Thursday, April 12, 2012

What Do You Prioritise?

To continue on from the last Blog’s story ……I find it very interesting that most people still don’t think about addressing their stress until they’re experiencing serious symptoms. Some don’t even think about the need to manage their stress until they’re on the verge of burnout. Citing economic hardship, uncertain times, threatened jobs, or just busy lives, we place stress management low down on our list of priorities. We assume it is a luxury or that everything else is more important. Unfortunately! It is unfortunate because eventually an overly taxed body or an overwhelmed, worn-out psyche will force the issue.
For those few wiser among us who do not throw caution to the wind, but take proactive action to better manage their stress, the discovery is made that developing healthy stress management habits pays off in leaps and bounds! It is important to note that I’m talking here about stress management (as opposed to just relief), as stress is unavoidable and can sometimes even be beneficial – IF we know how to manage it. When we do, we experience a multitude of positive outcomes such as improved communication and relationships, increased productivity, better health and more happiness in general.

Step one in this process of effective stress management is self-care – often a step which in itself creates resistance, because to many of us, it feels selfish! However, at this point it can be helpful to remember the oft-used analogy of the oxygen mask on the plane; we have to put it on ourselves before we can be of effective use to anyone else!

I challenge you today to spend just 5 minutes thinking of and noting down 5 ways you could take better care of yourself – 5 ways that are simple enough that you can (and WILL) apply them! (It could be something simple like each time you pass a mirror or see your own reflection in a window, smile! OR take a deep breath and fully exhale before eating, OR feel appreciation for something before you get out of bed.)

There are many more steps to effective stress management, but this one is, in my experience, a fantastic start!