Holly Moon, Community Engagement Coordinator

Stress is an uncomfortable feeling that happens when we feel overwhelmed. According to Psychology Today, stress can result from several different base emotions like fear or anger. We know stress is not good for our social or emotional well-being, but it is important to understand that stress also impacts your physical health. Stress can lead to serious, long-term health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, chronic pain, a weakened immune system, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. So, how do we manage stress? 

Here at Frameworks, we teach social and emotional learning. In short, this means we provide youth and adults with tools to help manage their emotions, so their emotions do not manage them. In that spirit, I will share some tools that I use to manage stress effectively.

Keep your email inbox clean

The worst thing you can do in the name of “organization” is to use your inbox as your task list. Once you receive an email, answer it. If you cannot answer it just then, make a note and archive the email. Having an inbox full of emails only serves to make a person more stressed. If you’re worried about organizing all your email follow-ups, use a priority quadrant. I fill out and edit my priority quadrant weekly. Knowing what I need to get done first fuels my daily task list and streamlines my productivity.

Stick to your routine

This one is a tough one. Like a person on a diet who wants to reward him- or herself with cake for eating well or finds comfort in junk food on a bad day, it is really easy to shirk regular responsibility when you have extra work on your plate. I am guilty of both these things. I have found that when I don’t do the laundry, or I skip a day of running that I only feel worse because I have to play catch-up. Therefore, I think the best thing you can do for yourself in a stressful time is to keep on keeping on. Eventually, the extra workload will recede, and you’ll be able to resume normalcy that much sooner.

NEVER eat lunch at your desk

I never used to take a lunch – I was always eating and working at the same time. Now, I am fortunate enough to live so close to work that I go home for lunch every day. This usually consists of a turkey sandwich, petting my dogs, watching NCIS, or playing the piano. You don’t have to go home to do this, but I do recommend leaving your workspace. This may mean hitting up the break room or going for a walk but taking 30 minutes in the middle of your day for yourself does wonders for your stress levels. I also make a point to time this out as well as possible. I know that I typically hit my slump around 2 pm, so if I take my lunch at 1:30, I am ready to jump back in by 2.

Follow the one-minute rule

I probably saw this on Buzzfeed for the first time, and I completely fell in love with the idea. The one-minute rule demands that if a task takes less than a minute, just do it. When you can change your frame of mind about your tasks, it is a lot easier to get them completed. It is often the small stuff that gets us because it piles up so quickly. The one-minute rule allows for no excuses when it comes to the small stuff.  If it takes less than a minute, just do it!

Find time to laugh

There have been several times the past couple of weeks where my coworkers have made me laugh until my sides hurt. It is because of them and that laughter that my days have been filled with joy and have not been characterized by my stress.  There is always time for a good laugh with good people.  On that note and in conclusion, please enjoy a variation of a video I watched yesterday of dogs eating with human hands: