Have a less stressful new year: How to keep your cool in these 9 stressful situations

January 1, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

As a new year dawns, so do strong intentions about starting out on the right foot. The end of another year always brings up memories and thought — some that make you smile and others that remind you of stressful times.

Resolve to let the little things go, and focus instead on light and love with family and friends. Keep your cool, and remember the patience and grace of God. His wisdom is revealed in everyday situations.

Have a less stressful year, even in the situations you feel you need to put up with and push through:

1. Rambunctious Little Ones

Patience and perspective are key to remaining calm, and remember: your little ones are wide-eyed with wonder at the world. Stick to your “no,” but don’t say this only because of inconvenience. Be open to “yes,” and keep reading and reaching out to others for support.

When you feel your patience thinning, take a deep breath. Let go of the small things, and embrace the little details of a child’s wonder. Their minds are developing, and they will test your boundaries.

2. Decluttering

Clutter affects your ability to focus, and when you’re dealing with a family’s worth of clutter, that’s chaos for your sanity. Leading a simplistic lifestyle places you closer to God and helps you focus on family and the values that matter.

Make the process as simple as possible. Make a golden rule or two for decluttering:

  • Give yourself five minutes daily. Pick one task or more, and commit five minutes to it. Then, let it go.
  • Load up one trash bag, whether it’s garbage or donations. That’s it!
  • Give away one item daily. Repurpose items and practice good will unto others.

3. Cranky Commutes

Traffic jams and congested roads will make even the perkiest person experience a dip in positivity. Road rage is stressful and dangerous, with over 250 fatalities a year linked with aggressive driving alone. Slow down, especially on Fridays, which has the highest rate of road rage accidents reported.

When someone cuts you off, it’s natural to become reactive, but before you become aggressive, stop and breathe. Inject calm into your cranky commutes. Focus on your immediate surroundings and what’s within your direct control. Practice safe and defensive driving. Listen to calming music. Breathe deeply.

4.  Making Time

You wake up only to fall back into bed, on the busiest of days. Life is made of rushing and measured time. There are never enough seconds on the clock to accomplish all you need to do.

Or, is there? Where do you find time leaking out? Do you spend too much time watching television or scrolling through social media?

Hack your productivity to work smarter and find time where you least expected it. Strive to make important tasks habits. Spread big tasks over days, weeks or more, because it’s okay to do less to achieve more. Use time “wasted” to gain valuable experience and quality moments with loved ones.

5. Finding “Me Time”

When you imagine the entirety of your to do list, “me time” is never written down. It’s hard to imagine when you’ll ever get to something so luxurious. Taking time for yourself is not vain or selfish. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your friends, family or God.

In fact, you love everyone so much you need to take the best care of yourself to be of service to others and to be happy in this life. Find “me time” by learning to say “no” more when you feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to graciously decline or to reschedule. Take breaks between exhausting activities, and sleep and eat properly.

6. Money Worries

Money is a super stressor, but it’s important to stay on top of finances for a secure future. It’s normal for couples to have arguments about financial decisions, also. Stress is the worst of the money worry equation. Once you dissolve that, you increase your resolve to challenge financial concerns.

Focus on financial goals instead. Contact your local banker for help, and don’t be afraid to reach out to community support systems. Budget apps, such as Mint, may be helpful to track your spending and manage debt.

7. Aggressive Colleagues

Some people have a way of getting under your skin, and personalities will clash. Some individuals make their priority climbing the career ladder, to the detriment of their personal lives and the feelings of others.

When a colleague is aggressive with you, it isn’t always intentional. Try to remain open to their perspective, and practice active listening by repeating back what you’ve heard as you understand it. Listen to thoughtfully respond, not to reply. When all else fails, turn the situation over to HR or walk away.

8. Troubled Sleep

Excess stress contributes to hyperarousal, leading to troubled sleep and insomnia. The quality of your sleep affects your ability to focus and be productive during the day. It may also raise your risk factors for cardiac disease and other health concerns.

Achieve restful sleep by getting to the root of stress, through talking to a supportive friend or church leader. Write in a journal before bed, and explore all that you’re grateful for. Going to bed and waking up at a set time will also help regulate your body’s clock.

9. Heightened Anxiety

Whether you suffer from an anxiety disorder or a situation is causing elevated anxiety levels, meditative and mindful exercises will help you remain calm. Anxiety affects multiple areas of life, and your heart rate increases. Bring it down by breathing in and out on the count of three, taking walks in nature, or other relaxing exercises.

People say: “God never gives you more than you can handle.” There’s truth in this saying, but it doesn’t mean you need to suffer with this unnecessary stress in your life.

The stressful situations mentioned above are common in daily life, and each day is a learning opportunity for your personal and spiritual growth. Every day presents an opportunity for you to find God’s wisdom. Let love in, instead of stress.

– cross walk

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