It's Sunday. And that feeling of dread starts to set in. You know the one. The weekend is over. Another work week is upon you. "Where did the time go? I just need one more day. Maybe I should call off tomorrow." These may be some common thoughts that enter your mind. But then you remember. That impossible "to-do" list waiting on you at your job. Or the dwindling amount of vacation or sick leave in your leave bank making taking a day implausible. The stress response is starting. Where do you feel it? How are you experiencing stress in your body? Circle the ones that apply.
Can't sit still
Heart pounding and beating fast
Tight feeling in chest
Feel like crying
Muscles feel tense
Hard time falling asleep
Get angry easily
Our minds and our bodies react differently when we are feeling stressed. Sometimes we are more easily able to recognize those differences but sometimes it is more difficult. However, before we can begin to release stress, we must be aware that we are actually stressed. Now maybe the above work scenario doesn't match your current thoughts or feelings because you actually enjoy the work week starting. For you, diving into work maybe stress relieving. If that is the case, are you able to identify the scenario or situation that causes you to experience the physical sensations listed in the table above? Once we have taken a moment to identify the situation and the sensations experienced, we can move on to the next step.
One of my favorite scenes in the series A Different World is the "Relax, Relate, Release!" and I have included here for your viewing pleasure. As the therapist said here, "Pick up the needle off that broken record and sing a new song, honey!"
Today I am going to give you a freebie that I have done with my clients to help them sing a new song. We are going to learn together a new and different way to approach stress management. We'll call them The Three Rs (and sorry to disappoint but these will be 3 different Rs from that iconic scene).
Remove: You want to remove the stressor and/or remove yourself from the stressor.
Reduce: You want to reduce the influence of the stressor over your life.
Re-educate: You want to retrain or re-educate both your brain and your body's response. This way your buttons aren't pushed every single time you encounter the stressor.
Admittedly, this may be more difficult to do as there may be times, we simply cannot remove the stressor or remove ourselves from the stressor (i.e., we have to actually go in to work Monday). However, there are strategies we can try to help reduce the stress. Here are a few below:
Use positive self talk
Take a bubble bath or warm shower
Listen to your favorite music
Draw or paint
Take a walk
Sing out loud
Spend time in nature
Cook or bake
Play with a young child
Funny or inspirational movie
Spend time with your pet
Hang with a good friend
Go for bike ride
Count backward from 100
Put together a puzzle
Read a good book
Visualize a peaceful place
Print this blog post and circle the strategies that you currently use. But also put a star by the strategies you may not have thought of previously but would like to try out over the next week.
I hope you have found this freebie helpful! Please feel free to share which strategies you will use this week in the comments below. Wherever you are on this journey, do not worry about getting it perfect; just get it going. If you would like to schedule a session to help keep you accountable for your implementing these stress management strategies or if you would like to enroll in the stress management bundle where we share more strategies to help you with stress management, click here.
Take care of yourselves. Until next time. Happy reading.
"There are two ways of meeting difficulties. You alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them." ~Phyllis Bottome
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