Deal With Stress

How to Deal With the Stress of Trying to Do it All

Stressed-out-momWe live in a “do-it-yourself” age. When you’re trying to deal with stress, though, trying to do it all can do you in. I am not simply talking about the stress of trying to balance a job, keeping a home going and raising a family. That’s plenty as it is. But even with all that, if we are not careful, we can pick up the idea that no matter how much we are doing, it will never be enough.

Home improvement DIY shows are full of ideas of things we can do to fix up our homes, our lawns, or our lives. But just because we can doesn’t mean we must, or if we don’t have a talent for it, that we even should. At least, not all at once, or all by ourselves.

Find your own talents.

You can certainly learn the skills to sew, bake your own bread, hang wall paper, or retile your bathroom floor. The question is whether or not you want to. Competing with co-workers, friends or family members who wave their skills at you is an easy trap to fall into if you want to belong. If you love or excel in skills you can share, then absolutely, wow them with your blue ribbon brownies, or whatever it is you do best.

If you have no interest, however, in baking, quilting, or whatever the people around your office do in their spare time, that does not mean you have failed somewhere. Trying to fit in by doing everything someone else does is a sure fire way to cause yourself more stress. You can be generous with your praise for what other people do, without feeling the need to do the same.

Negotiate for your precious free time.

Our families love us, but that doesn’t mean they won’t expect us to drop everything and sew a costume at the last minute, bake cookies for tomorrow’s bake sale, or be the extra pair of hands for some project in the garage. You may not mind. After all, helping each other is part of what family life is all about. But stress can build quickly if you are the only one doing the helping part.

If your own time is limited, don’t be afraid to wheel and deal. Okay, you might say, I’ll make the costume, help with the science project, or hold the car engine, but then I need you to do something as well. DIY can also be a family affair. Working as a team is much more fun, and with luck, makes the project go faster.

For everything there is a season.

DIY can be fun, and give you a great sense of accomplishment. But if your project takes longer than a weekend, don’t be afraid to set other things aside. Give your full attention to being a builder, plumber, or landscaper for a while, and let your kids cook or order out. If visitors come to the door and your house is a mess, so be it. You have plaster on your hands to prove your goals are somewhere else for the day.

Some other day, when your home improvement is done, there will be time to explore new things you want to learn and do. There’s no need to do it all at once.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, hire a pro.

We always hear how much money we’ll save if we do everything ourselves, but if you know you don’t have the skills, and don’t really want to learn them, hire the job out to a professional. Most of us can do simple repairs, but we’re not all meant to be plumbers or electricians, and it could be dangerous for us to try.

In her marvelous book, Never Done: A History of American Housework, author Susan Strasser describes how the “labor saving devices” of the 20th century took some of the hard labor out of housework, but also created the myth that the happy housewife should do everything herself. In the process, it also put a lot of housekeepers and laundresses out of work.

In our enlightened age, we have turned the tables so much that we feel guilty if we pay anything to anyone that we might possibly bungle up nicely ourselves. Don’t fall into the trap. You don’t have to bring home the bacon, cook it, and serve it on your handmade table with the needlepoint chairs. If you do love needlepoint, fine. Let someone else cook.

We cause ourselves stress when our lives are off balance. Trying to do everything, all at once, will throw you out of balance fast. Remove some of your stress, relax, and do the things you’re good at, and the things you love.

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Further reading:

Strasser, Susan, Never Done: A History of American Housework, Macmillan Publishers, 2013.

Deal With Stress

Feeling Stressed-Out? Let Your Higher Self Do The Work!

pressureWhat do you do when you are feeling stressed-out and you aren’t sure what to do? For example, when you have bills that you don’t know if you can pay, a relationship in which you feel repeatedly disrespected and undervalued, a health crisis in which doctors and other experts are giving you conflicting advice, or a work crisis that you don’t know how to solve?

Do you put your head down, plow ahead, and push through no matter how much stress builds up? Do you throw your hands up in the air and give up? Do feel exhausted and depleted by having yet another thing piled on top of all the other things you don’t know how you’ll handle? In this article, I’ll describe a simple technique that can help you find solutions to any stressful situation or problem you face.

Let’s begin with a simple concept. What you see as real and possible for you in any situation is determined by your current perspective in that situation—the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that you are currently engaged in. Now, some of these you are aware of, but most of your perspective is below your conscious awareness.

Think of yourself as having three parts: conscious, subconscious, and super-conscious. The conscious part of you is what you are aware of at any given moment. Your subconscious holds memories of your past experiences as well as all the programming necessary to run your life without you having to be conscious of these things. This includes DNA instructions for all the physiological processes in your body as well as habitual routines that you use to get through life such as: how to breathe, chew your food, brush your teeth, drive to work, and accomplish your repetitive daily tasks. Your subconscious takes care of all this for you, so you don’t have to spend energy thinking about it.

Now, what about your super-conscious—what is this and what does it do?

Think of your super-conscious as that part of you that is connected to everything else and to your Source. Some call it your Higher Self or just Inner Guidance. It’s that part of you that takes in the whole field around you and calculates what is best for you at any given moment. Your Higher Self knows things like “right action” and “perfect timing” because it senses everything at once-much more than you can consciously be aware of and process.

It’s this part of you that you can tap into when you feel stuck or stressed-out. You can do this through what’s called “Conscious Priming.”

Conscious Priming is when you ask a question or assign a task to your super-conscious and then let it go to work for you, while you go about the rest of your day. You then find that a solution pops into your mind, or you see something that sparks an insight, or you meet someone who has your answer.
I’ve found three very effective ways to use Conscious Priming:

1. At the end of my morning meditation practice, when I am nice and relaxed, I pose a question to my super-conscious, then I pay attention to anything that comes into my awareness throughout the day.

2. Before exercising, I work on a project or ask a question, then notice what comes into my mind as I exercise. Exercising stimulates new neural connections. I often get great writing ideas or problem solutions while I exercise.

3. Right before bed, I consider the situation I feel stuck in or stressed about. Then, I let it go and give it over to my super-conscious mind. I will sometimes dream of a solution or have one with me when I wake up in the morning.

I encourage you to experiment with Conscious Priming and see what works best for you. I’d love to hear some of the ways you tap into your super-conscious guidance in the Comments below.