At the end of another jampacked day, do you think about everything you’ve accomplished? Or do you find yourself tossing, turning and stressing over what didn’t get done?
Unfortunately too many of us with an entrepreneurial spirit internalize “You can do anything you put your mind to” to mean you should do everything and do everything perfectly! This mindset only leads to unrealistic expectations which lead to conflict and stress. You give yourself too much to do, run out of time and energy, and then feel guilty that you failed to do the impossible.
Stressing less is not about time management, it’s about you management.
1. Speak Your Truth.
Are you running around pleasing others, putting everyone else’s needs before yours, and agreeing to do things you don’t want to do? It’s time to get honest about what you really want and align your thoughts, words and actions to your truth. Otherwise your mind says one thing as your mouth says another and you wonder why you’re stressed! You’re never going to make everyone happy so stop trying. You’re only setting yourself up to fail. Rather than lecture your child about being honest, start practicing what you preach and match your mouth with your motions. Remember, “No” is a complete sentence.
2. Make a Not To Do List.
No matter how much you delegate, organize, prioritize or simplify you’re never going to have enough time to get it all done. Ask, “Is this in alignment with my core values?” If not, it goes on the not-to-do list. Give yourself permission to take it off your list and plug the mental energy drain. My personal not to do list includes volunteering time (I’ll find another way to show my support), organizing pictures and learning a second language. Let go of the guilt and reallocate your energy towards what you want most.
3. Love is Messy.
Many moons ago I had a beautiful apartment with nothing on the countertops, the pillows fluffed, and vacuum tracks on the carpet. I was also single and alone. Now that I have a family, I realize it’s not about perfection, it’s about connection. A perfectly clean house does not define you, it confines you. You’re never going to achieve your goals if you keep reorganizing the dishwasher! Tell yourself, “everything is not perfect, but I am perfect with everything.” And go connect with those that matter.
Change the way you look at things. For example, is this really going to matter five years from now? Of all the things you need to do, which will have the greatest impact a year from now? My personal mantra is I Am Too Blessed to Be Stressed. Repeating it reminds me that the fastest way to eliminate stress is to refocus my attitude to gratitude. While you’re at it, change your definition of Self-ISH. Balance requires boundaries. I like to say the ISH in selfish stands for I Stay Healthy and I Stay Happy. Make choices that demonstrate kindness and respect to everyone, including you.
5. Dare not to compare.
Stop comparing yourself to others. You are comparing apples and oranges without even realizing it. Your selfesteem plummets when you compare yourself to super achievers or individuals who are in a different place or stage in life. You are probably not seeing the full picture and the truth behind it. No matter how put together someone seems we all have stuff we are dealing with on the inside. Give yourself credit for your efforts, do your best daily, and draw inspiration from others instead of comparisons. And in case you’ve forgotten or don’t realize it, you are an inspiration to someone, even if you don’t know it.
6. More is not better.
Studies show most parents want their children to be happy. Is adding more activities, lessons, and practices to your children’s already overloaded schedule really best for them right now? And you? Do you really need to take on another project or commitment? How many pairs of shoes, clothes in your closet, or items in your home do you really need? That means more stuff to clean, organize, store, and pay for. More usually creates more stress and less freedom.
7. Ask for what you need to succeed.
When you ask, be clear and direct. Your Mom repeatedly calls you during the day: “Mom, I’d love to talk in the evening. Daytime is my time to focus on my business.” Express to your late paying client: In order to move forward on this project, I need to receive payment on my invoice.” Tell the masseuse who won’t stop talking: “Can we talk following the massage? I really appreciate the quiet time.” Put your pride on the side and ask for help and support when you need it. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness; but a healthy way to remain strong.
You’ve probably heard some of these strategies and even gave similar advice. But what’s going to really create long-lasting improvement? The biggest, most impactful change which improved every aspect of my life was mastering speaking my truth. Dig deep, get honest, and be brave. Align your thoughts, words, and actions to what you really want. By applying these seven strategies to my truth, I was finally able to maintain a 50 lb. weight loss, create the business of my dreams, and become the best loving mom I could be. The next time you feel inner conflict, stop the stress cycle. Match your mind, mouth, and motions with love, compassion, and respect for yourself and others. Be passionate, speak your truth, and decide you deserve to live the life YOU want to live.
Most adults associate childhood with carefree-living and having no worries. As parents, we have lived through the challenges of childhood, and we know the outcome of most daily situations, but as a child, everything is new. They do not know the outcome. From going to a doctor’s office, to overhearing a dispute between their parents, these issues seem minor to an adult, but can be intense in the eyes of a child. As hard as we try we cannot keep them from these feelings. They are going to encounter stress. Teaching them to use positive stress correctly and lowering the side effects of negative stress is a life skill that will give your child an advantage for the rest of their life.
Teaching our children how to cope with stress properly is a life skill sometimes overlooked by parents. We are so focused on giving them as many experiences as we can, we forget to slow down to listen to their feelings. In fact, as parents, we have become so accustomed to rushing from place to place ourselves, we need to practice stress coping techniques as well. Our children are little sponges, and our example is the best way to teach them. When parents are not coping properly with daily negative stressors, our children are learning what not to do.
The term “stress” is thrown around so much, many people don’t understand what stress is and what it is not. In fact, most adults have different ideas about what “stress” actually means. I break stress down into two categories, positive stress and negative stress.
When is stress positive?
Stress encourages us to achieve greatness. It pushes us forward to accomplish our goals. It is necessary to create the right inspiration that lights a fire within us. Another way stress is needed in our daily lives is when we encounter situations and adrenaline is needed to get through a moment. Our bodies’ natural response to danger is “fight or flight” which brings about heightened alertness, higher levels of perception, and quick decision-making skills that can mean the difference between life and death.
How can we teach our children to use positive stress to their advantage?
The answer is so simple, yet most people don’t take the time to teach their children. The answer is goal setting. It is a valuable tool a parent can give their child. It allows a child to make their own decisions as to what they want to achieve, gives them something to strive for, and creates a sense of pride once the goal is achieved. Most people with specific goals are the ones who are happiest in life because they are working towards a grand result.
Stress Release Reminders journal technique is the easiest way to teach children about daily goal setting. Each page is designed to insert a daily goal, a daily affirmation, and just a few highlights from the day. It takes less than 5 minutes and is a powerful tool because children can go back and easily read their past accomplishments. Also, it gives a parent the quality moments we long to have with our children. Asking them, what do they want to achieve today, and how did it make them happy, are two questions a parent should know about their child. It gives the parent an insight into exactly what the child will want to do with their day. Most parents discuss the goals in the morning and write them down at night just before bed. This is a great way to finish your day and the children are more eager to share because they are prolonging their bedtime.
I know what you are thinking, “Who has time for journaling?” This brings me to another great stress management tool, which is time management. Teaching our children to slow down and prioritize what is most important will keep them on track with their goals.
When is stress negative?
The two biggest factors of negative stress are worrying about the future and dwelling on the past. These are the most damaging of stress and I call it useless mind chatter. It is an internal stress that many people live with daily and has become their way of thinking. In fact people even become addicted to this kind of hurried, tense, lifestyle.
For children, internal stress can be terrifying mostly because children’s imagination is their only outcome in scary new experiences. They have no idea what will happen next on the simplest of situations. They are going to have fears and worries. It is part of life. However, we can teach them the skills to over power future fears and let go of past events and quiet the mind chatter before it becomes an unhealthy habit.
What can we do to teach our children how to quiet the negative internal stress?
Teaching children at a young age to silence the useless mind chatter and focus on the present moment will give them a foundation for a healthier, happier lifestyle. Like any bad habit the sooner you bring awareness to it, the easier it is to overcome.
Awareness is the most important factor to silence internal stress. Taking quiet moments to examine your thoughts will help with awareness. I place Stress Release Reminder decals throughout my day to remind me to quiet the negative chatter of dwelling on the past and fearing the future.
With children, this process is much easier, because bad habits have not yet been formed. It is all about communication.
- Remind yourself to initiate conversations using Stress Release Reminder decals.
- Then ask them “Have you had any concerns today that may have made you anxious, excited, sad, or scared?”
- Then teach them how to make a Plan of Action
- Ask, “Can they change the concern to make it better?” If yes, help set goals to resolve the concern. If not, then let it go and replace the thought with a positive alternative.
This process will give a parent a wonderful view into their child’s outlook on life. Making a plan of action is a great complement to a night-time routine of goal setting journaling.