“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”

~ Lou Holtz

Stress sucks, and most of us are feeling it more often these days. Myself included. When we’re in the thick of it, we tell ourselves, “I’m too busy to deal with it.” Then, we sling all that stress over our shoulder and carry on despite how heavy it is. I’m not sure that’s the best strategy.

With the busyness of work, and the craziness of life, holidays ramping up, (not to mention trying to process everything that is going on in the world), a bit of overwhelm is to be expected, but that doesn’t mean we should just white-knuckle our way through it.

Lately, I’ve had to remind myself of some of the worthwhile stress management tips I present about, so I thought I would also share them with you, just in case you’re in the same boat.

Watch the video below for 6 quick tips, or read the transcript that follows, and let me know what your favourite stress management strategies are.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately. Or maybe I’ve just been feeling it because of the state of the world. Hey, Michelle Cederberg here, trying not to get too stressed about what’s going on around us all, and wanting to share a few stress management tips for you. Perhaps reminders, because we do have control over some of the stress that is falling on us. And if we don’t have control over the stress, we certainly have control over our mind and body to get through it. So here we go.

6 Quick Stress Management Tips

Number one, do not ignore your distress. When life gets tough and your stress mount, it’s not okay for you to just go through life saying, “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine.” Don’t ignore it. Acknowledge it, and then listen to what your body and mind need, even if it’s self-care in small steps.

Number two, will help you with that. This is one of my favorite stress management tactics. When life starts to bear down on you, H.A.L.T. and ask yourself, “Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?” It’s a great reminder because sometimes stress can mount because we’ve forgotten to eat. Sometimes stress can mount because we’re holding a resentment or we have some conflict with somebody that we need to work through. Sometimes we can be feeling the stress or emotional distress because we haven’t been spending time around people that we love. We’re spending too much time in isolation. That’s not uncommon right now. And, the big one, stress can also mount when we’re fatigued. Pay attention to those four. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. And in small steps, nurture each of those areas so that you can manage to cope better with all the things that are coming your way.

Recognize what you can change. Many 12-step programs have the serenity prayer, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” You do not need to be in a 12-step program to recognize the wisdom in those statements. If we could just simply stop and ask ourselves, “Is this thing that I’m obsessing about something that I can control? Is it any of my business? Is it something that I need to just push aside? If I can’t change it, why am I letting it stress me?” It’s a simple one. Not always easy, but a good reminder.

Take care of your health. You know me, I’m all about move, eat, sleep and hydrate better, in small steps. We need to take care of the physical machinery, because this is our stress management machine. When we sleep, our body repairs itself from the stress of the day, when we exercise our mental health has improved, when we hydrate, we’ve got more energy. When we eat healthy, we’re going to have better emotional stability, and we’re going to feel better about ourselves. It seems simple, but we’re not doing that as much as we should during COVID. So take care of your health. And through all of this time… We’re 21 months into the pandemic. We should be… We could be saying to ourselves, “I should have all the answers by now,” but COVID keeps moving the finish line. And so if it’s still not easy for you, if it’s still not okay, especially now, it’s okay to ask for help. We don’t know where the end of this pandemic finish line is going to be. And so, nurture yourself, give yourself what you need to stay healthy and resilient.

And the last one is a simple one. Remember to breathe. When stress mounts, and you don’t have time for any other stress management tactics, just give your brain and body oxygen. Our body knows how to breathe, yes, but because of that, we’ll often just breathe in the upper third of our lungs and we’re not giving ourselves deep cleansing breaths of oxygen. Slow it down, breathe in for four to six seconds, breathe out for four to six seconds. Box breathing, you breathe in for four seconds, you hold for four seconds, you breathe out for four seconds, you hold for four seconds and you keep repeating that. It’s a nice little meditative way to give your brain and body oxygen.

I was thinking about stress, maybe feeling a little bit stressed, so I had to check in with my own stress management tactics, and I thought I would share them with you. Until next time. I’m Michelle Cederberg, reminding you we’ve got one chance to do this life. I say Dare To Live It Big and dare to check in with yourself with a little bit of self-care and stress management during these crazy times.

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Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc

Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.