Reduce Holiday Stress by Setting Boundaries

Set Boundaries to Cut Down on Stress this Season

Stress Express; Family FightingThere's no question that the holidays can bring out the best and the worst in people, particularly families.  There's so much pressure to decorate, get the right gifts, prepare for visitors, cook and clean and handle excited children, all on top of work.

So how do you reduce holiday stress?  Set boundaries and say no more often.

• if you're hosting an event at your home, ask those coming to bring a dish or a beverage.  Be specific and clear about what you want.  Don't try to do it all.

Limit sugar intake yourself and for your children.  Sugar just adds another layer of craziness to the stress.

Say no when asked to attend an extra event or make a batch of cookies.  Take care of yourself first.

Ask for help- from your partner, your children, etc.  Ask them to help decorate, clean up, do the laundry, etc. at this busy time of year.

Avoid familial conflict.  If two family members always fight during festivities, speak to them in advance and ask them to avoid each other or be kind.  Tell them if they can't, then they are not welcome in your home.  If they start trouble, they will be asked to leave.  Make it clear your home is a "no fighting" zone.

The holidays can be joyful and meaningful times to celebrate faith, love and hope.  Take care of yourself and reduce your holiday stress by setting boundaries that support you and your peace of mind.

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Could Ecotherapy (Being in Nature) Relieve Your Stress?

Nature:  Free and Easy Cure to Anxiety and Depression

Did you know that most Americans suffer from nature deficit disorder?  A typical American spends 80-90% of their time indoors- and sadly too much of that time is spent sitting.  The more time people spend inside, the more anxious an depressed they get.  The solution is simple and free: spend time outside in nature.   Doing so can:

• Cut anxiety and depression

• Boost feelings of well-being

• Improve your health and reduce blood pressire

• Increase your social interaction with others

• Improve your breathing and intake of Vitamin D if you spend 20 minutes in the sun

Gardeners have long understood this, as having your hands in soil relieves stress and connects you to the earth.  Doing so helps you get out of your head and your worries, and enables you to focus on the present- one of the keys to being happier.

David Strayer, a psychologist at the University of Utah, takes students out in nature  to reconnect with their creative problem-solving and mental clarity.  With so many distractions and constant technological stimulation, our brains get tired and don't function as clearly as they should.  His backpacking group of Outward Bound participants did 50 percent better on creative problem-solving after only three days in the wilderness.1

So the next time you are feeling down or overwhelmed, get outside in nature.  Just 20 minutes can revive your body, mind and spirit.

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  1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/07/13/ecotherapy.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20170713Z1_UCM&et_cid=DM150364&et_rid=2078706039

Are You So Busy That Nothing Gets Done?

"Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to." Rob Bell

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!Too Busy for Life?

My next book is on women and overwhelm, and I find that in general, with the digital world being on 24/7, we have so much more to do.  And less time to do it.  And than results in major stress and burnout.  I know what it feels like to have worked hard for 8 hours and wonder at the end of the day, what did I get done?  Here are a few cures:

The Solution to Busyness

Do a Data Dump In the course Managing Accelerated Productivity, I learned how to do a data dump. Write down everything you have to get done in every area of your life.  The list is usually several pages. Afterwards, organize it into categories: Urgent, Important, Someday Maybe, Next Week, Next Month, etc. And then schedule each item in your calendar. The Someday/Maybe need not be scheduled, but write it somewhere so your mind won't have to carry it around. (Evernote is a great app for this.) )It  helpa to actually write it all out and then highlight it in your favorite colored marker when you have assigned a time and date to it. Your little kid inside loves that!

Evaluate your calendar Are you too busy because you want to be? Are there things you should be saying no to?  How much of your day is driving your kids to activities or wasted in meaningless meetings? Take back your time.

• Use  smarts tools  Kanbanflow®, Sanebox® and other software can help with your time management, email and overwhelm. Try different apps and strategies to save yourself time.

Accept the Inevitable We will never get it all done because there is not enough time in the day and because we want a good quality of life. Life balance is important. Realize some tasks are less meaningful and just won't happen. And that's ok. Delegate, decide not to do and enjoy your life.

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Stressed about Money? Focus on this…

As the new year starts. many of us are looking at holiday bills and worrying about money. Anxiety and stress about money can cause anxiety attacks, sleepless nights and depression.

As the new year starts. many of us are looking at holiday bills and worrying about money.  Anxiety and stress about money can cause anxiety attacks, sleepless nights and depression.

Stressed about Money?So what's the solution?

Focus on gratitude!
The next time you start feeling poor or experiencing lack, pull out paper and pen or use your cellphone and make a list of everything in your life that you are grateful for.  Include the fact that you have access to clean water, clothing, shelter, food, friends, healthcare, etc.  Those are all luxuries to a large portion of the world.

You will notice that as you do this, your stress abates.  It may even disappear.

There's a simple reason for this. What you focus on manifests, and when you focus on lack or scarcity, yu create more of that.  But when you focus on abundance and gratitude, you attract in more to be grateful for.

And if you've done this exercise several times and are still super-stressed, go volunteer at a soup kitchen, or work with the homeless.  Your perspective will change, I guarantee it.

 

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Energy Drains Create Stress; Try This Instead

Stressed woman pulling her hair
Are you out of energy and stressed?

All of us are subject to various energy drains from time to time. Review the list below to determine which eare sapping your vitality and positive outlook. The good news is you can change your behavior and your actions to support yourself and your energy.

Negative people. You are the result of the 5 people you spend the most time with. They impact your energy levels. Avoid complainers, Debbie Downers and bad news mongers.

Incompletions. Projects you have left 1/2 finished, books half read, newspapers and magazines opened but not finished. All of those are sapping your energy. Here's what to do about it: http://firedupnow.com/could-your-incompletions-be-stressing-you-out/

Lack of sleep. You need 7 hours a night or you are at a cognitive disadvantage.

Sugar Check the research out yourself- sugar is terrible for you and contributes to cancer, diabetes, weight gain and so much more. That candy bar you eat at 2:00 will crash you at 3:00. Avoid it and boost your energy.

Dehydration- 40% of North Americans are dehydrated. Drink 10-12 glasses
of pure water a day, more if you drink soda, coffee or tea. A 5% drop in hydration means a 25% drop in energy.

Sitting and lethargy Many people are now sitting for over 9 hours a day.
(Which is why I am writing this from my stand up desk!) Get up every hour and move around, Get exercise every day. Walk frequently, take the stairs.
For more on sitting, go here: http://firedupnow.com/why-sitting-is-so-bad-for-you/

You make the choices as to who to spend time with, what to put in your body and how much to move. You can be energetic and Fired Up! starting now.

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©2016, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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Is Lack of Boundaries Stressing You Out?

You Must Set Limits on Your Time and Energy

Stress Express; Family FightingMary's mother demanded enormous amounts of her time, even though she was perfectly healthy.  Instead of declining all the requested visits, Mary spent way too much time with her mother, ignoring her job, husband and health.  She ended up sick and could not work. She desperately needed boundaries.

I often see very bright, accomplished professionals who are completely overwhelmed by the demands on their lives- especially women.  With high pressure jobs, families, friends, volunteer work and aging parents, most of these folks are so stressed they are close to their breaking point.  How can this be fixed?  By setting healthy boundaries.

How to Set Boundaries:

• Start valuing your own time.  Before you commit to anything, personal or professional, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I want to do this?
2. Am I capable of doing this?
3. Is it the highest and best use of my time?
4. What do I have to give up to do this?
5. What happens if I don't say yes?
6. Will this stress me out further?

• Learn to say NO.  When yet another volunteer opportunity comes your way, say "I appreciate your thinking of me.,  I only want to give you my best effort, and right now, I can't.  May I recommend.... for this?"

Value Your Own Need for Downtime  You cannot be effective at your job, at home, as a parent, partner or friend if you are burnt-out. Play time, quiet time, nap time, meditation time- all of these give your brain critically needed detoxification.  Furthermore, you are more likely to come up with new creative solutions when you step away from the work and relax.

Set boundaries and don't allow others to take advantage of you- you will be much happier and less stressed

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Overwhelmed? How to Regain Focus

Do You Have Cognitive Overload?

"Information overload is a symptom of our desire to not focus on what's important. It is a choice." Brian Solis

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-image5934154We receive so much data that we can barely comprehend all that is coming into our minds. Right now, you may be thinking about your next meeting, responding to a text, planning your tweets for the day and answering a call. Whew- no wonder we have information overload. Our brains are overwhelmed with all the distractions.

A recent Stanford study found that those who spend lots of time on social media, surfing the Internet and multi-tasking had poor cognitive skills. They could not distinguish well between what was important and what was trivial. "They are suckers for irrelevancy."

How to Regain  Focus:

In his book, Search Inside Yourself. Chade-Meng Tan of Google, shares some keys to regaining cognitive clarity.

Monitor what you read and how you do it- If you find your mind wandering while reading, bring your attention back to what you are doing. Keep practicing this skill.

Use active listening Have someone speak for 3 minutes and you listen, Then repeat back to the person with the preface " What you said is important. Do you mind if I repeat it back to see if I have it right?" (People LOVE this- they love to be heard.)

A few tips from me:

Do 1 thing at a time. That's it. One thing and do it well and complete it. Take satisfaction and then move on to the next one thing. Your focus will improve. Multi-tasking is terrible for your brain.

• Go tech free for a day this weekend. Lots of research show the value of this. It's like rebooting your brain.

• Get quiet and go outside in nature.  Life becomes much simpler away from the office and computer.

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Stressed? Get More Sleep

You can learn how to sleep better by takinga few simple actions.

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night's sleep.
~E. Joseph Cossman

Sleeping Well Can be a Puzzle

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!That you can put together. Most of us are sleep deprived, which can lead to all sorts of dangers to your health and the health of others (when you drive tired.)

The World Health Organization says less than 7 hours a night may cause cancer and you are likely to carry an extra 20 pounds of weight. With less than 7 hours, you are functioning at a cognitive disadvantage and are 3x more likely to get a cold or flu. Neurobiology of Aging says those who get less than 6 hours of sleep are 4 times more likely to have a stroke. Check out these practical tips to sleep well tonight!

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Turn off all computers, cellphones and screens an hour before bed. Stop looking at them. The blue light from these devices interferes with your body's ability to relax and keeps you hyper. Be sure your alarm clock is red light. Lower the temperature in the room and make sure it is cool and dark.

No electronics in your bedroom. Your bedroom is for sleeping and making love. That's it.

Get ready for bed an hour before you go to sleep. Actually get in bed 30 minutes before you want to sleep and read something uplifting on paper. (Not an electronic reader.) Reading helps relax you.

Take a hot bath with epsom salts before bed. Or get your legs wet up to your knees in warm water.

Try all natural sleep remedies at health food stores. Check with your doctor. I have used these successfully at different times- most are herbs: passion flower, valerian root, holy basil, L'theanine, calcium, magnesium, etc.

Exercise is a great sleep inducer, if you do it several hours before bedtime.

Sleep better and perform better in every area of your life!

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Here’s an Instant Stress Reliever

meditation as stress reliever from Stress ExpressStress is occurring at an alarming rate, and with our 24/7 world. more and more people are experiencing stress, anxiety, overwhelm and depression.  So what can you do, right now?

The Astonishing Power of Breath

Try this. Hold your breath for as long as you can- until it almost hurts to let it out. Unless you are a professional athlete or extreme yogi, you probably couldn't hold it for long. Without breath, the body, mind and spirit cannot function.

And yet we all forget what an incredible resource this is. Breath literally keeps us alive, fuels our interactions and enables us to function. Without it, we are severally hampered. Having had pneumonia a few years ago, I learned quickly how very debilitating lack of breath can be. We all take it for granted.

The Instant Stress Reliever: Breath

Breathe deeply at least 3 times. Put your hands on your lower belly, fill it up all the way and let it out...slowly. Do this several times to regain control and calm your system. Notice how you feel.

Use breath to monitor emotions. We are not our feelings and when our emotions take over, we are not our best selves. When experiencing anger, upset, frustration, fear, stop and breathe deeply. Visualize a positive scene in nature, perhaps mountains or beaches. Focus on that. Let go.

• Learn how to meditate. Meditation is a powerful healing agent; it:
-lowers blood pressure; increases circulation
- improves immune function and memory
-shortens hospital stays
-decreases insomnia
- helps relieve stress, ADHD
-helps reverse heart disease

There are many different ways to meditate. Here's one:

Start with the deep breathing above and focus on the breath. If thoughts come up, observe them, let them drift by like leaves in the wind. Picture a beautiful nature scene in a forest, visualize a waterfall. Imagine you are standing in the gentle waterfall and let all your worries and fears wash away. Practice this over and over until you can meditate for at least 10 minutes. It can make a huge difference in your well-being.

You can control your stress rather than having it control you.  Try deep breathing as a solution.  It's fast, easy and free!

 

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The Most Important Thing to Do Today

Is Not Necessarily What Your Boss Wants You to Do

Setting priorities in today's world can be challenging.  All of us have so many demands on us and managing multiple priorities can be like juggling with  boxing gloves on- something's sure to fall.

The place to start is with meaning.  What is most important to you in your life? Is it taking care of your family?  Making more money? Prestige? Being the top of your field? Showing your wife or husband that you love them?  Getting a new promotion? Being there for your kids since your parents were not there for you?  What drives you?

If it is taking care of your family, then it may well mean doing what your boss wants you to get done first and foremost, so long as you can leave work on time to get to your son's baseball game.  If you want to be the top in your field, you are going to have to work harder than others, study more, advance yourself and spend a good deal of time away from home.  Is that Ok with you?

Quint & Snow LRSMWe recently took time off from work to visit my brother and his family for my nephew's high school graduation.  It was a lot of driving (16 hours) but it was worth it.  That's him with me in the photo.  It was meaningful for me to be there.

The critical element here is you and your joy and purpose.  Know what gives you meaning.  Know what drives you.  And then prioritize your day to fulfill that meaning. Otherwise, you will burn out and not be good to anyone.

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