Coping with Stress
Maybe some of us are born to handle stress better, or perhaps we’ve been exposed to better models for dealing with stress. I don’t know which is the case for me, but honestly, for as long as I can remember I have been someone that viewed stress as a challenge and a way to grow. Now, don’t get it twisted, there have been plenty of “Calgon take me away” moments in my life as I juggle being a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, and business owner. And sometimes I want just to run away and let someone else figure out all the issues while I am sipping Mai-tais on a beach somewhere. But those moments are rarer for me.
I don’t think we can ever keep work, parenting, or life in general from being stressful. Truth be told- some of my most stressful moments have shaped me into a better Speech-Language Pathologist, a better mom, and a better leader. In some of my most “white-knuckle moments,” I have come up with my most creative ideas for solving problems or for being more efficient.
One way I think I handle stress is merely recognizing when I am not the best version of myself. I have a “When Life Works List” (learned this from Andy Bailey), and I track this in an app on my phone called “Daily Goals.” It is a list of 10 things that I need to do daily to be my best self. Now, let’s be real, I don’t do all ten every day. But it is my goal to because they are the things I have identified make me feel better, think more clearly, and get more -ish done. So tracking these things helps me stay on track. But when I am not, I have these things to help me course correct.
Sometimes in those not-dealing-well moments, it feels just like survival. I have identified the things that give me a moment’s peace so I can think clearly and move forward vs. be paralyzed in the stress of a moment.
Some of those things for me are:
- Working out
- Sitting in the sauna
- Replying to emails- this makes me feel productive, while not dealing with whatever may be stressing me out.
- Taking a bath
- Calling a trusted friend and venting
- Sometimes just a good ole ugly cry
Then it is back off to the races because the critical thing to remember is -stress is completely normal, but you cannot stay in that space for long. Learning to recognize when you aren’t your best and finding ways to get back there and be kind to yourself in the process is like an oxygen mask. And you have to be willing to put your oxygen mask on first before you can be there for anyone else.