Overwhelming family responsibilities. Work. Concerns about finances and the economy. STRESS!
Stress is a part of life. We all experience it. But stress is reaching epidemic proportions and it's costing us billions every year!
Stress can be positive, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges.
75% of adults experience moderate to high levels of stress daily and, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 80% of our medical expenditures are stress-related. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Left untreated, chronic stress can lead to a lifetime of emotional disorders.
Stress affects a person's health, weight, sleep, brain, and mood. When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control and consequently produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. This can actually damage your organs and your brain cells!
One of the reasons cited for stress is the feeling of disorganization. Being disorganized is caused by a myriad of reasons including poor time management, cluttered environments, and procrastination.
Following are some ideas on how to reduce the disorganization in your life and, therefore, your stress levels:
De-Stress Your Morning Your morning routine sets the stage for the rest of your day. If your morning is stressful, you'll tend to carry that stress throughout your day. Use these easy steps to create peaceful, organized mornings:
Organize Your Items - know where everything that you need to get out the door in the morning is (keys, backpacks, lunch money, etc.)
Arrange Your Clothing the Night Before - The simple act of selecting your clothes the night before can literally cut your morning stress by ½. No more last-minute ironing or surprises of a rip or stain on clothing!
Don't Wake Up to Chores - Set the coffee maker, prepare lunches, take out the trash, do the dishes. Doing this the night before allows you the time to focus on getting ready and out the door in the morning.
Make a List - Write down your goals / to-do lists the night before and prioritize that list. Acknowledge the differences between "shoulds" and "musts" on your list!
Manage Your Time - Allow extra time for your commute so you're not rushing into the office at the last minute.
Following these simple steps will afford you the opportunity to start each day on a positive, stress-free note!
Clear the Clutter! Clearing your external environment of unused and unwanted clutter and sorting through the accumulated mess around you will psychologically help you attain a healthier lifestyle and live a happier life.
There are two simple steps for clearing the clutter: 1. Stop acquiring things! 2. Organize what you do have. Break organization projects into small, manageable goals Begin each project with a plan of action Prepare supplies for that project - boxes, trash bags Work in one room at a time. Moving rooms makes you lose focus. Make separate locations in that room for the following categories: Keep, Donate, Move (to another room), or Trash/Recycle Ask yourself, Do I Use This? Do I Need This? Do I Like This? What's the Worst That Can Happen if I Don't Have This? Spend no more than 5-10 seconds on each item determining what category it goes in. More than that and you'll begin "personalizing" each item and talk yourself into keeping it. Once each project is complete, celebrate your success!
When you have an organized home, the rest of your life comes into order as well!
Managing Your Time - And Your Stress Level Each week we are given the gift of 168 hours. 1/3 of this time is for sleep 1/3 of this time is for work 1/3 of this time is for everything else (meal preparation, doctors appointments, soccer practice, housework, time for hobbies, etc.). Interestingly enough ½ of our "everything else" time is spent watching TV!
We live in a perceived time of Time Poverty, which is one of the leading causes of stress. We need to reevaluate where our time is best spent. Most often, Time Poverty is caused by not being able to say that one word....NO! Remember, if you don't decide how you want to spend your time, someone else will.
Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can't, taking care of yourself, and making time for rest and relaxation. With a few changes to your routine, you can begin your journey to a healthy, low-stress world!
Jolynn Haven and Lynette Reynolds
Used by permission from the AYS May Newsletter. Lynette will be our featured speaker at the August Lunch & Learn