These ideas might have been better suited to the pre-holiday rush, but I think they will work just as well as we launch into a new year. Stress seems to be a frequent companion for most folks. Thank you to my daughter and GM, Daphne, for locating these. I’ve added some other ideas. Here are 25 ideas to bust stress whenever it comes along. (I’d probably have to use all of them to help me cope with living in Alaska.)

  1. Get up 15 minutes earlier every morning. There is less rush and if something goes wrong, you’ll be able to handle it.
  2. The night before, get as much ready as you can for the following day. For example, plan and lay out your outfit.
  3. Don’t rely on your memory. Use a small planner or write down your appointment times. I like to think that I have a great memory, but even so, when there are so many things going on at once, I do sometimes forget an item.
  4. Don’t lie. You won’t have to spend time coming up with a story to cover yourself. Besides, a clear conscience makes life a lot easier.
  5. Make duplicates of all keys and keep them in safe places.
  6. Practice preventive maintenance. This is not just for your car. This applies to your home, your health, and your relationships.
  7. Be prepared to wait. In fact, plan for it. Take a paperback or a letter that needs to be written with you. When the doctor is inevitably running late, you will at least not be totally wasting your time. Or try taking a book of crossword or word search puzzles along.
  8. Do not procrastinate! Nothing will add stress to your life more than putting off what should be done. Even if you only get a portion of the project done, it is better than nothing at all. My hero, Abraham Lincoln, wisely stated, “Don’t put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.” There’s also a saying: Nothing makes people more productive than the last minute. Before the last minute comes there is a lot of worry caused by waiting until the last minute.
  9. Plan ahead.
  10. Don’t put up with something that doesn’t work right. Get it fixed or replace it.
  11. Eliminate or restrict the amount of caffeine in your diet, particularly coffee, tea, and cola.
  12. Set up a contingency plan for those “just in case moments.”
  13. Review your priorities. For example, the world will not end if you don’t get your lawn mowed this weekend. Making it to your child’s soccer game is higher up on the importance scale.
  14. Accentuate the positive. For everything that goes wrong, there are probably 5, 10, or more blessings. Stop occasionally and count them.
  15. Ask questions. Repeat directions back, ask what is expected of you. This will save you time and frustration.
  16. Be able to say “no.” This is a tough one, but as much as you would like to, you cannot do it all. When a person tries to do it all, she/he eventually tires out and things aren’t done well. Everyone needs a break.
  17. Another toughy – unplug your phone. Let your answering machine or voice mail help you tune out.
  18. Not everything is a need, a must have. Food, clothing, shelter are needs. Everything else is a want.
  19. Simplify. This word needs to be said over and over until simplifying becomes a habit, and a good one at that.
  20. Make friends with non-worriers. Hanging around folks who are chronic worrywarts gets a person into the worry business quickly.
  21. Sitting for extended periods of time or doing repetitive tasks fatigues and strains your body. Take stretch breaks often or change tasks for a while.
  22. Need a quiet environment? Try ear plugs.
  23. Get enough sleep every night. Start to unwind a while before going to bed.
  24. Organize. De-clutter. This cannot be stressed enough. Think of how much time you waste searching for something. It just takes a moment to put things back where they belong.
  25. Deep breathe. When feeling stressed, a person tends to breathe in short, shallow breaths. When breathing like this, stale air is not expelled and oxygenation of your tissues is incomplete. This can lead to muscle tension. Check your breathing throughout the day, and before and after high pressure situations. When you are relaxed, your chest and abdomen expand when you breathe. Taking deep breaths really is calming.

Wishing you good health, peace, and prosperity.

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