We promised more, so here are two more quick tips for dealing with stress from Fighting Invisible Tigers.
Ready, Set, Action!
Often we can feel that life just ‘happens’ to us, that we have no control over the events in our lives. But it is important to realize that you can take action, you can take charge of your life and bring about change. A really good way to feel like you are back in the director’s seat, is to set some goals. Think about what it is you want to change in your life, then set about ‘writing your script’ for your life’s movie. Here are some questions to help you get started with those goals:
What are your interests and special talents? We feel happiest when we’re busy doing what we love to do and feel successful at, make sure that this is part of your script!
What would you most like to be known for? When we achieve something, we feel good about ourselves and are happy-decide what are some achievements you’d like to have.
What’s most important to you? Prioritize things in your life, when you are engaged in meaningful activities, you will feel more rewarded, and happier.
Who are your heroes? Often we can learn a lot about ourselves when we examine the people we admire, they give us examples of who we’d like to be ourselves, they help us determine what skills we’d like to build upon to become a better person.
Where do you want to live? Think about what you’d like your life to be in the future, setting goals now that can help move you towards that helps us to feel empowered.
If you could do absolutely anything with your life, what would you do? Try not to set limits on yourself, open up your mind to every possibility, what is it you really want?
If you spend some time considering these questions, it might help you to set some goals for taking charge of your life, for getting yourself back into that director’s seat.
Once you’ve spent some time thinking about these questions, now you’re ready to actually set some short term goals that will help you get where you want to go. When we first look at some of our bigger goals, we can begin to feel overwhelmed with the ‘greatness’ of the goal. This can increase our stress level which is exactly what we don’t want to do! That’s why it is important to break your goals down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Here’s a guide for a Five-Step Goal Setting Plan:
Write a goal statement: it is essential to define your goal, be specific.
Make a list of steps that lead to your goal: make sure these are small manageable steps that won’t overload you or increase your stress level!
List some of the roadblocks you might encounter, and some ideas for getting around them: it is tempting to give up on goals when we run into a glitch, make sure you plan for that and come up with strategies for getting around the roadblocks.
List some of the resources that might be helpful toward achieving your goal: create lots of ways you can support yourself in reaching your goal-people, books, websites, organizations, etc.
List the ways you will measure progress towards your goal: It is important you celebrate you successes! Make sure you have planned ways to evaluate how you’re doing in reaching your goal and the progress you’ve made.
Taking charge of your life by setting goals is one way to reduce stress in your life. Once you feel like you are in control of parts of your life and you feel successful, in can help you to work through the parts of your life that you can’t control. Remember, you are in the director’s seat, you decide how your movie script goes.
Tick Toc Tick Tock
Time. It is a beautiful thing and also your worst enemy. Working to ‘get time on your side’ is essential to managing your stress. How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you have a huge math test tomorrow, a Humanities paper due, a Habitat for Humanity meeting, and it’s your sister’s birthday so your parents are insistent on going out to dinner to celebrate…ARRRRGGGHHHHH! Learning to create a schedule and practicing good time management skills is a life saver.
The author suggests creating an ABC to-do list:
1. Start by creating a list of all the things you need to get done in the near future. Make sure to include everything you can think of!
2. Then rank each item on the list according to the following scale:
A= Very important, must be done right away
B= Pretty important, but a bit more time before they need to be completed
C= Need to get them done, but they are not essential
3. Now group all the A’s together, then the B’s, then C’s. Then you can rank the items in their individual groups (list the A’s in order of priority, the B’s, etc).
Now you know what things are at the top of the list. Check them off as you complete them to give yourself that sense of satisfaction-you’re getting it done!
Remember, that list isn’t carved in stone, sometimes you have to be flexible as things come up. You may need to revisit your list and prioritize things again if something changes. But at least you have a starting point! As you’re looking at prioritizing your list, keep in mind the following time management tips:
1. Give yourself the freedom to say ‘no’: many of us struggle with this, but sometimes, you just have to say “I can’t do it, next time.”
2. Know when you’re at your best: figure out what times you’re the most productive and use that to your advantage. If studying straight after school is when you get the most done, block out that time for yourself.
3. Get your rest: sleep is critical to managing your time. If you’re rested, your mind works better and you can accomplish more of those things on your to-do list!
4. Schedule breaks: our brains need a break from time to time, make sure you schedule in some time to give yourself a chance to decompress.
5. Beware of time wasters: this is a tough one with YouTube and Facebook so easily accessible. Set some tough rules for yourself if you know that you are easily scooped up into some ‘time wasters’, make those things inaccessible when you time is precious.
6. Use a calendar or planner: writing things down and keeping track of them is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t find yourself stuck without enough time to get things done. Using a digital calendar, like your gmail calendar, can be a fantastic resource for helping you to stay on top of things. Spend some time getting comfortable with all the features of your calendar, practice with setting reminders, it can be a very valuable resource for you and help with time management.
Learning to prioritize things and manage your time are probably two of the most important strategies in reducing your stress.
Stay tuned for yet a few more stress reducing techniques!