April is National Stress Awareness Month

Take a relaxing nap
Take a relaxing nap

You may be thinking that I am a little late in sharing this with you, considering in my hemisphere it is now April 28th. You are right. However, I got to thinking about this a bit. I am glad we have a designated time to think about the problem that runs rampant in the world today. However, I think that many people have stress in any month of the year and are probably aware of it and what its impact is on their lives. I can tell you March was a seriously stressful month for me with getting pneumonia and trying to sell my father’s home. I am happy to say the pneumonia is gone and my father’s house sold.

In light of the fact that stress can occur any day out of 365 days in the year, I have some tips to share that are equally useful 365 days of the year. At my place of employment we have a small committee called “The Spirit of Fun Committee.” At least every month we try to do something to bring a light spirit and some fun to all the employees. This month in honor of stress awareness we went around and served everyone a cup of ice cream and gave them a sheet with 52 things that can be done to tame those stress levels. I think people enjoyed getting the tips, but maybe not quite as much as getting the ice cream. Be that as it may, I would like to share a few with you.  Doing all 52 would take up a lot of time and make this blog post as long as the book of Genesis.

So here goes:
1) Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Huh? That’s what I wrote and that is what the experts say. Why? Let’s say you spill OJ on your work clothes. If you have given yourself a few extra minutes it is not as much of a disaster to handle than if you are 10 minutes late to the car pool.
2) Don’t rely on your memory. I happen to be blessed with a great memory, but I still write things down. It takes the focus off my brain remembering minute details. Write down appointments, when to pick up the dry cleaning, what you need at the store, etc. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The palest ink is better than the most retentive memory.”
3) Do nothing you have to lie about later. No extra detail needed for this one.
4) Be prepared to wait. A paperback book or a walkman can make waiting at the doctor’s office or in a post office line almost pleasant.
5) Be clear before you act. Ask questions. Take a few moments to repeat back the instructions given to you. Don’t fall prey to the old adage – “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.”
6) Simplify, simplify, simplify.
7) Make friends with non-worriers. The behavior of chronic worriers is contagious.
8) Stop negative self-talk. “I’m too old.” “I’m not smart enough.” Make it positive. “I have learned this from life.” “I am capable.”
9) Do unpleasant tasks early and enjoy the rest of the day. This is one of my favorites. My children don’t know why I want to get up and get the chores done instead of taking it easy. I keep telling them it is so that I can enjoy the rest of the day without worrying that once I get home from playing or shopping, the laundry is waiting for me. Maybe now that it is in black and white, my children will believe me.

You may have come up with some ideas of your own. Feel free to share them with us. If any of you kind readers would like to have the entire list of 52 Proven Stress Reducers just drop us a note. We will pay the postage!

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