I work a lot with clients on stress management. When I tell potential clients that part of the work we can do is stress management, they envision sitting in a quiet room with their eyes closed, breathing deeply and slowly.
That’s a lovely image, but NOT what I do.
Stress management is about planning around your actual life. It’s looking honestly at what makes you crazy and trying to mitigate that, or at least reduce it. Does putting dinner on the table 5 weeknights a week fill you with anxiety or dread? Order in. Do you feel like there are a million items on your to-do list? Write out every single one. And now delegate what you can. Do you have unexpected child care issues pop up frequently? Create a call list of nearby parents who can take your kid in a pinch (and don’t forget to return the favor occasionally).
Our problems become insurmountable while they are abstract. When solidified and looked at critically, there’s often a simple solution. It might not be your first choice and it may feel like a big compromise, but your health is worth that.
Often clients are very surprised when I tell them to stock up on frozen meals and menus. But the truth is that there are healthy ways to eat on the run and the time spent shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning might be better used elsewhere occasionally. Sometimes I suggest grocery delivery, sometimes I suggest running 2 miles instead of 5, sometimes I hint that they may really need more childcare. We can’t do everything all of the time. We must pick and choose our highest priorities and spend our energy there. It’s fluid and always a learning process, but stress management, at least to me, is getting help when and where it’s needed.