So, Lisa emailed me last week.
She was pretty stressed out.
You don’t know Lisa (I mean, I can’t be sure of that, I’m just assuming you don’t), but I bet you can relate to her predicament.
She has a massive project going on at work, her sister is getting married next week (and her family are staying at her house in the lead up). And then, a week later, her husband’s family are arriving for the Christmas holidays. All 12 of them.
So, yeah, she’s feeling a bit stressed.
And she wanted to know what advice I had for dealing with it all.
Now, you know me, I like to be organised.
I like to project plan. I like to map out a project and break it down into little baby steps, right from the get go. Anticipating the problems and barriers, and coming up with solutions for them before I even begin. It’s how I beat that smashing-my-seventh-coffee-while-crying-in-the-corner kind of stress when I’m waist-deep in the quagmire that is achieving a goal.
Because when you’ve got a plan, and you know what baby steps to take, everything is easier.
And, here’s the good news that I shared with Lisa:
You can take the same approach with stress.
I use this handy tool called …….. a stress log!
Not log as in “cosy log cabin”, log as in “stress management recording tool”.
Not as cute sounding, sure, but effective nonetheless!
I actually learnt this tip from my fave business guru/master/friend Marie Forleo.
I’ve been using it for a while, and I think you’ll find it really helpful. Especially as the holidays approach.
Here’s how it works:
- Write down everything that’s stressing you out right now.
Good news! It’s gonna feel super cathartic doing this. And it’s gonna help make your stress more manageable. Because the moment you get clear about is actually stressing you out, you get a nice little list of problems you can solve. That’s a lot easier to deal with than the general feeling that your brain is stuck in a vague, squelchy, energy-sucking stress swamp.
Rate each problem from 1 -10.
1 being “lost your pen lid”, 10 being “shark speeding towards you with jaws open”.
Now, find a solution for each problem.
So, if one of Lisa’s problems was not knowing how to organise groceries for Christmas lunch while she’s flat out at work, she’s got options.
She could :
– Delegate it to someone else, outsource it or hire a service to do it (hello online orders!)
– Ask her boss if she could leave early one day to get it done
– Wake up at 5am one morning to get it done
– Book lunch out at a restaurant
– Turn Christmas into a day of fasting, therefore bypassing the need to get food
– Pretend she “forgot” when lunch rolls around
– or not to do it at all.
Remember, you always have options!
Note: you don’t have to like all of the options. But it helps to go a bit overboard and list everything out in your solution brainstorm.
Now, this next part is important. If you can’t outsource, delegate, quit or reschedule the task, and you can’t find any other creative solution to getting it done, ask yourself this question:
What can I change about my attitude or approach to this problem?
If you have to do this task, what’s good about doing it? In Lisa’s case, is it an opportunity to try some new recipes? Or to get to know her husbands family better?
The bottom line is, there are always gonna be things in life that we find stressful. That’s inevitable. But if we can’t find a way to mitigate the stress, we can look for ways to change the way we see it.
OK, over to you. I want to know one thing that is stressing you out right now, and 2-3 possible solutions for it.
Let me know in the comments below. Hundreds of people visit the blog every day and your solutions might really help someone else out!
Also, here is Marie’s original video about her stress log, and there’s a handy download she’s created which you can use too.
Holiday stress: managed!
PS – Speaking of holiday stress – I might be able to help with your gifting too!
I’ve got free shipping running on all my books. Just pop ELF in the discount code box and then tick the free shipping option that appears. Simple.
PPS – Just heard from the team at Interplast and there’s only about 10 spots for my fundraising adventure next year! So, if you were keen to join me as I tackle part of the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia next September, click here to get on to it!