Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Stretched Thin? Five Ways To Reduce Stress

There are certain things that you just can't put a price on. For me, one of those things is my health. I am one of the *those* people who stresses out and the result is that my health goes to pot.

Currently, I am juggling about 5 projects. Some things at work, some personal stuff, and also some side projects that I do in order to bring in extra money. I am not complaining, but simply writing this post to encourage those of you out there who are work-a-holics also, to give yourselves permission to say no.

This past week I got a call from my mother letting me know that one of her friends had a computer that needed to be fixed and I could fix it for some extra money. And after some consideration, I gave myself permission to say no. I just knew in that moment that I had way too many commitments already and this would just put me right over the top when it comes to stress.

Money isn't everything; Indeed, when you are sick as a result of stress, it isn't much at all. So I said no, comfortable that the small amount of money that I would get from that job is not worth the amount of free time and added stress that it would cause.

So, this brings me to 5 things I do to relieve stress which are helping me stay on my "work extra, pay off debt sooner" track:

1. Give yourself permission to vent. It might be a spouse, loved one, friend, co-worker. Whoever it is, allow yourself to vent during stressful periods. Its only complaining if you do it every day. Once in a while, everyone is entitled to a little venting.

2. Exercise. Do it. It forces you to spend time not doing something stressful and also is great for your body in terms of releasing toxins and endorphins :)

3. Clean up. If you're like me, the tendancy is to let clutter pile up and not clean for a while when life gets busy. But when the clutter becomes ridiculous, it can be a source of stress. Keep up on cleaning to keep your stress level low.

4. Give yourself a treat. Whether its food or a fun program or a small purchase as a splurge, if you are working a ton and making good progress, small splurges are a way to keep you motivated and not angry.

5. Take 1 day off per week. That means no work at all for an entire day. Obviously, this might be balanced if you work 7 days a week during the summer and then not at all in the winter.

But for me, yardwork/housework don't count here - but the idea is to give your mind/body a break. This will make you more productive during the other six days and hopefully make you happier while you are working. If you don't take this day off, this means you will be working for at least 13 days in a row. This will make small stress seem like huge stress. And for me, its not worth it.

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