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Diffusing the Stress Bomb: Part 2

--Adam Maisen, LPC-S/TA

· Diffusing Stress

In my last blog post, I likened stress to the fuse of a bomb that is burning toward an explosion. I discussed 3 thought shifts that can help you see the world more clearly, removing the negative filter you place on the world, and diffusing that bomb. In this post, I want to give you 3 self-care strategies to add to your toolbox.

3 Self-Care Strategies for Diffusing Stress:

  • Center yourself for the day. My morningsconsist of drinking coffee and spending some time reading scripture and praying for 30-45 minutes. Then, I make a list of all the things I need to do that day, so I can stay focused.  When I feel more centered, I find it easier to focus on important things instead of reeling over the things that cause me anxiety, most of which are out of my control.
  • Schedule downtime.  Many of us are always on the go.  You know who you are.  It is exhausting!  You might be amazed to know the scientific evidence of how exhaustion leads to stress.  This is how I schedule my downtime: 
  1. At least 2-3 Saturdays a month are dedicated to family fun time. We would prefer this to be every Saturday, but we have to be realistic. Sometimes we have other responsibilities on the weekends.
  2. Go to bed and wake up at a consistent time. When we stay consistent with our schedule, our internal clock learns to adapt. Too much rest leaves us feeling groggy and unmotivated. In 2015, the National Sleep Foundation published guidelines for hours of sleep needed by age.
  3. Recognize your limits. For years, I was a people-pleaser. I would over-commit myself, regardless of my personal sacrifice. The result: My stress fuse was almost always lit. If this is you, I encourage you to take a long, hard look at what you can let go.
  4. Schedule a quitting time. As a full-time business owner, I always have things that need to be done. I know many business owners that fall into “workaholic” status. I have been there too. However, the work will be there tomorrow. If you work yourself to the bone without rest, you WILL burnout.
  • Get some sunshine. Exposure to sunlight triggers your brain to produce more serotonin, a chemical that naturally improves mood and causes people to feel calmer and more focused.  I understand that the Arkansas summer is hot, but even 10-20 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

In my next post, I will be giving some practical tips for finding your calm place and extinguishing the stress fuse when you start feeling overwhelmed. I will talk about some common ways your body will tell you when you need to chill. Check out Part 3 next week!

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