NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Our Busy, Busy Lives

Our Busy, Busy Lives

Ever feel that your life is moving at the speed of light?  And that you might fall off this fast moving rocket?  A variety of happenings can cause stress in our lives – too much work, lack of work/a job, family, friends, illnesses, and situations in our neighborhood or city – such as crime, or weather like Hurricane Isaac.  Whatever is causing stress for you; there are ways to manage the stress in your life, before it manages you!  Most ways of dealing with stress fall into three general categories:

• Alter, avoid or accept your stressors

• Build your resources or strengths, and

• Change your attitude or perception of the stressors

Journaling - We all need an outlet for our positive and negative feelings. There are a variety of ways to express feelings, such as dancing, talking, painting, and writing. You might try writing your feelings in a private journal or notebook. Expressing your feelings in this way is harmless and can be therapeutic.

Exercise - Exercise is a proven way to manage stress. Physically active people handle stress better than those who are not active. Make time in your schedule for regular exercise. Choose an aerobic activity you can do 20-30 minutes every other day. Walking, running, swimming, and bicycling are all excellent choices.  Do it with friends who can help you keep your commitment, or do it alone and use the time for reflection. PS. If burning calories is on your mind, remember that you have to burn 3,500 extra calories (beyond your body’s daily needs) to lose one pound of body weight.

Celebrate accomplishments - At the end of a day, we are often tempted to focus on what we did not accomplish instead of what we did accomplish. Get into the habit of praising what you did accomplish. Before you go to bed, write down three positive things you’ve accomplished that day, no matter how small you may think they are. Reflect on your daily successes!

Celebrate Your Talents - Your sister may be a wonderful cook. Your neighbor may be incredibly organized. But don’t compare yourself to them. No one has every talent, but all do have talents. Discover yours. Build them. Celebrate them. Use them to help others.

Start Small - When you are feeling tired and discouraged and don’t want to do anything, look for a small job to get started. Once you finish the job, give yourself credit for it. Don’t beat yourself up with a long list of all the things you still need to do. Once you get started with a little job, you may feel like tackling bigger jobs.

Create a Personal Mission Statement - Successful people and organizations are often guided by mission statements. In these statements we state what we want to be, what we want to accomplish and the values we will follow. These statements help focus our daily activities.

Slow and Steady -Pacing is the art of taking on no more, but no less, than you can reasonably handle while working at it steadily. Pacing skills can help us take control of our lives. Begin by scheduling your time. Figure out how long each task is likely to take. Make allowances for interruptions. Then schedule tasks to fill but not overflow the time you have.

Re-label Your Experiences - Everyone tends to label their experiences. The labels you choose for stressful situations influence their effect on you. List your stressors and write down the meaning you assign to each. Cross out the negative meaning and assign a more positive statement. Put your troubles into a broader perspective. Step outside the situation and ask yourself, “Will this matter in 50 years? Or in even in five years?”

When to Stand Your Ground - We are confronted with conflict situations daily. But we can’t spend our energy confronting every situation.  Is there really a threat here? • Is it really worth a fight? • If I fight, will it really make a difference? If the answer to all three questions is yes, set an appointment for the discussion. State the issue clearly. Avoid “always” and “never.” Don’t hit below the belt, but stand up for yourself.

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