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Revisiting the balancing act: What to do when things get way out of whack

By Calissa Reid

Way back in 2013, I wrote a blog about how to balance school and work. Since then, I’ve taken a few more classes while continuing to work full-time and I’ve recently started a second job on the weekends.  I like to think I’ve done a good job of managing multiple commitments, but there have been a few days where things got a bit crazy. Last week was one of those times; I didn’t follow my own advice (I really should have looked at that blog post from 2013!) and had left a huge assignment until the last minute. On top of this mega paper, I had a few things to get done here at work, and I had a shift at my second job.  Clearly, I had dropped the ball, and I felt totally overwhelmed.

When it gets to this point…you know it’s bad.

After a refreshing weekend, I feel like things are back to normal.  Looking forward, I am going to try my absolute best to keep my balancing act tips in mind and plan better, but life loves to throw curve balls, doesn’t it? A study from 2014 found that 80% of American workers have felt stressed out at work. Stress can affect you mentally and physically and affect your performance on the job—even if the stress is not work related.

Most of us are going to feel stressed out at some point, so I thought it’d be a good idea to look at what you can do when life has gotten crazy. You may not be able to eliminate the stressor, but there are some tried and true methods to help reduce and manage stress when you feel like you’re feeling overwhelmed and ready to explode.

  • Your reaction matters. You’re never going to be able to remove all the stressors in your life, but you can change how you react to them. Ask yourself what you can do about what’s stressing you out, and take action where you can.
  • Optimism goes far. Studies have shown that a positive attitude helps you handle stressful situations and limits the effects of stress on your body.
  • Breathe in, and breathe out. Breathing exercises, mediation, prayer, and tai chi are proven stress releasers. Take a break from your responsibilities andrecharge.
  • Say no. This one can be hard, but knowing your limits and sticking to them will keep you from taking on more than you can handle. If you’re committing too much, you’re setting yourself up for stress, and nobody wants that.
  • Pare down your list. If your to-do list seems overwhelming, categorize your responsibilities into “shoulds” and “musts”. When things slow down for you, you can pick up those less-important tasks that you dropped.
  • Share how you’re feeling. I think this is the most important. Talking to your friends, family, your boss or a professional about how you’re feeling helps release tension and they may be able to help you with whatever you’re facing. Talking about it isn’t showing weakness or being a burden…it’s showing that you’re dedicated to finding a solution.

How ironic, the girl who was talking about being stressed just told you a few ways to reduce stress. There will come a time when I’ll be stressed out again, I can guarantee it, but I will take my own advice and better manage that stress by talking about it,  saying no and keeping a positive attitude. Stressful situations are inevitable, but how you manage those situations can change the extent that the situation affects your life.

How do you handle stress? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @HeadsUpAB

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