How To Handle Stressful Seasons
Stressful seasons come to all of us! No matter if you are in high school, college, university, if you have a part time or a full time job, or even if you are a stay home mom/dad, stress can be present in our lives at different times of the year.
For students, it might be when their projects’ due dates come closer or for employees it might be when work just accumulates and there is a lot to deliver in a short time. Stress is real but if you learn how to handle stressful seasons, you will realise that they can be opportunities to stretch your capacity instead of a threat to your mental and physical health.
But what do you do to move forward when all the things on your plate just seem like a mountain impossible to climb? Let me give you a hand!
One thing at a time
I will never forget Bobbie Houston’s example on how to get things done with calmness and peace of mind. As a woman in her sixties, that together with her husband Brian travels the world every year managing multiple church locations and events including conferences, she is definitely someone who has the authority to give advice on this.
She gave the funniest examples of tasks being similar to ducks flying in the air, all of them waiting to land. But what she said was that in her moments of overwhelming stress, she decided to land “One duck at a time”. Trying to do everything at the same time never works, you will end up giving 10 % of your attention to each thing that you do and this will only lead to unfinished jobs and an overwhelming feeling of failure.
Choose to priorities what needs to be done first, and then second, and third. If you order your thoughts and start landing them according to importance, you will start having a clearer mind and what before seemed impossible, will suddenly become more doable.
Write it down (Hands, front pocket, back pocket)
Not too long ago we had an art director visit us and give us some advice as a creative department on how to get things done. Inspired by a Nike workshop, he told us that the best thing to do is to write down what needs to be done into three categories:
- Hands: what projects or tasks do you have in your hands at the moment? This involves the most important, the closest due dates and the urgent. It involves everything that you need to land or take care of as soon as possible.
- Front Pocket: What projects are coming up in your schedule? What can you slowly start to work on so that you don’t get desperate in a few weeks? This involves everything that is coming up in a close future and that will become part of your “hands” in a few weeks.
- Back Pocket: These are the project that may be a few months away. It is useful to write them down and keep them in mind so that you can start working on them early enough. They are not urgent, but they are not forgotten either. They will pass on to become front pocket projects and ultimately hand projects.
Rest when you can
Even though you might be going through a full season, there is always room for rest if you allow it. Set yourself a time even if it is once a week or once during the day where you can clear your mind, hangout with a friend or simply watch Netflix and do nothing. It is not healthy to be thinking of your work 24/7 and business does not equal efficiency.
As much as you work is important, remember that you want to be able to work in the long run and not only for a season. For this, you need to ensure you take the time and effort to take care of yourself. Do not overwork yourself, and if your wellbeing hasn’t been a task in your hands for a while, then you might want to re-check your priorities.
And most of all remember that it is a season! It will pass! And it might seem big and impossible, but as you zoom it and see the details of what’s coming at you, you will slowly find creative solutions to make it possible.
Keep your head up and give it your best! Once you find yourself on the other side of the challenge, I assure you won’t be the same person, you will have grown and stretched, and next time what seemed like a challenge, will become a breeze. Recognise your small steps and celebrate them! The goal is to grow as you get things done, and not to die in order to make them happen.
Let us know! What else would be useful to handle stressful seasons?