In part one of this article series, we looked at the meanings of stress and stressors. We talked about good stress – eustress. We discussed bad stress – distress.
As we continue to address stress management for women, we turn now to practical ways you can respond appropriately to stressors in your life.
You Don’t Always Need to Control
One faulty line of thinking that makes stress management for women difficult is the idea that we must always control. Most of us want, to a great degree, to be in control of our own lives. We want to determine when and how we do things, and may resent the demands of others.
Stress management for women will be its strongest when we consciously determine to acquiesce cheerfully in matters not critical to our beliefs. Does the boss suddenly want a speech written by this afternoon? Smile! Tell the boss, “Certainly,” and explain that you will lay aside your current work and get right to it. You just turned potential “distress” (negative stress) into “eustress” (positive stress) with a smile and a few words. You gave yourself permission to change gears and tackle the speech with energy.
You Are Allowed to Say No
As observed in Part One, stress is our response to unusual demands on us. While many of those demands do not permit a “No” response, there are times when you are allowed to say no. If you determine to practice stress management for women, permit yourself to turn down invitations. Permit yourself to decline nominations.
As you exercise stress management for women, you may find that the unusual weight of some demands has been brought on by your reluctance to say no. Does your colleague want you to shoulder her work so she can take extra-long lunch breaks every day? Smile! Tell her cheerfully that when they were handing out work, they gave you a size large, and you really can’t handle anymore. You just turned potential “distress” into “eustress” with – again a smile and a few words. You allowed yourself to refuse appropriately.
You Will Be Happier with Schedules
Most stress management for women, men, or children must include schedules if it is to be successful. Schedules help you maintain more legitimate control of life.
- Schedule and maintain regular sleep hours, getting sufficient sleep each night. A well-rested body and mind are vital to our ability to respond to stressor with eustress instead of distress.
- Schedule meals, and take time for them whether you are working, shopping, or caring for children. A healthy diet is a strong practical step toward stress management for women.
- Schedule your work, and follow the schedule. This is important both in the home and in outside employment. Stress management for women who carry a heavy load gets much easier when they divide the heavy load into smaller loads. The “distress”of a mountain of laundry to be done in one day can become energizing “eustress” if you cheerfully divide the laundry over two or three days. You will energize yourself by viewing the laundry as a positive challenge.
- Schedule “out” of your life unnecessary, extracurricular activities that eat up your time. Don’t let TV make unreasonable demands on your life. Avoid the demands of long telephone conversations. If you spend too much time in such pursuits, you shorten time needed for other demands. You create your own stressors, become less productive, and negate any efforts you put into a program of stress management for women.
Time with Others Can Multiply Eustress
Good stress management for women includes the practice of conscientiously and consistently making time for others. Guilt is a major stressor for many women who work outside the home. Their response to that guilt is to become anxious, worried, and harried. Other inappropriate, negative responses often follow. Soon, distress is in control.
If you exercise stress management for women, you turn “distress” into “eustress” as you make time for those who mean the most to you. Take time to play willingly with your children. Take time to talk sincerely with your teenagers. Plan a family night, a hike, or a camping trip.
It is also important, as part of stress management for women, to make time to be alone with your spouse. Find a trustworthy babysitter, and spend an evening out. Go for a drive along the lake or into the mountains. Take a picnic to a quiet beach. You need not spend money, only time.
Make it a Habit
Make a habit exercising stress management for women, and you will also form habits that increasingly turn “distress” into “eustress” in your life.