Don’t Stress It!
Sure, you handle stress all the time. Deadlines at work, the demands of home and personal relationships, the way the two sometimes overlap, whether it’s a work call at dinnertime or a teacher’s call while you’re on the clock.
Throw in the holidays, with the shopping and parties, family friction, planning and – we hope – careful budgeting of finances that already may be a little constrained, and it’s no wonder that the end of the year seems to hit like a reindeer hoof to the forehead.
So before you get spun out and start throwing tinsel and holiday greeting cards at co-workers and loved ones, follow a few tips for managing stress now and all year through:
* Take care of yourself. Get enough rest, go to the gym, get your teeth cleaned and your reflexes checked, whatever it takes. Everything is always easier to handle when you are at your mental and physical best. An added bonus is that working out helps reduce stress.
* Be realist about how much you can actually do. Wonder Woman and Superman had a lot of powers that elude us mere mortals and sometimes, accepting that makes life easier to handle. Think of your day like packing a suitcase for a trip – there’s always way too much to put into it than will actually fit.
* Limit your work hours, or at least try to strike a better balance between career and family time. That’s more important this time of year, when other priorities, whether wrapping gifts or planning a holiday dinner, may take up more of your time.
* Build in some break time. Maybe it’s a hot bath or a game of pool, or a long ride with your favorite song cranked up, or just coloring with crayons, at home or at work. But leave a little space for yourself every now and then, and everything else will be easier to deal with.
Squash the Myth
Myth: I haven’t accomplished enough this year
This time of year is like 4 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. Why? Because it’s like a weekend that has passed all too quickly, with a list of projects and chores mostly left undone. Quite frankly, the list was probably too long to begin with.
So, as the daylight fades on 2009, we begin to panic that we have not done nearly enough since the start of the year, when we pledged to start anew, give more, do more, organize, smile, pick up litter, work ahead of deadlines and take the dog for walks more often.
As the regret washes over us, we lose sight of what we have done in business and in life, the things little and big that have made a difference not only in our lives, but more importantly, in the lives of others.
Pause for a moment. Grab a cup of coffee or a mug of cocoa and reflect. Recall the things you’ve done and, if it helps the panic subside, make a list. Maybe your tally looks like this:
I gave to a charity in some way. I donated time or money, on my own or through my company, to improve someone else’s life. Though funds were tight this year, I was blessed to have so much more than so many others.
I volunteered in my community, doing a presentation at my child’s school, serving as a soccer coach, helped organize a fund-raiser for my house of worship. Though my schedule was busy, I found the time.
I commended my employees – or my supervisor – for their efforts, and pitched in where needed, without grumbling about whether it fit my job description. Though many companies have shut their doors, cut staff and slashed salaries, I was grateful for my employment, and shared that gratitude with others.
We have done more than we thought this year, and will do so again in 2010. Then, perhaps, we will pledge to do what we can without regrets over what we can’t.
How do you set your goals?