? Go find one now.
  22. Working where you don't feel meaningful causes stress. Move toward your goals instead of someone else's goals.
  23. Get your house more organized. Per FLYLady.net, the cheapest remodel is to declutter your house. Won't that make you smile?
  24. Be decisive. Quit waffling about that decision on your mind, taking up hours and hours of your day and leading to nothing productive. Make a decision. Now. Flip a coin if you have to. If the first decision turns out to be wrong, correct course and make another decision.
  25. Worrying is your first red flag to get some good advice, to act, to do something instead.
  26. Make a list of what stresses you and divide it into two columns: that which you can control and that which you can't. Then have a trusted friend or your spouse look over your "can't control" list to offer any insight that you may not be seeing.
  27. Figure out what are your "hot buttons." Find a way to avoid them (or avoid that person most likely to push all of them!).
  28. Make a realistic budget for now and revise it for later when things are not so tight financially. It has to be doable or you'll feel stress in not making it work.
  29. Create a mission statement for your life. List all goals, like write that novel, return to college, take a cooking class or a language class or whatever. Read this first thing every morning and last thing at night. Keep your mind aware of your bigger goals. You should start seeing opportunities regarding these, now that you've alerted your subconscious mind that these are important to you.
  30. Now act on one of your goals. When you do something you really love, you won't need so many stress relievers, as you've focused on correcting the cause, not the effect.
  31. Don't contaminate the good times. Stop feeling guilty when you do splurge and eat that Death by Chocolate dessert. Enjoy it. Savor it. Then eat salads tomorrow. And enjoy them, savor them too.
  32. Kick bad habits: smoking, drinking to excess, sugarholicism, etc.
  33. Make a To Do list. Be realistic. Affix a timeline for how long it would take you to do it all. You may be surprised how little time is involved. Plus remember that procrastinating about doing these jobs is truly wasted time. Prove it to yourself by choosing the "quickest" item on your list. Time yourself. Did it take all of fifteen minutes? Surprised you, didn't it? Well, keep at it.
  34. Say no.
  35. Give yourself at least fifteen minutes of "you" time each day. You deserve more than that, but this will suffice for now.
  36. Breathe deeply, slowly.
  37. Think of the best sex you ever had.
  38. Play a computer game.
  39. Read!
  40. If the budget allows, take vacations, meet friends for lunch/dinner, romance your hubby with a candlelight dinner at home or out somewhere special.
  41. Keep things in perspective. Be grateful for health and home and love. For most of us here in the States, our "problems" are probably first-world "problems."
  42. Take a weekend to prepare forty freezer meals. I haven't yet done this (my freezer is packed), so I can't recommend any one plan to you, but I did find two or three websites with free instructions on this. Check them out and let me know how they worked for you. See https://newleafwellness.biz/2015/02/17/17-freezer-meal-prep-sessions-that-will-change-your-life/ and http://foodwineandpoopydiapers.com/2014/03/23/how-i-feed-my-whole-family-for-about-60-a-week/ and http://www.aturtleslifeforme.com/2011/06/freezer-meals-on-cheap.html. If your budget allows, you can buy freezer menu mailers from Leeann Ely at savingdinner.com. If money is truly no object, you can go with the paid meal deliveries of fresh food that you cook yourself. Research the Internet for these companies.
  43. Initiate date night with your special honey, whether it's once a week or once a month. Have fun!
  44. If a traditional vacay is not in the cards for you, take a day trip. Drive to a nearby town and walk the square and check out antiques or watch the hot air balloon celebration or visit an upcoming festival.
  45. In that vein, go to the library, the bookstore for a day of browsing and adding to your wish list, and/or Starbucks (but sit outside this time, weather permitting).
  46. Stop focusing on yourself and your problems. I bet there are plenty of people with much worse ordeals to survive.
  47. Empty a drawer! The universe likes to fill vacuums.
  48. For the ladies, give yourself a mani-pedi.
  49. Have a full spa day at home.
  50. Buy yourself flowers.
  51. Keep things around you that make you smile.
  52. Declutter!
  53. Draw. Paint. Use charcoal, pen and ink, pastels, oils, etc.
  54. Use white noise to calm you.
  55. Recover from the drain of negative emotions by trying this: with mouth closed, tap your tongue against the ridge behind your upper front teeth. Do for three to four minutes. Let me know if this works for you.
  56. Interrupt bad thoughts that are on a vicious loop in your head. Simply change the state of your mind. Use a positive mantra word. Repeat it. Passively disregard other thoughts.
  57. Take a break hourly to stretch whatever body part is the tensest.
  58. Remember that fretting is not productive. Fretting is just delaying solving the problem.
  59. Do like Scarlett O'Hara did. Worry about it tomorrow (which then turns into "today"). But set about solving it today.
  60. Ask yourself when your worries actual came to fruition. See? Waste of time ...
  61. Gather info that either solves your problem or dismisses the worry associated therewith.
  62. Visualize good outcomes.
  63. Savor the moment. Be more present.
  64. Remember to take care of yourself. That replenishes the courage you need to go on.
  65. Caring for yourself tells you that you are worth the effort.
  66. Caring for yourself tells the world that you are worth it.
  67. Create a sense of possibility, which raises your spirits and your energy levels.
  68. Remind yourself that taking care of your family, your home, yourself, is a privilege, not a chore.
  69. Treat yourself well. With respect. With the utmost care. People will begin to treat you in the same manner too.
  70. HALT: Ask yourself if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired? Fix the underlying problem. Either eat something healthy, confront the anger, go hug someone, take a nap.
  71. If angry, remember that you can't control others. You can control your responses to them though. You can avoid them as well. Plus look for the faulty "should" talk that appears in your angry-mode thinking. "They shouldn't treat me like this. They should know better. They should apologize ..."
  72. Forgive. Holding a grudge takes mental, emotional and physical energy. Not worth it. Say a prayer for those people and move on, doing what you can about it. NEVER stay in an abusive relationship.
  73. There's a strong connection between anger and health problems, such as chronic stomach upsets, heart problems and skin conditions. Get healthier by addressing the root of the anger.
  74. Forgiveness releases enormous energy. So does acting on that procrastination.
  75. Forgiveness works whether you speak to that person face-to-face or just forgive them in your mind.
  76. Forgiving someone DOES NOT MEAN you trust them. They have to earn that. Again.
  77. Speak up when someone wrongs you. Don't let their wrong and your silence both fester inside you. Plus some people need to be told what bothers you and why. Establish those boundaries early on. And it could be simply a failure to communicate. Correct it. Immediately.
  78. Get professional help if needed.
Wow. I had no idea I had collected so many. As always, use what resonates with you and dismiss the rest.

Here's to happier people all around ...

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

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