Stress Management


When I first started teaching time management, one of the biggest needs was how to cope with the deluge of email. Now we have more email than ever plus other means of communication coming at us. Professionals may regularly also receive texts, Outlook Lync messages, conversations in Facebook groups and LinkedIn messages that they need to respond to. One of my master’s degree students lamented that she counted 24 ways people sent her information!

Here are seven ways to manage the information overload.

  1. Keep a clean email inbox by setting up folders for people or projects
  2. Create email rules for any sender that you can immediately put into a folder
  3. Use Outlook’s Clutter feature. Remember to look in Clutter daily to make sure nothing important has been sent to the Clutter box.
  4. Delete unneeded email every day.
  5. Minimize using “reply to all.” The more people you send to, the more email you’ll get back.
  6. Set parameters for what you’ll accept via text, if anything. Keep it to very brief and urgent messages.
  7. Determine a regular time to check other less-used platforms such as LinkedIn or work Facebook groups; once a day should be enough.

Managing your communication is easier when you’re clear about your goals and priorities. If you find yourself uncertain about how to prioritize your messages, take time out to reassess your immediate and long range goals.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn

Category : Goal setting and achievement | Stress Management | Uncategorized | Blog

It’s just days before Christmas. Can you believe it? I can’t. If you’re done with all of your shopping, your house was fully decorated the day after Thanksgiving, you have your menu planned, and you’re completely relaxed about the holidays, congratulations.

Most of us, the holidays bring some stress. For me, September through November is the busiest time of the whole year for me in my work. November goes by like a rocket, at the end of which I’m mentally exhausted. Then I suddenly realize that Christmas is less than two weeks away and I’ve done nothing. I’ve become an expert at holiday speed prep. Here are seven tips to minimize the holiday stress.

1. Remember it’s about love, family and community 

The best present you can give is your love and friendship. Pick thoughtful gifts that the person will truly enjoy, not just any gift. You’ll know what these are for the people you’re closest to. For people you feel obligated to gift, stock up on generic gifts you can give to nearly anyone. Candles, coffee, or gourmet hot chocolate mixes are great options.

2. Assess your decorating needs
Decorating the house inside and out is a job. Ask yourself, who are you doing it for? You have no obligation to hang lights and put out the illuminated reindeer. I love that my husband does this for me because it makes me happy when I drive up after a long day at work. I decorate the inside of the house for our daughter because it makes her happy. But I cut back this year on how much I decorated. I did just enough.

3. Consider giving hand-made gifts and homemade food
These are often more appreciated than store bought gifts. Steve and I make blackberry jam from the jungle of bushes on our property. We make it in August, store it, and bring it out at the holiday. It’s easy, and people love getting a jar of the jam. Last year our daughter made us each handmade framed notes of what she appreciated about each of us. We’ll cherish those for the rest of our lives. Use any talent you have to make a simple gift that can be created in advance of the holiday season.

4. Use an artificial tree
Ditch the ritual of cutting your own tree, hauling it home, having it dry out, and getting rid of it. We literally can walk to two tree farms and we changed to an artificial tree 10 years ago. It’s much faster, it looks good, and you just store it after the holiday. Reduced stress is more important than the smell of a live tree or a trip through the rain and mud to cut one down.

5. Shop online
The internet is the best thing that ever happened to reduce holiday stress. Amazon has everything, and anything can be ordered online. You can do ALL of your shopping this way. To ensure delivery by Christmas, order more than two weeks out.

6. Set a budget and stick to it
Reduce financial anxiety by deciding how much you can afford to spend in advance. Include all the expenses besides just the gifts themselves: greeting cards, stamps, wrapping paper, and food if you’re entertaining. These other things can really add up. This year, track all of these expenses so you can better manage them next year.

7. Set a reminder in November to start getting your act together
We’re all busy people. We put everything else on our calendars. Put the tasks for the holiday on your calendar too. I’m doing this next year. The best way to reduce stress is to not be crunched for time in the first place.

Remember, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to open your heart and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Happy holidays to all of you!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn

Category : Stress Management | Blog

Stress is a serious issue, and chronic stress can have damaging effects on your physical health.  In an extended challenging economy, many people are dealing with long term stress in the work place and the demands of home.

The body doesn’t distinguish between psychological stress and physical threats. Our biology interprets it all as a “fight or flight” situation.    It doesn’t know that instead of a saber-toothed tiger chasing you, your car blew a tire on the way to pick up your child at daycare. Our body goes into “red alert” mode whenever it thinks it’s under attack.

Most people know that stress can lead to high blood pressure or stroke. But did you know that it suppresses your immune system? Stress can lead to sleep problems, infertility, diabetes, weight gain, and accelerated aging. That’s right. You get fat and wrinkled faster! Take that for motivation to manage your stress!

Sometimes major life changes are needed to tackle stress. But you can take daily steps to manage your stress level. Most of these tips take just a few minutes. Paying attention is the key. You are not invulnerable, and you deserve to live a better, less stressful life.

Listen to your favorite music. Music is a great stress-reliever. Listen in the car or at home at a time that you get to choose the music.

Hug someone. Hug your spouse, your significant other, your kid, or your pet. Physical contact makes us happier and reduces stress.

Breathe deeply and stretch for a few minutes. Making yourself take several deep breaths at your desk will relax you.

Take a parking lot minute. If you drive to work, take one minute before you go into the building to just sit quietly. Close your eyes and empty your mind. Take a few deep breaths and you’ll feel relaxed and ready to go.

Take mini breaks. This is especially important for those of you who work through lunch and power through the whole day without taking a breath. Stand up and walk around just for a few minutes. Have a “parking lot minute” at your desk. Give yourself time to recharge.

Remember to laugh. Kids laugh all the time. As adults we laugh a whole lot less. What a shame. It feels good to laugh! Watch short funny videos on YouTube, watch a funny movie at home, subscribe to a joke of the day, find humor in small things.

Have manageable to-do lists. It’s stressful to look at a daily to-do list that’s impossible to get done. Prioritize your list and make sure you have a list you can actually get done in a day.

Eat healthy. You knew this had to be on the list. Limit the refined sugar and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Have berries at breakfast. Eat fresh leafy vegetables at lunch and dinner.  Start by committing to do just one thing, like eliminating an afternoon sugar snack.

Get some movement. Walk, get outside. Movement makes your body and mind feel better.

Maintain a calm sleeping environment. Make your bedroom a serene place. Take out the TV and leave your cell phone in another room. Get to bed early enough or get up late enough so you’re getting enough sleep. Fatigue leads to more stress.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn

Category : Stress Management | Blog