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Over the past few weeks, I’ve written a bit about Quitting and Awareness. Both of those things support proactive stress management. You know, generally speaking, that life is stressful. Sometimes you don’t anticipate a stressful event, however quite often we have advance notice.

You know when you have an interview, an important project due or a meeting. You often know when someone is going to have surgery, you’re going to move, or start a new job. Maybe the anniversary or birthday of a loved one who has passed away is coming up.

When you have knowledge of a future stressful event, doesn’t it make good sense to be a bit proactive about your self-care, to prepare your mind and body to better manage the stressful event?

I have a stressful event coming up this week. It’s something that has caused me great anxiety, yet I know that it’s beyond my control. What I can control, however, is how I manage it and how well I take care of myself beforehand. As a nurse and a mom, I know that if I don’t take good care of myself first, I can’t take care of anyone else.

What does Positive Stress Management Look Like?

  • Meditation or deep breathing before an interview, presentation, or important meeting
  • A massage before a weekend with your in-laws (or someone who pushes your buttons)
  • Eating more fruits and veggies before you travel (boost your immune system)
  • A solid sleep routine before a big week at work
  • Quality time to yourself before spending time taking care of a loved one.
  • More time in prayer
  • Time in nature
  • Extra journaling time

Proactive stress management means kicking your normal self-care routine up a notch. To prepare for my stressful week next week I…

  • I got a massage.
  • I took naps when I could.
  • I made sure I got 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • I exercised daily.
  • I read some wonderful books.
  • I went for a drive in the mountains.
  • I increased my intake of fruits and veggies.
  • I reduced/eliminated my intake of sugar and alcohol.
  • I went and laid out by the pool for several hours.

We can’t control the stress in our lives, but we can control our reaction to it. We can take steps to prepare our minds, hearts, and bodies for the stress. It just requires a little awareness and a commitment to make yourself a priority so you can navigate difficult times.

What about you? Have you ever taken steps to proactively manage stress? What did you do and how did it work? Do you feel like you were in a better state of mind?

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