Combatting Stress – Step 2 – Know yourself and your habits

As an individual, you know what makes you feel frustrated, what can cause an itching frenzy, what makes you feel satisfied and like you’ve achieved something, what makes you feel calm, happy etc. So that in mind, it is really important that we carry out daily life thinking about what is best for us. Avoiding the negative situations by making use of more optimal methods to get things done.

Now this applies to many things. For example, here are a few of my habits. When I feel frustrated and stessed because of mounting piles of work/demands from life I itch. My nails go straight to my neck and it begins….Frustration makes me itchy so it is something best avoided. I know getting a task completed makes me feel better, like ticking things off and feeling like I’ve been productive. I know that routine is good for me, I need structure otherwise I waste time. A habit of mine is to put things of thinking I have so much time…bad move, that leads to frustration at having so much to do last minute that the itching frenzy ensues. Another habit is saying I want to do something positive (i.e. learn to meditate) but never getting around to actually making it happen.

Now with this in mind, I am now trying to organise myself around me as an individual. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another so it is really important we personalise our stress management and organisation in my case around us. Think about what it is you need.

I know me and I know I need organisation, this is key to reducing my stress levels. I also know that distractions are my downfall. I procastinate, I keep my phone on loud, Facebook open….I sit there ‘studying’ for an entire afternoon and in the aftermath I look at my progress and think wait…I’ve only written a paragraph?! That then makes work a negative as it appears to take forever, I stress about how long I will need to spend on it and it puts me off even more. But really I only got a paragraph done because my concentration wasn’t there, I played a quick game of Candy Crush (how embarassing to admit but yes I am kind of addicted!) when I was stuck, I had a quick glance at Facebook which turned into 15 minutes of profile stalking and I went and made a cup of tea for 10 mins out of boredom. I then sent a few messages, checked my email, my whatsapp and the list goes on.

So to feel less stressed, for me, I know that shorter work session spread throughout the day/week/month depending on what it is suit me better. An hour of solid work where I know I can catch up on Vampire Diaries straight after sounds better than an afternoon reading books last minute. Spreading out a big task into smaller ones makes me more productive so I need to cater to myself to make myself more effective. When its last minute, the stress of ‘oh god I’m running out of time’ means that I am so busy worrying about how much I have to do in so little time that I do even less work! If I know after an hour, I can stop and do something else or have a break I work more knowing I won’t be sat doing the same thing for hours. If I just set an evening aside to work, I feel downhearted so end up letting myself procastinate during the course of well most of the evening so it is best not to. But I also know that sometimes I need to work for hours, perhaps a project is taking longer than I thought so I need to invest more time, so what do I do? I get myself to the library, sit in the quiet zone and for some reason, the library environment makes me super productive!

 

So what about adding things into my schedule. What sometimes tends to happen is I get set a huge assignment and I think I won’t have time for anything else. I take out my ‘me’ time to sit unproductively ‘working’ when really I’m faffing around wasting the time completely. Not enjoying it but not really doing anything. This then reduces me doing things which will help reduce my stress like attend a yoga class, a meditation class, catch up with an old friend etc. which could easily be factored in if I worked well. I.e. I could do an hour of work, attend yoga and do another hour instead of thinking no I need to concentrate on my work. Changing my thinking/method is vital. What I’m doing doesn’t work so it needs to change hence my step 1 of getting organised. knowing myself I know organisation is important. I know I need to factor in time to work, socialise and spend some quality time by myself as well as my day to day appointments etc because I have a habit of wasting time not doing anything because I don’t organise my time around what works for me. I set unachievable expectations for myself (like getting an essay written in one afternoon) which lead to me feeling worse because I haven’t got it done, this then means I cross of positive things like socialising to get the work done. So smaller, manageable goals are what work better for me.

The key is knowing yourself and your habits. What is it you want? What is it that is stopping you getting there? Think about it and work around it. There are so many ways to do things that you have to find the method that suits you.

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