Part One of the New Year Stress Knock-Out Series
You know those annoying commercials for an instant solution – they keep you company on TV late at night when sleep has whisked away and you’re trying to settle. I was thinking, what if there was a $39.99 solution to personal stress? Wouldn’t you send in two easy payments and get the widget for sale? I would! Here are three strategies to make yourself stronger and really work like a magic potion to soothe your stresses. Each comes with a risk and reward. Don’t neglect them without counting the cost.
Find a corner of light
In this special place, you come first. It could be a coffee shop or spa setting, or a favorite outlook on a walking path. But the most important thing when you’re trying to refocus is to just stop. In this place, the voices of self-criticism and to-do lists get set aside. Just for a while. Quiet creeps in and is not rejected, but welcomed. Light dapples. Leaves gently rustle. A rabbit skips across the way. A glass of something delightful is sipped. And, ah. Now there’s room to remember yourself. To dance with the dreams that need to come to life. To listen to the pain that needs attention as well as the things that need to change.
Risk: If you neglect this small thing, a hard shell will form that’s difficult to drop with your family and loved ones because you’re just getting by. You’re heading for a path where the central values you hold dear may get lost or trampled down.
Reward: Listen to the quiet and let in encouraging moments and the amount of patience for daily trials expands four times. You’re the best “you” and your family will notice. That smile will leap on your face more often. Laughter will punctuate your life and joy won’t be so elusive.
Tackle the lurking monsters
Be done with putting off your most annoying or scary projects. You know that challenge that you’ve brushed aside for a long time. The one that bugs you the most? Devise an attack pattern and advance. Take out your virtual sword, get ready, and just do it. Pick the single biggest stressor and take it down. It could be mounting laundry needing a better pattern, piles of mail needing focused attention, or kitchen cabinets where more tumbles out than necessary every time you open it. Or perhaps the piles of boots by the door in snowy weather or a family situation needing lots of research.
Risk: Ignore it further, and it will impact you financially, drain your emotional bank every time you think of it, and become more powerful, lurking like a monster in the dark. When you don’t face a fear, it grows.
Reward: Relief floods once the item is doing better. Note: it doesn’t have to be perfect to be better. It’s such a boost to not have it on the list. Yes, there’s still more needing attention, but if you can handle this one, huge, ugly troll and slay it, then aren’t you strong enough to handle the rest in time?
Reconnect with health goals
You know what you need to do. Yet life keeps tripping you up. Start in these three ways and you’ll soon be making progress.
- First investigate your health needs you’ve been putting off. Get one of the checkups you need the most. Perhaps there’s a small solution waiting once you have the blood work or information at hand that will instantly improve your outlook. If a vitamin can impact you for the better, why not find out? Make a calendar to do your checkups and nibble at them ‘till you’re caught up.
- Second, ask yourself what’s your deepest need that hasn’t been addressed? Do you need to swim more so muscles aren’t sore? What one thing could you do to improve this week and stretch yourself to do it twice at least.
- Third, think of fun. Remember when you were a kid and loved riding bikes or playing outside? Find something playful to add into your health goals. It might be baking with healthier recipes, or saying yes to a bike ride with a young one. Or hitting a little white ball which for some strange reason brings you joy when it goes straight.
Risk: I don’t have to remind you of the risks for ignoring your body’s cues and checkups. But you’re also risking losing joy over the compounding losses that result here. I’m right with you in being afraid of things sometimes, but don’t let fear keep you from action that could really improve your health.
Reward: Peace and more of the “best you” will emerge when you’re attending to health needs. And adding fun will bring laughter more often with your loved ones, too.
I’ll be posting specific ideas for each category this week on Instagram and Facebook, and would love to hear your ideas too!
Next week, part two in the series: reduce stress by focusing on others.
In the news:
For updates about my path to publication, please like my Author Facebook here:Author Facebook . I’m hoping for my middle-grade fantasy to catch a publisher’s attention in the coming year and would love your support!
My son, Jonathan Van Tassel, has a new column with updates about great activities and contests for your kids on the Geek Central Blog here: Geek Central Blog. This week, it’s about a super contest at Legoland!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net