Usually when you’re stressed, it’s hard to see a way out.
I know myself, when I’ve been stressed, I tend to dart from task to task with no sequence or planning. As a result, I remain swamped and overwhelmed, as I only ever complete imminent tasks and neglect longer term projects that would make life easier.
I also look stressed: Usually I have lint stuck to my clothes and one of my eyes twitch. I kind of start to look more like a mangey cat than a human.
Physically, my left shoulder starts to ache; I forget to drink water, so I end up with a headache; and I sometimes forget to breathe.
Despite barely tolerating stress, I tend to repeat some classic mistakes, which perpetuate stress.
However, this year I decided to change the way I approach stressful times. I was motivated in particular by a series of 3 parking fines within the space of two weeks – my stress was costing me serious money!
With the aim of reducing stress, I have made a few simple changes without overhauling my lifestyle. After all, I do not want to be stressed over reducing stress!
My top 3 tips for reducing stress
Tip 1: Become a pro at cutting corners. I’m a perfectionist as heart, so I’ve really struggled with this one. However, I can honestly say, I’ve mastered the art of cutting corners. Before embarking on any task, I ask myself – what’s the quickest way I could complete this task to achieve the desired outcome? While completing a task, I also check-in with myself to make sure I’m not indulging in perfectionistic time-wasters! For example, I stop myself from re-reading/editing emails, as I know a “perfectly” written email is not going to change the outcome.
Tip 2: Create strict boundaries. I’m a workaholic, so this one has presented a HUGE challenge for me! However, I now live by the following simple rule: No emails/work in non-work hours. I based this rule on two important findings: 1) I never felt properly rested when I would check my phone while “relaxing”, and 2) ALL work-related things can wait unless you’re a doctor ‘on call’. So, now when I’m relaxing, I genuinely enjoy my time and feel rejuvenated.
I have also created strict boundaries around my role as a mother, psychologist and practice owner. That is, when someone or something arises that is beyond the scope of my role, I defer the task to the right person (even if that means asking someone to research and problem solve their own issue).
Tip 3: Invest smartly in yourself to yield the best Return On Investment (ROI). Analyse where your strengths lie and invest your time here. Whilst investing in your strengths, outsource or delegate your weaknesses. While delegating or outsourcing sounds fairly easy, it actually can be very challenging to “let go” of tasks you’ve been doing for years. However, the initial anxiety “pang” will far outweigh the rewards of being freed up to better spend your precious time.
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help with stress?
We are a team of Melbourne-based psychologists who are well-trained and experienced in helping individuals manage and overcome stress, including work stress and family stress. Our therapists utilise therapies proven by research to reduce stress, including Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based therapies. Call us today to be professionally matched to a psychologist who suits your needs.