If you suffer from symptoms of stress because you can’t seem to achieve all of the things on your list you are not alone. An over-zealous to-do list can be scary if it makes you feel like a failure when the tasks aren’t accomplished no matter how unrealistic it is to get everything done on your list.
Have you ever been called (or called yourself) a “Type A personality?” The one that leans towards perfectionism you might even feel a surge of pride because the Type A is said to be the most productive, and can work for endless hours, the go getter the most successful personality. However, what not talked about much is those endless demands cause extreme stress symptoms.
How do you react when you find yourself unable to complete a project? Is it virtually impossible for you to relax, be calm and sit still? Does turning your cell phone off drive your up a wall or you can’t spend even one single day without a computer? Maybe you have an iphone and feel you must stay “connected” at all times.
If you are one of those people who everyone including yourself expects to do whatever it takes to get a project done you’re probably stressed. The more you expect of yourself the greater your stress becomes.
I find one the biggest errors in judgment is when your schedule is so tight you don’t give yourself enough breaks or enough time between projects to deal with the unexpected events that always happen. For example if you schedule meetings back to back and have an additional project that is due before the end of the day you can bet your bottom dollar, that your meetings will likely run over the allotted time and that one hour project will take 2 hours, because you simply didn’t give yourself enough time. Yes in theory the project will take one hour as long as everything goes perfectly and you don’t have any interruptions. Now how often does that happen?
Now being an over-achiever is not all bad. In fact you are likely to get more done then the next next person. It’s just that you take it too far and this level of dedication and commitment can take its toll out on your body and mind.
One thing that will help you reach your peak without overdoing it is to schedule a few stress-busting activities along with the other tasks on your to-do list. I use my iphone to schedule these mini-breaks throughout the day. The breaks will serve as a great reminder to take care of yourself because you are blocking out time to release your stress and keep calm.
Pick out something you enjoy:
- Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths,
- Three minute mini-meditation,
- Look at a picture of someone you love
- Take a mini-stroll by walking around the room or to another part of the house or office for 3-5 minutes
- Focus on one good thing that happened today and write it down in your journal
You might want to start small and let your stress-reducing activities grow. Once you learn to embrace the de-stressing activities, it will be easier for you to improve your mental and physical health by ridding your mind and body of stress of throughout the day.