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Stressed out? – Have your Sources of Joy at hand

Keep in mind that it's you who rules your stress - and not the other way around.

Even being extremely mindful about our life balance and wellbeing, there might be times where feeling stressed out or feeling overwhelmed is inevitable.

It’s hardly realistic to aim for a state of being where nothing pushes us off track and where we feel balanced and relaxed all the time.

You can’t take risks or new ventures without feeling nervous or stressed. These feelings are a sure sign you’re leaving your comfort zone and you’re willing to risk and grow. How wonderful.

We just need to know when enough is enough. We need to know our own limits, which differ for everyone.

Easier said than done, right?

But here are some tips to guide you and help you regain your power over the situation. Tested and approved.

#1 Pay attention to the level and duration of stress

A couple of stressful days and late working nights won’t throw you off track.

But if this situation continues for a longer period and if you start to cancel one dinner after the other and the only interaction you have with your sports club is paying the monthly fee, then it’s time to press pause.

There’s no rule of thumb how long to sustain stress and when to press pause but one good indicator is the level of guilt you experience.

Cancelling on your friends or family one or two times won’t harm anyone but if it becomes your default behaviour and week after week you feel guilty for not giving them the attention they deserve, then it’s a clear sign something is off track.

#2 You rule your stress – not the other way around

Often we feel completely overruled by stress. Powerless and without any options.

But that’s a completely false perception.

You rule your stress, not the other way around.

But you must be willing to take the driver’s seat and this takes commitment and action.

A well balanced life won’t be served to you on a silver platter and it’s not the responsibility of others to create it for you. Yes, it’s great if they facilitate it, at work or at home, but the main responsibility is with you.

#3 Know your “Sources of Joy” – and go to them

So what do I mean by this, Sources of Joy?

Well, these are simply all the people, places and activities that resource you. That fill you up with profound, effortless and unconditional joy.

How about taking 10 minutes of your time to write down your very own “Sources of Joy” list?

I promise, these 10 minutes will be well invested and will serve you as your personal First Aid Kit when things get off track and overwhelm and exhaustion kicks in.

Often, in those kinds of situations, we don’t react as fast as we could because we don’t have a clear idea of our very own sources of joy.

For me, besides reaching out to my closest friends and family, it’s going to the beach!

The ocean has something so powerful yet calming and two days at the beach make me feel like two weeks on vacation.

But for you it might be different.

Maybe you recharge best hiking in the mountains? Or you’re a city bird and recharge best with a relaxed brunch followed by a visit to the museum and a nice concert in the evening? Only you know.

But are you also aware?

So take out a pen and paper and reconnect with your personal Sources of Joy.

If you have it black on white it will be difficult to find excuses not to reach out to them.

And often it really doesn’t take much.

Seeing your options of creating joy and recharging your batteries puts you in the driver seat again.

And all you have to do now is to turn the steering wheel in the right direction.

Originally published at workinbalance.org

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- MARCUS AURELIUS

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