Stress Management in the Midst of Chaos

Yes, it is all fine and well to see the uncertain and changing environment in which we are living as brimming with possibility and opportunities, but… But some days it just feels like there are too many unknowns, or too much to do, or both. Then WHAM!!! Stress hits full, hard, square and strong.  With my own professional transition in play, I know the paralyzing or overwhelming state that STRESS can bring to a person.

In a conversation with a colleague yesterday we were talking about what we do to help get centered, exert our willpower and manage stress in our lives.  In most cases this is an indeed an act of willpower over the situation. Not a struggle for power, but simply using you will and personal agency to tap into the resources you all ready have to change the balance of things back into your favorite and regain your sense of control.

Here are our tips. I invite you to share yours with me and the other readers of this blog.

1. Do the one thing it feels as if we must absolutely must not do- slow down. Like when driving a car in hazardous conditions it is important to slow down, concentrate on what you need to do at the moment and say “No”, positively, politely and respectfully to everything else.

2. Get a change of scenery. Sometimes give moving away from the physical environment where you feel the stress the most can release enough of the stress that you free up other energy in order to attend to the tasks, thoughts or feelings you need to without getting stuck.

3. Do something physical. Take a five-minute bust a move break (my favorite) turn on a song that makes you want to move and then move. Not your style, well tear up some paper, punch a pillow, jump up and own, roll your shoulders… but do some thing to loosen up your body.

4. Breath. Not just autonomic system breathing, but really pay attention to taking air in through your nose filling in all the lung space you have and slowly blowing it out. Then do that again, and again and again, until you can feel a lightening in your body and your mind.

5. Just leave it alone, that is take a break. Whatever “it” is will still be there when you get back, but you’ll be more ready to address “it.” For the majority of us that “it” which is causing so much stress is not a real emergency the house is not literally on fire, you are not in the middle of a life saving surgery or just moments away from finding the cure for cancer. Of course if any of those are true of you, by all means carry on, then take a break.

6. Say no to the little negative voice talking to you. When that little voice inside says, you can’t do it, you got yourself into this mess… or something else negative-and we all have that little self saboteur inside – notice what it says and then let it go. If it keeps you trying to pester you, just keep noticing, let it go and remind yourself that you are a competent, capable person, and take a step forward towards what you need to do to manage your stress or get the “it” done.

7. Think about what you want to happen and meditate, pray or think on it, then talk it out. Getting clarity on what is most pressing or important is key. Talking it out with yourself or a trusted person will help to get back your realistic perspective and you can break it down into steps/parts that feel do able for you.

8. Give yourself and others a break. Forgive. Just forgive and let the negative energy drain off.

9. Go have some fun. Yes, fun. Yes, you deserve it. Besides all those neurotransmitters that are released when we have fun, well they can help get to back into gear to do what needs to be done.

10. Be courageous. Whatever “it” is, you can face.  You can do something about it. You may not be able to do it all by yourself, but you can reach out to others and reach into yourself – you might just be amazed by the resources and gifts you discover in both.


3 thoughts on “Stress Management in the Midst of Chaos

  1. Hi Deirdre, I wish I had known these strategies twenty years ago! (lol) It seems a bit counter-intuitive that by slowing down and pausing for self-nurturing behaviors we’ll get more done, and do so with higher quality, but that’s been my experience when stress bites me hard! These tips are so timely in this era of phenomenal transition for so many of us. Thank you! Ah, er, now I’ll get back to work! Denise

  2. Thank you Denise. Yes, we do live and learn, and I also wish I knew and practiced these tips earlier in my professional life. As my own professional transition continues to unfold, I am sure that I’ll be putting these tips into practice. In fact I put tips, 2, 5 and 9 into practice this past weekend.

    All my best,

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