4 Key Life Skills To Reduce Stress

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Not long ago, most households were maintaining schedules (work and school), social commitments, and family time. Daily life was filled with ups and downs. Simply put, stress was a part of everyone’s reality. Then, in the beginning of 2020, stress took on a whole new meaning. 

Relatively overnight, the world quickly shut down. Schools and business industries closed their doors. Parents were home, full time with their children. While at first this was seen as a positive, over the months, families became restless and less assured of normalcy again. 

In fact, burnout has become the overall most experienced emotion felt by adults due to the pandemic. A recent report from Forbes magazine showed, “52 percent of survey respondents are experiencing burnout in 2021 – up from 43 percent pre-Covid.” To quiet down the stress of daily life, one must understand their own behavior first. 

The following four key life skills will allow you to remain more focused and determined in this ever-changing world:

Keep the stress externalized :

After a long day at the office, nothing can feel as stressful as going home to care for family or children. Cooking dinner and helping with homework can leave parents feeling worn out and mentally depleted. The only self-care they are allowing themselves is pajamas and brushing their teeth.

While this is acceptable on a short-term basis, neglecting oneself can lead to other negative behaviors and neglect in overall health. In short order, stress becomes the only factor, both mentally and physically. By keeping the stress “at the door,” staying focused on personal health and well-being become the top priority once again.

Many employers have a policy, “Leave your personal problems at the door.” No business wants an employee that cannot be focused and productive. While most have adapted to this approach, working adults often take their work problems home.

This leads to unwanted discouragement from partners or children. Instead, apply the same “policy” to your home life. Allow the disconnect from work when you arrive home. Focus on your family and down time. Tomorrow will still come. Be thankful that your biggest supporters are right at home waiting for your safe and healthy return. 

Write down your personal stress triggers:

The word stress may only be six little letters, but its impact has a way of sneaking into every aspect of your life without letting go. It cannot be seen or heard, only felt, both physically and mentally.

By the time we become adults, our personal fears and mental triggers have become well established. Subconsciously, the brain keeps track of these negative stimulants to react to future unexpected stress triggers.

Instead of trying to balance all the “emotional” balls, write them down. By visually accepting the realities of your personal anxieties, this will allow for a more focused approach to finding a positive solution instead of an emotional one.

Start with recognizable triggers. Running behind in the mornings, finding time to eat during the day, obligations to house chores, etc. Expand on those emotional stressors. 

How do they make you feel, how you normally respond and usual outcomes. After completing the list, read back over each trigger. Place yourself in “third party” mode. How would advise yourself on how to optimize each task or moment. Is there a better approach to handling these unwanted pressures. 

Conclude with how you will manage each trigger going forward. Place this list in a place you can actively review it each day.

Mastering flexibility:

Each person has their own set of fears, stressors, and comfort levels when it comes to daily life. Some people are comfortable with large groups where others feel more confident one on one. Public speaking is a breeze for various individuals, where the masses tend to shy away from that stressor when possible. In simpler terms, we are all unique. 

Without bending slightly, society could not be productive. When remaining rigid and unhearing, tempers begin to take center stage, eventually leading to undue stress. By listening to others’ ideas and opinions, this allows for a more open and honest conversation and resolution. 

Some might say that co-workers can be frustrating and unyielding. While each person has a role in the company, team spirit tends to be lower on the totem pole. Americans spend an average of eight to ten hours a day with peers in a work environment according to the Atlantic newspaper

This is a great place to practice flexibility. Instead of demanding your way, suggest working as a group to tackle the project. This leaves others feeling included and more eager to contribute.

Organizing your personal space:

When schedules are so busy and not enough time in the day to do chores or personal cares, it is time to step back. While cleaning out the spare closet might be on your to do list, focus on the rooms and spaces you use the most.

Kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, even vehicles, are all environments you spend a lot of time in and utilize. By neglecting these areas, this can cause more stress and less motivation to get it cleaned up. Instead, give each room a thorough scrub and simply maintain its cleanliness afterwards. Use the extra time to cook up a nutritious meal for your family and relax.

A clean personal space is necessary to remain focused and less distracted. If time is not on your side, keep a calendar. Each person in the family will have one. Allow children to use colorful stickers or pom poms to mark off their daily chores. 

For the adults, give yourself a small reward, such as a hot cup of coffee or a warm shower. The mind will remain focused on the goal and before you know it, the chores are done. Over time, these tasks will become habit and less stressful when needing a monthly clean. 

In Conclusion

While stress will always be a part of life, controlling its effects on you is the best defense. By remaining calm and vigilant, others will respond in trust and admiration. As American author and philosopher William James once said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”