How to Avoid Burnout from Daily Hassles and Stress
Finishing up work. You feel desperate to get to something good. You’ve had non-stop projects for weeks. You’ve been taking zoom calls back to back. You walk inside and right away your spouse is on you about dinner.
You blow up.
That was a little hassle, right?
Your spouse wanted to talk about dinner… Why did it get such a big response?
Your cortisol levels were already up. You were holding on to ten little things before you were up against that one. You didn’t stand a chance.
The effects of stress on your body change the way you act. Have you ever done something completely unlike yourself and later blamed stress? The causes of stress are important to consider so that you can minimize them. However, those daily hassles are going to come for you no matter what. Ready or not, stress is coming.
What you can change is how you react to them. You can equip yourself so you aren’t coming into the house ready to blow. This takes practice of course. Blowing up is pretty easy. Just ask my four-year-old. But now that we are adults we can practice rolling with the daily hassles.
Let’s come up with a plan for being the kind of person who locks their keys in the car and doesn’t sit there with their blood boiling.
Take Back Your Control in Daily Hassles and Stress
When we stress, the cortisol levels in our bodies change. Cortisol levels can rise 10-15 percent when we agonize over something small. This is small compared to a major life stressor, but when we are being hit over and over again, it has a cumulative effect.
When we are constantly being hit with the daily hassles and carrying them around with us all day, we carry elevated cortisol levels into every conversation. That feeling like you are going to blow, is well into the flight or fight stage.
You walk into conversations armed and ready to battle. Of course, you aren’t going to throw that out for your boss. Lucky for your family… they will probably see the effects when you dump it all out at the end of the day.
To the tips!
1 - Slow Down
Running from one thing to the next gives you no time to mindfully put the stressors down. The next seven tips are not going to work if you don’t slow down to do them. I know what you are thinking, there is no way I can slow down.
Yes, there is. You should try it. When you take breaks in the workday you actually become more productive. When you give yourself time to destress, you don’t have to spend all night trying to make up with your spouse after that blow up. Check out our post on 15 Minute Stress Reducing Activities.
If you start your day like a bullet, try setting that alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. This gives you a reason to slow down as you start your day.
When your day gets wild, relax in a Farm Brand hoodie. Put your hood up and take a minute for yourself instead of trying to tackle the daily hassles back to back.
2 - Do More Of What You Love
How many times have you blown up right after snowboarding? Remember that feeling of a bad day and just wanting to get to something good? We know what we want and when we don’t get to do the things we love, every little thing seems like one more roadblock.
Those tiny things seem huge when they are stopping us from doing what we want. If you give yourself the time to do what you love, you will be happier, calmer, and more ready for life’s daily hassles.
3 - Write it Down
When that little thing comes up, it brings an emotion with it. Identifying when those little hassles have triggered an emotion is the first step in controlling the emotion. Writing down the little stressor and the emotion helps you to take that moment to understand yourself. Understanding yourself and your triggers will help you develop your plan for stress management.
Writing something down also helps you to let go of it. Put that message in a bottle and sail it away.
4 - Compare the Past
Of course, being mindful is about living in the present. However, our current state of burnout could really benefit from our past experiences. Take your daily hassles and compare them to a big stressor that has happened in the past. Take a moment to remember how that stressor passed, and this one will too.
5 - Think About the Future
Yep, we are also going to gain some perspective from our future selves. Ask yourself will this matter a year from now? Stay focused on what matters by recognizing what lasts.
6 - Give Yourself a Time Limit
If you absolutely must care about that little thing. Give yourself a time limit. Let yourself fuss and figure things out for ten minutes and after that, we're letting it go. This forces you to find a solution quickly and move on.
7 - Sleep Routine
Have you ever had three days of very little sleep and then had an awesome day? Not likely. If you aren't getting enough sleep every night, you are setting yourself up to fail. To tackle these daily stressors with grace you need samurai strength. You don’t stand a chance if you don’t even have human strength from getting at least 7 hours of sleep.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and show up in the morning with your A-game. Sleep affects everything you do in a day. Work smart by getting enough sleep.
8 - Leave White Space on the Calendar
When you take care of your mental health, the little things don’t bother you as much. When you're walking around with a full plate of food, of course that little piece of bread on top is going to make the whole thing fall.
Leave space on your plate for the daily hassles. Leave space in your mind to deal with the little stressors. Leave space on your calendar for you.
When you do too much, those small things become big things. When your mind is crowded you get annoyed when something new butts its way in. It’s like sitting on a bench and a person sits down next to you. That’s fine unless there were already four people on the bench.
Life is the Little Things
Life is a series of little things. Some are good, some are bad. Some are funny if you’ve had enough sleep. The little things are what makeup life so if you can put yourself in the right mindset with these tips, you may even find yourself celebrating the little things.
Maybe you forgot your wallet and you are at the store. If you are well equipped to handle this little stressor, you can walk out of that store empty-handed, smiling. Take a minute to celebrate that you're human and congratulate yourself for not carrying that little stressor with you all the way home.
Written by Nicole Ellis
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