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Handling four everyday stressors busy people face

Handling four everyday stressors busy people face

Remember when you used to go out for a drive just for fun? I can’t even remember the last time I was out just to drive. Last night, as I rushed home to catch my little man before his bedtime, I found myself gripping the steering wheel tightly and running various calculations in my head on how to pass the car in front of me on a busy one-lane street. A couple of unexpected delays had me clenching my jaw and sighing at everything coming my way for over three hours up to that point. Naturally, when I arrived home, my wife suggested that I take a moment to calm down before attempting anything else.

We often hear about the negative effects of stress on our physical and mental health, but the advice we receive can often feel vague. I did some digging and compiled four common stressors along with suggestions on how to deal with them, hoping to help us all slow down our breathing, relax our jaw muscles, and wear that gentle smile more often. Before we begin, please keep in mind that these are my personal opinions and not professional advice.

Health or diet-related stress
Feeling pressured to avoid certain foods, worrying about weight, and trying different diets to achieve results. Do these challenges familiar to you? Most of us have dealt with such issues before, and with the prevalence of social media, we now have examples of perfect bodies displayed by seemingly very happy individuals indulging in junk food. This is a tough one but here is what I find helpful for me. I try to set realistic goals, seize opportunities, and strive for balance. I designate one day of the week to treat myself to that junk snack I really enjoy. If I’m craving something late at night, I promise myself something more indulgent the next day instead. On days when I can’t commit to a 30-minute strenuous workout, I simply jump and hop with my little man. Any movement is better than none. At the end of the day, I find working toward and celebrating small victories comforting. Do they make a significant physical difference? Maybe not, but they do reduce my stress and put my mind at ease, and that’s what matters.

Work-related stress
Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work and never having enough time in a day to tackle it all. Does this sound familiar?  I have found a few things that help me lower work-related stress. Improving time management skills and staying well-organized by spending a few minutes each morning planning my day helps me navigate it more smoothly, often ending with a greater sense of contentment. Another successful strategy for reducing work-related stress has been learning when and how to delegate tasks. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and once you do, the delegated tasks should no longer be a concern for you. You must be able to free up your mind space. However, things don’t always go as planned. Before I start my workday, I take a 15-minute walk and remind myself that some things will go wrong, remain unfinished, or not turn out as expected. This helps me mentally prepare to respond to unexpected challenges throughout the day in a healthier manner. Besides, if you think about it, without setbacks, failures, and problems, the successes we enjoy would lack meaning.

At times, everything, even enjoyable tasks such as planning an outing with friends, can feel burdensome. I find myself in this state when I obsess over the length of my to-do list or attempt to multitask. Take it from a computer person: multitasking doesn’t work. Focus on one task at a time and complete it. You’ll find that accomplishing two tasks fully is much more satisfying than leaving six tasks halfway done. As for feeling overwhelmed by the accumulation of responsibilities, know when to say “no” and ask for help when needed. I also find that spending one hour each week solely focused on planning and organizing my responsibilities helps me relax. I actually have this as a recurring event on my calendar. Knowing that there is dedicated time to consider the big picture helps me focus on what I can handle at any given moment and prevents me from feeling overwhelmed.

When things don’t go as expected, it can be upsetting. Sometimes, we become defensive and critical of ourselves or others, further fueling negative thoughts. However, upon reflecting on these situations later, I often find that they aren’t as dire as they initially seemed. Changing the frame of thought helps extract value from every event, whether it meets or falls short of expectations. Setting realistic expectations, viewing failures as stepping stones, and making an effort to remain calm and kind translate into better results and a better version of yourself.

For me, reducing stress boils down to two critical elements: acceptance and the ability to let go. The sooner I can accept the fact that I’ll be home late and not dwell on it, the sooner I can find peace with external forces that are often beyond my control. Join me as we prioritize finding serenity in everyday moments. There is only one “you,” and the effort is so worth it.

– Burak Sarac, Team Lead

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