Happy Monday! Sometimes, we can get so caught up with creating a large task list on Monday, that it can begin to become overwhelming, and stress begins to set in. We begin to doubt our abilities and become concerned if we can get everything done in time. However, Monday can be a great opportunity to instill new habits and helpful strategies.
While stress is a human reaction that can protect us from danger, too much stress can impact one’s physical health. Too much stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure.
April is Stress Awareness Month, and an ideal time to check-in with wellbeing and stress levels and healthy ways to manage these symptoms. Below are four helpful tips to try for a stress-free productive Monday!
1. Set attainable short-term goals. Try this exercise - get out a notepad, and set 5 things you want to accomplish during your work week. These should follow the SMART formula (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based). We’ve already done the timely part for you - no later than Friday if it’s not a high-priority task, and earlier in the week if it is due early-mid week.
After you have written down your 5 smart short-term goals, take a look in your calendar and see what current meetings and other commitments you have prior scheduled, then assign the days you want to complete those goals.
Bonus points if you do this on Fridays before you leave work or Sunday the night before Monday - so you can go into work clear minded and aware of your goals for the week. For at least the first hour of your work day, commit to working on the task assigned and not reading your emails or voicemails until that hour has concluded. This can help from getting distracted and being pulled in different directions.
2. Take 5 minutes and practice a breathing exercise. Breathing exercises help you be in the present, and not get distracted or stressed about the future. There are many breathing exercises out there on YouTube that you can follow, and at a variety of lengths. Here is one technique that shows box breathing.
3. STOP. DROP. AND GRATITUDE. Okay, you really don’t have to drop to the ground before you practice some gratitude. Take a moment right now; yes, right now, and write down three things you are grateful for. They can be big things; like family, your adorable pet, or your friends. They can be small things: nutritious food to eat, a roof over your head, clean water. Performing gratitude is a good reminder of what you are thankful for when stress becomes overwhelming.
4. Volunteer or do something kind for someone. Volunteers are essential to the wellbeing of not just the community, but the volunteer themselves. Research shows that there are mental and emotional benefits of volunteering, such as counteracting the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety.