3 Ways to Combat Stress and Achieve Balance

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By Kirsten Blakemore Edwards (@KirstenBeMe), MA CPCC, Consultant at Partners In Leadership

One thing we know for certain is that life equals change. Despite our best efforts to find stability, life’s curve balls just keep coming–and often at warp speed! How do you find balance when there’s so little time in the day to take a step back and get your bearings?

People react in different ways to the whirlwind of life. Some respond by trying to control everything around them, including the spaces in which they live and work, the events, and even their coworkers, friends, and family members. Others feel like victims of their own circumstances. With a “poor me” attitude, they blame others or just try to grind it out, hoping that someday things get easier. However, these approaches result in feelings of helplessness and inadequacy. The more we look outside ourselves for the balance we so desperately seek, the less likely we are to find it.

Achieving balance comes from within, and you have the power to tap into it. Balance is a mindset born from personal accountability. It’s an active decision you make every day to rise above one’s circumstance and demonstrate the ownership necessary to achieving results. Taking accountability for how you act and think allows you to see things differently and, ultimately, experience more satisfaction from the best parts of your life.

What steps can you can take to become more accountable, manage daily stress, and support balance?

1. Recognize that you are part of your life’s design. Even if it’s over those first peaceful sips of coffee before the chaos begins, start each day by reflecting on the aspects of your life for which you are most grateful. By taking stock of the many gifts you have–whether it’s your family, your career, your health, or all of the above–you see the challenges of the day from a new and better perspective. Likewise, when you hit bumps in the road, choose to see them as learning experiences rather than obstacles or failures.

In other words, don’t let the events of the day dictate your mood. It’s up to you to decide how you’re going to feel about what happens to you, whether you see yourself as a victim or constantly look for solutions.

2. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. It’s a well-known fact that exercise alleviates stress. But fitting it into life is much easier said than done. If you’re able to carve out 30 minutes each day for some Pilates, spinning, or yoga, that’s great! But for anyone with small children or a hectic travel schedule, finding precious time to complete a workout is often at the bottom of the to-do list. Instead, look for other excuses throughout the day to squeeze in some physical activity. Extend Fido’s walk by ten minutes and see if he’s willing to pick up the pace. Consider a stand-up desk at work and, when it makes sense, hold “walking meetings” with coworkers who are game to join you. Get creative–then watch yourself feel more centered and develop a higher tolerance for handling stress.

3. Avoid foods that make you feel edgy or depleted. What you eat has a huge impact on how you feel. Sugary, carb-heavy foods leave us feeling tired, guilty, and irritable. This is not a good recipe for coping with stress, and we often compound the problem by reaching for that fourth cup of coffee to fight the fatigue. Habits are tough to break, but making healthier choices significantly improves your mood and energy level.

No one is ever fully prepared for life’s drama, whether it’s a frozen pipe during the dead of winter, a cancelled flight, or that dreaded call from the principal’s office. However, you can control how you react to these stressful events. By recognizing that your attitude is a choice and by taking steps each day to support a more positive approach to dealing with life’s curveballs, you are well on your way to establishing balance in your life.

Creating Results and Shaping Change

No matter how hectic life gets in the workplace or at home, taking personal accountability for how you act and think gives you power to rise above circumstance, manage daily stress, and achieve balance. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by life’s changes, shift your perspective so that you can experience more satisfaction from the best parts of your life.

Kirsten Blakemore, MA CPCC, is a Consultant for Partners in Leadership, helping companies create accountable cultures, while improving employee engagement and effective communication. She is an executive coach and facilitator. ​