Blog 7: Life can be stressful – so my top 5 tools for dealing with it!
The four weeks since my last blog have passed in a blur of stress; work stress and the heart-breaking stress of dealing with my dearest Mama and the painful journey she has been through with her battle against cancer.
To help me through the worst moments I am blessed with an amazing support network - primarily Mr B, but also close friends who have been there to listen and encourage me, to brighten my day with flowers and to wipe my tears when it all gets a little too much of a load to bear. “Thank you” are insufficient words to express how grateful I am.
I have also had the assistance of a truly wonderful lady – Lisa LaFleur – a life-coach who has helped me to deal with the stress in a practical, sensible manner. She has listened without judgment and she has given me coping strategies which I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am indebted to her for her love and kindness.
These are her tips for dealing with stress not mine, I just wanted to share them with you:
And BREATHE (and eat comfort food) – that’s my tip!!
So, when life gets too much to bear and you feel overwhelmed with the stress of dealing with minor and major issues, what can you do? You can turn to the gin (good idea but not long term. Eh?!) You can open the fridge door and eat (again, great idea but not long term, eh?)
Or you can turn to proven methods for dealing with stress and this is where Lisa came into my life. We have been friends for some time now and the fact that she lives in Boston Ma. USA, does not impact on our friendship. We met up again this last summer and shared lunches and cocktails and our dreams for the future, our goals in life. She inspired me to write this blog and to continue to write my novel (more of that another time!) and in September back in the UK, I signed up to her 90-day course; “From stressed to refreshed in 90 days” – people it was worth every single dollar/penny/cent call it what you will and here are her top tips for dealing with the stresses of life:
1. AVOID: Now you might think – how can I avoid stress? It comes to us in many formats during the day – little stress, big stress – we live in a stress-filled world – how do I avoid it? Well to be honest, most of the time you can’t but if you think about it – in certain circumstances – you actually can!
A. With Mama: it is impossible to avoid the need for a difficult operation to remove cancer. It is tough on the emotions of the person dealing with their circumstances, the emotions of my dear father who suddenly feels completely helpless and my own emotions of fear of the future and fear of having to take control of situations I am suddenly faced with.
B. With work: here’s where you actually can try to avoid stress - the to-do list can sometimes be overwhelming – so –
Prioritise the list
Make it more manageable
Avoid unnecessary stress (i.e. getting involved in matter that are outside your remit)
Say “NO” to taking on too much
2. ALTER: Maybe you cannot avoid it and if that is the case then you have to alter it – you have to change the way you look at it and deal with it. So, with Mama it was a case of adapting my view of the stress; taking time to be with her and share happy memories, our time together in Menorca, our visit to Cape Cod with BFF, being grateful for a life well lived. But this tip I find particularly helpful in the work environment – it includes:
Changing how I communicate at work and being assertive but not aggressive.
Expressing my needs in an open and respectful way
Ensuring a work-life balance that ensures I have time off, time to myself to evaluate the day, the experience. To re-frame it and find a measure of positive thinking about what has happened.
3. ADAPT: This essentially means – I am trying very hard to do my best – I am not perfect, and I cannot expect perfection from myself – I have to be “ok” with the circumstances I find myself in. Hard as that might be! And finally………
4. ACCEPT: I have to accept the fact that my dearest Mama is 86 years old and is unwell. She will recover but she will never be the same again. I have to accept that I cannot change this situation. I have to accept that work is stressful; large organisations do not necessarily have good organisations and dealing with people who will not take responsibility for their actions is frustrating.
5. And BREATHE! Take time out! Go for a walk! Meet a friend for lunch! Show gratitude for the blessings in life and eat comfort food if all else fails
Thank you for listening!