September was crazy. I had so many different projects running at the same time with many people. I spread myself quite thin. A bit too thin, I guess. Do you know that feeling when you have so much to do you don’t know where to start? That was me. And then I start with a few projects at the same time and get flustered. This means that I have to step back and rethink my work. So here I share some tried and trusted strategies on how to cope with stress.
1| Drink a lot. Mainly herbal tea.
I love my coffee but when I’m already nervous it’s like poison. My heart starts to race and I get even more nervous and projecting it on whatever I’m doing. So I drink tea. It’s warm and calming.
My latest go-to is fresh mint tea with lemon and honey.
2| Start with something easy and fast.
When I have a full day ahead with tasks that are potentially daunting, I fill my washing machine and turn it on. It gives me the feeling that I have already accomplished something and that sets the right tone for the day.
3| Take a shower.
Taking a shower has 2 positive effects: you can wash off your sorrows (yes, washing yourself has also a cleaning effect on your psyche) and it gives you time to think a little about the tasks ahead. There’s a reason why good ideas are often born in the shower: your body is occupied, you feel at easy and your mind can wander.
This works wonders for your creativity and problem solving skills.
4| Eat something healthy.
I’m a stressful not-eater which means if I have a lot to do, I forget to eat. This is as bad as eating out of stress. It helps to take some time to sit down and enjoy a meal. Fast food can be healthy too. I make creative and cute sandwiches. They’re easy to make and please my eyes. Then I sit down (away from the computer) and take at least 20 mins to eat.
This also gives me time to think about the tasks ahead, set priorities and plan my next to-dos.
5| Make a To Do List.
This sounds like a no-brainer but every time I have a lot to do I start with doing. Get the first things done. This might sound not so bad but I end up constantly thinking about all the tasks I shouldn’t forget. This takes a lot of time and energy. Writing everything down, gives me an eased mind and an overview of everything that I have to do on one glance. It’s also easier to change priorities because I know exactly what still needs to be done.
Even a mind-map works to keep you from driving yourself crazy with the same thoughts over and over again.
6| Enjoy a treat.
The idea here is not to gulp a donut or eat a whole bar of chocolate at once but to celebrate a break with a coffee and a piece of chocolate (or cake or whatever you like). This also gives you a break and you don’t end up in a frenzy.
7| Blow on your thumb.
This is a weird tip. I just read this myself a few days ago and I don’t have the empirical experience to back this up: but apparently this will drop your heart rate. I have to get my dad’s blood pressure band and try this with an experiment. Meanwhile I do it anyway. Just in case.
All this tips work perfectly for too-much-work-related-stress but there’s also the kind of emotional stress and I had my fair share of that too in the last month. I still haven’t figured out how to cope with that. So any ideas on what works for you are more than welcome!
What are you doing to cope with stress?
Now. Carry on!