Friday, October 7, 2011

Create A Stress Strategy BEFORE You Need It

This time of year, stress is a major problem. The holidays mean overflowing to-do lists and more family time than most sane people can comfortably handle. Plus, end-of-year craziness at the office usually creates a big push to complete projects and tasks before rolling over into the next year.

I'm a firm believer stress from home follows us to work and vice versa—even for those who say they keep the two separate. No, you don't. You can't. It's just not possible. Stress is stress and it doesn't care where you are. There's no way to compartmentalize life, no matter how desperately you'd like to. So, whether your stress is personal or professional, it can and will impact every aspect of your life.

There is good news, however. Stress is completely manageable. You have the ability to take control and keep it from breaking you down. Unfortunately, most people wait until it's too late. They don't bother thinking about stress until it's bearing down on top of them. At that point, managing stress feels like just another to-do item to put on your already overwhelming list.

So, what can you do? Take action NOW. You know stress is approaching. Don't just sit there waiting for the tidal wave to suck you under. Instead, be proactive. Create your strategy for minimizing and managing it today.

There's no perfect one-size-fits-all approach to this, so you'll need to do a little self-evaluation first. Here's the process I recommend for creating your personal stress management strategy:

  • Figure out what your major stress triggers are and when/how they typically appear.
  • Look at how you currently handle your stress and figure out what works (if anything) and what doesn't.
  • Determine how stress is currently impacting your life and how much improving the situation is worth to you.
  • Make the commitment to improve your stress management practices.
  • Create a customized plan for combating the mental, emotional and physical challenges of stress.
  • Work your plan and revise as needed.

You'll find, once you start taking an active role in managing your stress, you'll automatically feel more in control of it.

Chrissy Scivicque (pronounced "Civic"), founder of Eat Your Career, is an award-winning freelance writer/editor with a passion for two things: food and helping others.

Thanks to Chrissy Scivicque / Careerealism


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