How to manage stress? Good question. I’ve spent a good part of my summer rethinking and reorganizing my schedule and all the other things going on in my life so that I can calm down and be less stressed out. I have no tolerance for stress. I repeat, NO tolerance. Nada! Stress is the number one thing that impacts everyone in sooo many different ways, and sometimes we don’t even notice it. For example, I usually get canker sores in my mouth almost every week. The cause? Stress. Who knew? My dentist can’t even explain it but he blames it on stress!
One basic solution is to distance yourself from work from time to time to realign yourself. However, when you’re self-employed like me and don’t always have a regular 9-5 job, it’s a bit trickier. Let me explain. I had a phone that I used for both personal and business calls, so everything got mixed up together. There were no boundaries so I went cray-cray because I was getting business calls and work emails at all hours of the day.
It’s not only people who work 70 hours a week that burn out. Everyone can have problems managing stress. In my case, the stress built up over time and the lack of boundaries was throwing me into an emotional craze.
One day I said, ENOUGH! Some solutions came to mind but I Googled them first to make sure I was perfectly normal. Why? Because the Internet’s always right! Right? To my surprise, many people were using these same stress management tactics below to tackle the problem.
1. The email addiction
I discovered I had an email addiction. What made it worse was the push notification. I had no clue it was a bad thing. I mean, for someone like me who has poor stress management , it’s a bad thing. It also doesn’t help that I have 4 email accounts. One for personal emails, one for real estate work, one for acting and one for my blog. When the push notification is on, emails are popping up all day long. Just the image of that little red icon on my screen disturbs me.
The first thought I have when I get an email is WHO IS IT FROM? And of course, I let my curiosity win. So, if you’re like me and spend most of your time checking your emails and worrying about who sent it, try a different approach. Don’t respond to every single email right way. Instead, learn how to prioritize your time. Focus on your most important tasks and tackle those ones first.
Also, switch to manual push notifications. Now the only way for me to see new emails is to refresh the page in my email app. Life becomes less stressful!! Let me tell you, what a relief. It’s awesome because now I set my own schedule. I check my emails 3 times per day; late morning (your morning routine is way more crucial than checking your emails first thing in the morning), late afternoon, and in the evening. After 7pm, that’s it. Out of sight, out of the mind!
2. Manage your phone
When you feel like throwing your phone away as far as possible, that’s when you know you have a serious problem. At some point, I was telling everyone to leave me the fuck alone! Okay, I wish I had said that… but it was only a thought in my head. I have phone phobia, maybe you have it too. I just don’t like answering calls so when I get one, I feel like, I don’t know, like it’s an intrusion. My close friends and family have told me numerous times that when I answer the phone I sound really depressed or like I just woke up. I don’t like receiving phone calls. Call me a cavewoman, it’s okay, but apparently I’m not alone, and that’s when drawing a line in the sand starts to make our lives better. Here’s some helpful tips:
- Silent ringtone: Put your ringtone on silent or on vibration if you prefer. The sound of your phone’s ringtone can mess up your focus and productivity. Your work is going to take that much longer to complete if you keep answering every single call whenever the phone rings.
- Callback hours: You can’t just ignore everyone who’s calling you, especially if it’s related to work. The solution is to tell yourself to only answer your phone between certain hours of the day. This can help reduce stress. I decided to establish “callback” hours; If I miss a phone call, I will wait to return the call until my next “callback” period so that I’m not overwhelmed with thinking, “I have to return this call now! What am I going to say?”, etc… I wait until the next “callback” period to listen to the voicemail and return the call. This way, I can focus on what’s important in the moment. My callback hours are late morning and late afternoon. If it’s an emergency or you know there’s an important call coming in soon, of course you should answer it but otherwise, the other calls can wait. I’ve learned that returning a phone call can wait. There’s no rush. You can also mention your callback hours in your voicemail like I do. This way people will know in advance that callbacks won’t be coming in the next 2 minutes.
- Get a work phone: I recently decided to get a second phone. Now I have one for personal use and one for work. I took this decision a few weeks ago while I was out having fun with friends. Out of the blue a potential client called me and it was annoying. After the call ended, I spent the rest of my free time wondering about how this stuff was impacting my off-hours. I was more stressed out about the thought of being disturbed during my free time than I was during work hours. So I’ve created some distance from any work-related calls on my off-hours by having a separate work phone. It’s helping me to balance things out in the early mornings, evenings and during my days off. I turn on my work phone during business hours and then I turn it off at the end of the day.
3. Make time for yourself
This is crucial because it’s when you allow yourself to pause for a moment, turn everything off (or just put your phone away) and give yourself some relaxation time. It can be as simple as taking a bath, reading a book, meditating, journaling, pampering yourself or going to the spa. Since June, I’ve been going to the spa every month and you feel so good and relaxed after a day at the spa. And you know what’s the best part about going to the spa? The fact that there’s no phone service and no one can bother you (haha!). So peaceful!
And what about you guys? How do you manage stress? Are you using these same tactics?
Let me know if you have any other helpful ways of managing your stress.
I love this romper because it’s so light and comfortable to wear. I bought it at the beginning of summer (I know, I’m late). With its boho vibe, I paired this romper with my fringe crossbody bag that I bought in Austin, Texas two years ago.
Photographer: Katerine Photoartiste
Romper: Dynamite / Shoes: Aldo / Crossbody bag: The Gypsy Wagon Austin