Previous articles of mine in this Voice of Experience column have dealt with certain aspects of stress and its management. Some of them may very well be repeated, here and in future columns. This is all to the good, since repetition of important points throughout our lives gradually gets the message across! There have been times when I’m sure there were bruises on my forehead from hitting the same brick wall over and over again, until I finally learned my lesson!
Our body usually tells us, loud and clear, when it’s stressed, and here are some of the most common signs: headaches, tightness in the neck, loss of appetite, excessive eating, pounding heartbeat, forgetfulness, depression, loss of self-confidence, trouble sleeping, feeling keyed up, feeling preoccupied, anger, hostility and quarreling.
And here are a few simple suggestions you can work on, right away, to help disable the stress before it disables you:
•Choose a small space, preferably near your telephone, to place all the important things—keys, notes, phone numbers, etc.—saves the stress of looking for them!
•Make lists, including the things you have to do, groceries needed, people you need to see—the less you rely on your memory, the more relaxed you’ll be.
•Get enough sleep—if you often get caught up watching a late movie, set the kitchen timer to remind you when bedtime rolls around.
•Make duplicates of your keys—a car key in the house, a house key in your car, or hidden safely outside.
•Be ready for an emergency—candles, a flashlight that works.
•Use your calendar—appointments, visitors, holidays. First thing in the morning, strike off yesterday.
•Delegate—you don’t have to do everything yourself.
•Wear earplugs if it’s the only way you can get quietude. And earphones for the person in your home who watches a TV program you can’t stand!
•Organize the day with yourself in mind—remember that you are the most important person in your life (no matter what your spouse has to say!). Value yourself.
•Take breaks. For some reason, now that I’m 80, my limitless fund of energy seems to have become limited! Taking breaks may mean that it takes longer to do something, but I’m not wiped when it’s finished.
There are many more suggestions regarding stress relief, but space here is limited. Take a look at your life and lifestyle, with an eye to how you might be less stressed by the little things—they often cause more stress than the big ones. Bring as much serenity as you can into your days. Relax and enjoy the life you have.