Written by Erin Stalcup for World Education
Stress has been showing up unexpectedly for more and more people lately and a lot of us are having a hard time figuring out how to maintain our normal lives with all this newfound or increased stress. Getting things done whether at home, work or school is suddenly really difficult for some people and they can’t quite figure out why or how to fix it.
Here are some tips to help keep motivated during stressful times:
- Have a dedicated workspace and keep it clean. Whether you are at home or at the office, having a place that is ‘just for work’ not only lets others know you are busy when you’re there, but it helps put your mind into ‘work mode’ and allows you to stay more focused on the tasks at hand.
- Create attainable goals and write them down. Don’t load yourself up with lofty goals you want to achieve ‘some day’. Keep your goals small. Make a list. Set goals for the hour, day, week - whatever fits your schedule best. Those small steps will eventually lead to the larger ones and they will help give you a feeling of accomplishment as you complete them.
- Take breaks. Sometimes you can get caught up in what you are doing and forget to do those important things like drinking water, taking bathroom breaks, and blinking. Remember, breaks will help you stay more focused in the long run. Rest your eyes - look away from your computer screen for 20 seconds. Stretch - stand up from your work area and stretch your neck, shoulders, back and legs. Get some fresh air - whether you have time to go on a quick walk or just stand outside for a few minutes, fresh air is always a good way to refresh and recenter. And for the love of everything please remember to stay hydrated and empty your bladder!
- Breathe and relax. Breathing is important. When we are stressed, we tend to tense our body and not breathe as deeply as we normally would. If you find yourself feeling tense, make a conscious effort to relax your body. Start at your head and work your way all the down to your toes. Take slow, deep breaths in and out as you relax each part of your body - your forehead, your eyes, cheeks, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms and fingers, back, hips, legs and toes. Keep breathing deeply. Try not to think about anything but your breathing for whatever amount of time you have to do so. This is a great technique to help relieve some of that stress-induced tension you don’t even realize you are carrying around.
- Set boundaries. Managing stress is very dependent upon what is surrounding you. If you are surrounded by people who are angry or anxious or paranoid - guess what? That’s going to rub off on you and cause you to feel the same way. While you may or may not be able to avoid these people, you can set boundaries. Ask them to not talk to you about their latest conspiracy theory or death toll of whatever event happened recently. The more negativity you can avoid, the better.
- It’s all about perspective. When something bad happens, others always seem to follow, right? That’s how it always seems to go when you’re having a bad day. Why do you think that is? No, you aren’t just that unlucky person that terrible things always happen to - you are only looking for the bad. When times are stressful, staying positive is the best way to combat the blues. Find little things to enjoy. Remember the bigger picture. Focus on what you can control. It’s not always easy, but it's worth it to train your brain to think positively.