Stress Management: Free Course

How To Reduce Stress At Work And At Home

Stress Management: Free Course

We all experience stress, but stress management is something we rarely consider.

Our reaction to it helps us roll with the punches or leads us to experience adverse effects.

The better we can manage incoming stress, the healthier we can feel.

In reality, it depends on what’s happening in different areas of our lives and how we respond to things that add to our stress levels, no matter where they are coming from.

We know intuitively that the economy, threats of a layoff, doing more with fewer resources will add stress to our work.

However, even in an ideal workplace, there can be people we don’t get along with, orders that do not arrive on time, and phones that don’t get answered.

Finding a new place to live, weddings, family gatherings, finances, and inflation can add stress to our lives.

A study by Scott Schieman of the University of Toronto found that 50% of people bring their work home and that incidence of work-life interference is higher among those who “hold professional jobs with more authority, decision-making latitude, pressure, and longer hours.”

In today’s ever-connected world, many of us are expected to be on 24/7 and work full-time or part-time from home. (hbr.org)

And social media can provide a seemingly endless supply of fodder to focus on. (verywellmind.com)

However, the good news is that studies show there are effective stress management strategies that can, for example, allow you to leave your work-related stress at the office – this way so that you can have better relationships with your family.

This free online stress management course will help you to:

– See that stress is always present in everyone’s life

– Spot the symptoms that tell you when you overloaded by chronic stress

– See what can be changed – and easily make those changes

– … And when finding that some things can’t be changed, you’ll discover how to cope efficiently

– Discover the best ways to make a personal action plan for every situation, be it work, play, or your home life.

– Stressors lead to stimuli that evoke some response.

Whether your response is physical or psychological, stressors require that we adapt and respond in some way.

The more significant the gap between the demands and the resources, the more stressful a situation becomes.

Some stressors are small, like finding there is no toilet paper when we go into the bathroom or calling someone, and their voicemail is full.

Farther up on the scale, there are significant adverse events, like being caught in a storm and unable to get home through downed power lines or being the victim of a crime.

Looming larger are catastrophic events, often unexpected, such as natural disasters, acts of wars, or riots.

Events over which we have very little control, which occur suddenly and unpredictably, and which have an impact that lasts for an extended period, generally have the most significant impact on physical and emotional health.

Also, even small events that are chronically repeated over a long period (like your colleague being late for work every day for a prolonged period) can be equally taxing.

Stress Management: Defining Stress and How It Affects Us

We all experience stress.

Our reaction to it helps us roll with the punches or leads us to experience adverse effects.

The better we can manage incoming stress, the healthier we can feel.

In this module, you’ll think about where your stress levels are as you learn the definitions associated with identifying stress.

What Is Stress About?

We talk very freely about stress nowadays.

Even children remark about being stressed out with similar frequency to their adult counterparts.

In this module, we’ll discuss some of the origins of our own stress.

As you read through these thoughts about stress, consider whether each point applies to you.

Stress Management- Building a Solid Foundation

While we know that there are things we can do in response to stress, there are also things that we can do to help prevent stressors from having a significant impact on our lives.

It’s similar thinking to building a solid foundation for a house before putting up the walls.

In this module, you’ll consider the strength of your own foundation by thinking about your levels of nutrition and exercise, the power of relationships, and relaxation.

Stress Management: Mental Strategies

Dr. Seuss (the famous children’s author) once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Do you speak your mind or find yourself biting your tongue a lot?

Both are reasonable strategies!

In this module, you’ll learn how to reduce stress by making deliberate decisions about how you wish to handle things.

Stress Management at Work

One of our in-house trainers was asked to do a stress management workshop where there would be no mention of work contributing to people’s stress.

The truth is that our lives do not classify in that way, and all aspects can contribute to elevated levels of stress.

In this module, you’ll learn about workplace stress costs and consider how much impact work has on your stress levels.

Time Management Tips

Whether you are someone who likes to make lists and prioritize or appreciates the benefits of having things organized to keep on top of priorities, we all have the potential to learn to work with time rather than against it.

In this module, you’ll have the opportunity to think about how you can best manage the time you have and make the most of it.

Stress Management at Home

Do you find yourself more stressed thinking about home or work?

Just as we have things we can do to make our work less stressful, we can use techniques and strategies at home to create a satisfying life.

In this module, you’ll learn about some budgeting basics, everyday things that you can impact, and some organization tips.

Stress Management: Drainers and Fillers

We all have people that we feel great being around: the person who enters the room and makes you feel like you are the most important person there.

Of course, the opposite is also true, where we know people who tax us.

In this module, you’ll consider the people who drain and fill your life, who bring the most to you personally, and give some thought to who we wish to be around the most.

Don’t forget that stress isn’t all bad, though!

Positive stress motivates, increases energy levels, and can drive people forward to embrace the work before them.

What about having no stress at all?

An absence of stress can actually lead to boredom or frustration.

When people who enjoy various activities as a part of their day suddenly find themselves all caught up and with some free time on their hands, they can actually become bored and experience feelings of fatigue.

A balance of positive stress is ideal, although the human component to this is that each person responds to stress individually.

That means what is good stress for one person can be harmful to another.

Further Reading About Stress Management

Physical activity is a huge stress reliever and you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a gym to experience the benefits. (helpguide.org)

Note down the date, time and place of each stressful episode, and note what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt both physically and emotionally. (skillsyouneed.com)

Social isolation was a factor mentioned in the UN study related to the increased stress of home-based workers. (verywellmind.com)

Remote workers should also bear in mind how they can help manage their workload and stress: Creating Routine and Defining Boundaries: Having a separate office space away from your family can help. (skillsyouneed.com) 

The importance of managing stress: If you’re living with high levels of stress, you’re putting your entire well-being at risk. (helpguide.org)

One of the main reasons that organizational interventions were identified as an effective way of managing stress was because they were primary interventions to modify or eliminate environmental stressors. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

Increase your sense of control by developing a consistent daily routine when possible, ideally one that is similar to your schedule before the pandemic. (cdc.gov)

Make a To-Do List to manage your workload. (mindtools.com)

Do things you enjoy during non-work hours. (cdc.gov)

A wide variety of relaxation techniques can take thoughts off the stressful events of the day. (worktolive.info)

Replace those negative thoughts with positive statements and challenge and change how you see and experience the world. 7. (positivepsychology.com)

Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it. (skillsyouneed.com)

Establish a physical working environment that’s secure and comfortable, with minimal distractions. (mindtools.com)

Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. (helpguide.org)

You can take this free course online at your own pace – start this course now by clicking “NEXT” below!

Module 1: Stress Management – Course Overview

Course Overview

Today’s workforce is experiencing job burnout and stress in epidemic proportions.

Workers at all levels feel stressed out, insecure, and misunderstood.

Many people feel the demands of the workplace, combined with the demands of home, have become too much to handle.

This course explores the causes of such stress and suggests general and specific stress management strategies that people can use every day.

Learning Objectives

After you complete this course, you will be able to:

– Understand that stress is an unavoidable part of everybody’s life

– Recognize the symptoms that tell you when you have chronic stress overload

– Change the situations and actions that can be changed

– Deal better with situations and actions that can’t be changed

– Create an action plan for work, home, and play to help reduce and manage stress

Module 2: Defining Stress and How It Affects Us

We all experience stress.

It’s our reaction to it that helps us roll with the punches or leads us to experience negative effects.

The better we are able to manage incoming stress, the healthier we can feel.

In this module, you’ll think about where your own stress levels are as you learn the definitions associated with identifying stress.

Where Are You Now?

When we present a stress management course, we often look for the greatest areas of our life that produce stress.

– According to Peter Hanson, MD, a best-selling author of several books about stress, work and the workplace causes most of our stress.

– According to the Holmes-Rahe stress scale, which has been popularly used in stress management workshops since the late 1960’s, the greatest single stressors come from our personal lives.

In reality, it depends on what’s happening in different areas of our life, and how we respond to things that add to our stress levels, no matter where they are coming from.

We know intuitively that the economy, threats of layoff, doing more with fewer resources will add stress to our work.

However, even in an ideal workplace there can be people we don’t get along with, orders that do not arrive on time, and phones that don’t get answered.

On the home front, finding a new place to live, weddings, family gatherings, finances, and inflation can add stress to our lives.

The word “stressor” is something we hear frequently.

A stressor is something that puts real or perceived demands on your physical, emotional, or spiritual self.

Stressors can be positive or negative.

Defining and Identifying Stress

Stress is our mental, physical, and behavioral response to something that could threaten our safety or well-being.

Too much stress can result in serious physical, psychological, interpersonal, or performance problems.

Too little stress, however, can also lead us to be unconcerned with getting on with things, including getting out of bed in the morning.

Pre-Assignment

On a scale of 1-10, rate your stress levels, where 1 is not at all, 5 is an average amount among you and your peers, and 10 is more than you could have imagined.

Rating stress levels

– What are the major stressors in your life that have begun in the last 24 months?

– What are you currently doing to reduce or lessen the impact of some of the stressors in your life?

– Are you managing any kind of serious health event (diabetes, heart disease, stomach problems, allergies, etc.)?

– What challenges do you expect as you try to reduce and resolve some stressors?

What Does It Mean?

The pre-assignment is a way for you to review where your life is right now and bring the topic of stress to a prominent place where it can be discussed.

We know from research dating back to the 1960’s (Holmes & Rahe, 1967, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol. 11) that there is a health toll that chronic stress brings with it.

Their research demonstrated that the more stressful events you encountered in a 24-month period, the more likely you were to become ill.

While we have tempered that research with the knowledge that positive stress can be very good, and we know that not all people respond to stress in the same way, we do know that there is a direct correlation between perceptions of stress and the impact on our health.

Generally, the more significant life events you encounter, the more potential there is for you to become ill.

Ways to Look at Your Stress

Stressors lead to stimuli which evoke some kind of a response.

Whether your response is physical or psychological, stressors require that we adapt and respond in some way.

The greater the gap between the demands and the resources, the more stressful a situation becomes for us.

Some stressors are small, like finding there is no toilet paper when we go into the bathroom or calling someone, and their voicemail is full.

Farther up on the scale, there are major negative events, like being caught in a storm and unable to get home through downed power lines or being the victim of a crime.

Looming larger are catastrophic events, often unexpected, such as natural disasters, acts of wars, or riots.

Events over which we have very little control, which occur suddenly and unpredictably, and which have an impact that lasts for a long period of time, generally have the biggest impact on physical and emotional health.

In addition, even small events that are chronically repeated over a long period of time (like your colleague being late for work every day for a prolonged period) can be equally taxing.

Understanding Stress

These factors:

stress factors

Can all contribute to these coping behaviors:

– Avoiding priority tasks

– Rigidity or disorganization

– Self-destructive behaviors (such as substance abuse or alcoholism)

(Sources: “Stress, Appraisal, and Coping” and “Psychology Frontiers and Applications”)

Stress and Your Health

Stress is a significant factor in health problems in the world today.

Repeated stress, whether positive or negative, leads to a release of hormones in the body.

It is the constant battering of these stress-related hormones that can have a negative effect on our health over time.

Dr. Peter Hanson, author of The Joy of Stress and many other books on managing stress, says that stress is neutral until it lands on us.

What we choose to do about stress determines how it will affect us, and so while it does not directly “cause” these problems, it certainly contributes to them.

– Heart attacks or strokes

– Substance abuse (illegal drugs, improper use of prescription drugs, alcohol)

– Abdominal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome

– Physical illness

– Hypertension

– Migraines

– High cholesterol

– Insomnia

– Depression and anxiety

Module 3: What is Stress About?

We talk very freely about stress nowadays.

Even children remark about being stressed out with similar frequency to their adult counterparts.

In this module, we’ll discuss some of the origins of our own stress.

As you read through these thoughts about stress, consider whether each point applies to you.

Stress can be about changing lifestyles.

Many people feel that life has become more stressful, although those who have successfully leveraged technology and established a satisfying balance of health, wellness, and work may not feel that way! Our access to food from different geographic areas, mass transportation, communication, and other privileges are enjoyed by many people.

Stress can be about power.

Many of us feel more stressed when we feel powerless to change the way things are.

Stress is an equal opportunity opponent: it affects people of every age and every culture, regardless of whether you are male or female.

Stress can be about self-esteem.

When our self-esteem is high, we feel more powerful and therefore less reactive to negative stressors.

When our self-esteem is low, we feel like we have no power to make any changes and that can cause us more stress.

Stress is about change in our environment.

Change can be exciting when it brings something we look forward to, even if we have to do extra work to get the changes into place.

Unexpected change, though, can bring negative stress with it, even though we can see that the change itself has many positive aspects.

If we don’t like the situation we find ourselves in, if we are familiar with being in that situation, or if we feel that at least we know what will happen when we are in the situation, we find it less stressful than when we are stepping into the unknown.

People who make comments about not liking change or not being adaptable could benefit from some intervention and stress-reduction techniques, because the world continues to change rapidly, and we are forced to change along with it, whether we want to or not.

Flexibility

Being flexible can reduce stress! Try sitting at a different spot at the table occasionally, taking a different route to work, changing your hairstyle, or going somewhere different to experience different foods.

Eustress

Don’t forget that stress isn’t all bad.

In 1974, Richard Lazarus defined the term “eustress” to describe healthy or positive stress.

The prefix –eu comes from the Greek word that means “well” or “good,” making eustress (good stress) distinct from the negative associations of distress.

Positive stress motivates, increases energy levels, and can drive people forward to embrace the work before them.

What about having no stress at all? An absence of stress can actually lead to boredom or frustration.

When people who enjoy a variety of activities as a part of their day suddenly find themselves all caught up and with some free time on their hands, they can actually become bored and experience feelings of fatigue.

A balance of positive stress is ideal, although the human component to this is that each person responds to stress individually.

That means what is good stress for one person can be negative for another.

Module 4: Stress Management – Building a Solid Foundation

While we know that there are things we can do in response to stress, there are also things that we can do to help prevent stressors from having a significant impact on our lives.

It’s similar thinking to building a solid foundation for a house before putting up the walls.

In this module, you’ll consider the strength of your own foundation by thinking about your levels of nutrition and exercise, strength of relationships, and relaxation.

Taking Care of Your Body and Your Mind

In considering the foundation that you offer to support yourself; we speak in terms of four pillars that support stress management:

– Good nutrition

– Exercise

– Strong, supportive relationships

– Relaxation techniques

Many of us are already familiar with the ideas behind these pillars; however, we don’t always act as though we do.

This is a good opportunity to do some thinking out loud.

Making Connections

Prepare a list of what you think each of us should be doing to manage our stress related to each pillar.

Try to have five items for each topic.

– Good Nutrition

– Exercise

– Strong, Supportive Relationships

– Relaxation Techniques

Case Study

Carrie’s Day

Carrie feels like she’s always on a merry-go-round, with no time to relax.

She’s also noticed that she’s had more colds than usual this year.

Take a look at what Carrie’s day usually looks like.

Then, use the discussion questions to help you find a solution for her.

case study table

Questions

– What do you see as the major problem here?

– Which connection do you see between Carrie’s lifestyle and her job problems?

– What advice would you give Carrie?

The “Less Stress” Lessons

Relaxation techniques are crucial for managing stress.

Let’s talk about some techniques that you can use anywhere, any time.

Body Scan

In order to relax, we must first learn where, when, and how we store tension in our body.

Does everybody know where they store their tension?

It may be in the back, their neck, their stomach, or some other part of their body.

How will they know?

This part of their body reacts: they get a stiff neck, they get an upset stomach, or they have back pain.

When you figure this out, you can also design remedies such as yoga, stretching, massage, warm baths, healthy eating, to help reduce their impact.

Breathing Through Your Diaphragm

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, once said, “Our breath is the bridge from our body to our mind.”

Loosen your clothes, close your eyes, mentally relax your body, and take ten or more deep breaths.

Your goal is to breathe into the bottom of your lungs (where the oxygen is readily absorbed), not the usual upper lung breathing we do.

Put your hand on your stomach and feel it move as you breathe in in order to make sure you are getting the air in good and deep.

We call this diaphragmatic breathing, because you are using your diaphragm muscle to breath.

When people are experiencing anxiety, they are most often breathing into the upper area of their lungs rather than the bottom.

Each time you exhale, count silently: “one,” after the first breath, “two,” after the second breath, etc., up to at least ten.

If you lose count or find yourself working on thoughts as they pass through your mind, start your count over again.

When you are finished, you should feel calmer and more relaxed.

(Your blood pressure will go down temporarily too.)

If you’re in a meeting, on the phone, or dealing with a customer, count in your head.

Stretching

Stretching has multiple benefits.

It increases blood and oxygen flow in your body, as you focus on areas of your body and encourage yourself to be mindful of your movements and relax your mind.

Visualization

Use positive imagery to boost your mood and enhance your visible performance.

In your mind, picture a place that you love.

Feel the sunshine on your face, or the breeze on your skin.

See the things that you love to see in great detail.

If you are getting ready for a presentation or an interview, visualize yourself performing it perfectly, so that when you get to the event your mind thinks you’ve done it before, so this will be even easier than the last time you did it (a technique used by athletes and peak-performance coaches).

Sensory Awareness

Shakespeare once said, “There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch without some pleasure.”

Try to slow down and be more aware of your surroundings.

Module 5: Stress Management – Mental Strategies

Dr. Seuss (the famous children’s author) once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Do you speak your mind or find yourself biting your tongue a lot?

Both are reasonable strategies!

In this module, you’ll learn how to reduce stress by making deliberate decisions about how you wish to handle things.

Changing Ourselves

Now that we know what stress is, let’s talk about some general strategies that we can use to manage it.

This afternoon, we’ll look at some more specific factors.

These three factors impact our ability to manage stress:

– Personality

– Nature of organization

– Quality of support

Which of these three can we influence?

Personality

It’s true that we can’t change our personality, although we certainly have influence over ourselves and we can make some small changes by making different choices.

For example, if we are very impatient with other people, we can learn to be a little more patient with them.

Impatient people can alienate others, and they run the risk of having very small social circles.

Learning some tactics to curb our impatience could improve our lives tremendously.

Nature of Organization

We can’t change the organization we work for, either, unless we own it, but we can influence the mood and atmosphere there.

If the stress is unbearable and we cannot exert the influence we’d like, we can also change jobs.

That is a drastic measure to be sure.

However, assess what makes your workplace such a toxic environment.

Is it the work or is it the people?

Can the stress be partly attributed to your reaction to what is happening?

If your workplace is truly too demanding, then save yourself and find another place to work.

However, if you are stressed out because nobody has ever told you what is expected of you, then talk to your supervisor about what they expect of you.

If you feel like you need more training to do your job, ask for training.

Perhaps you can find a mentor, or a buddy, or perhaps your company will send you to external training.

You won’t know if you do not ask.

Quality of Support

One thing we can always change is the nature of the supportive relationships we have.

This can be done in very strategic ways, even though they may require that you function outside your comfort zone.

– Develop relationships at work, socially, and at home.

– Reach out more often to both friends and family.

– Strengthen relationships.

To do this, we can ask for and offer help.

Keep in mind that relationships are reciprocal so be a better friend or supporter yourself and develop a wider circle of support.

The Triple A Approach

Choosing an approach that works for you means that you are accepting the role you play in managing your own stress.

When we have situations that cause our stress levels to rise, there is a choice-based approach that we can apply to almost everything.

We can alter or change the situation, figure out how to avoid the situation, or accept the situation and alter our response to it.

Alter

Sometimes this is the most promising strategy.

Let’s say you are always stressed when you are going to be late for a meeting.

Change the situation by setting an alarm so you will leave five or ten minutes earlier than you usually do.

Write the appointment down with a 15-minute cushion.

For example, if you have a meeting that starts at 2:30 p.m., and it is in the building next door which is a 10-minute walk, make sure that you write the walking time into your appointment calendar.

And make sure that you don’t accept a meeting invitation that will take you right up to 2:30 p.m.

Here’s another example: Every time your mother-in-law comes for a visit your hackles rise and you are in a bad mood the whole time she is there.

How might you alter that situation? You could speak with your partner and make reservations for her to stay at a nearby hotel, buy a bouquet of flowers for her room so you start off on the right foot, or try to get to know her better.

If this is a longstanding tough relationship and you’ve never talked to her about it, perhaps now is the time to do so.

Avoid

On the other hand, that mouthy neighbor may be somebody you can avoid altogether.

Don’t get drawn into a conversation with them, and if they try to talk with you, let them know you have somewhere else to be.

If cheese gives you a migraine, avoid it.

If your car needs maintenance before it falls apart, avoid calamity by getting it looked after.

Forcing ourselves into situations that contribute to our stress, when we really don’t have to be in those situations at all, is masochistic.

(By the way, don’t decide to avoid your mother-in-law altogether. That just transfers the stress you feel onto your spouse and that isn’t fair.)

Accept

There are some things in life, like taxes, that are unavoidable so we may as well accept these situations with good grace.

Being grateful that you make enough money to pay taxes puts the annoyance of taxes into another light.

There are plenty of things that annoy people that others simply accept.

Let’s say going to the dentist makes you stressed.

Accept that and deal with it accordingly.

Play music before you go or do some meditation.

Let your dentist know how you are feeling and let them reassure you that they treat all their patients as if they don’t want to be there and have set up their practice to make you as comfortable as possible.

If that’s still not helping, remind yourself that dental health is linked to heart health, and accept the benefits of what you are doing.

Module 6: Stress Management at Work

One of our in-house trainers was asked to do a stress management workshop where there would be no mention of work contributing to people’s stress.

The truth is that our lives do not compartmentalize in that way, and all aspects can contribute to elevated levels of stress.

In this module, you’ll learn about the costs of workplace stress and consider how much impact work has on your personal stress levels.

The Stress Tax

Do you work in a stressful environment?

Is it what you would consider a “reasonable” amount of stress, or does it seem that there is more stress in your organization that others?

Costs of stress on the job can include:

– Errors

– Absenteeism

– Conflict

– Low morale

– High staff turnover

– Poor decisions/no decisions

– Accidents

What are the symptoms of stress overload, when our bodies have responded too many times to the “fight or flight” call?

– High blood pressure

– Heart attack risk

– Risk of a stroke

– Headaches and migraines

– Risk of diabetes

– Always tired

– Always angry

– Not feeling much of anything (shutting things out)

Stress Inventory

Inventory

Rate each statement as it applies to you on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 meaning never, 2 rarely, 3 sometimes, 4 often, and 5 always.

Statement

– My job description and responsibilities are not clear to me.

– My job description and responsibilities are not clear to others.

– I often disagree with others at work.

– I have trouble identifying what my priorities are.

– I feel like my workload is too heavy or too light.

– I do not get regular feedback from my supervisor.

– I do not have input in work-related decisions.

– I feel isolated from the people I work with.

– I do not have any friends at work.

– I do not feel secure in my job.

– I feel over or under qualified for my job.

– I do not get enough support at work.

– When I have questions or need help, I do not have any resources.

– I react to issues that come up, rather than planning my work proactively.

– I have too much or too little supervision.

– This position is not on my career path.

– I keep quiet about my discontent.

– I am over or under paid.

– My organization’s leadership changes often.

– I spend a lot of time on meaningless tasks.

– I am tired at work.

– I get upset at work.

– I snap at others.

– I have chronic health problems (such as insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, etc.).

– I can’t stop thinking about work.

– I find it hard to concentrate at work.

– I dislike interacting with clients.

– I feel like I have a negative or pessimistic attitude.

– I don’t know what to do to improve my situation.

– My family and/or friends have commented that I seem unhappy.

Count your total score.

Scoring

– Below 30: You have very little job stress.

Most people can manage this level of stress and are not likely to burn out.

– 31-60: You have a low amount of job stress.

Most people manage this level of stress and will not burn out.

However, this inventory might identify areas of concern.

Make sure to address issues before they become chronic problems.

– 61-90: You have a moderate amount of job stress and are at risk of burning out.

Look at the items of concern in the inventory and take action.

– 91-120: You have a high level of job stress.

If you aren’t burnt out already, you will be soon.

Start working with your supervisor or human resources team to develop an action plan and reduce your stress.

– Over 120: You have an extreme level of job stress and are likely burnt out.

Take action to reduce your stress and improve your working environment immediately.

Stress Logging

If you find that you feel very stressed at work, and you’re not sure why, it can be useful to keep a stress log for a week to see what’s going on.

Include the follow items:

– Write the date at the top of each day.

– Write the time and what happened.

– Rate the event on a scale of one to ten, where one is a minimum of stress, five is, “I feel like I need a break,” and ten is, “I’m going to blow a gasket.”

– Leave room for any comments or thoughts.

Here is an example.

stress logging

Once you have logged your stressful events, you can do something about them using the Triple A approach we discussed earlier.

For example, if you got stuck in traffic four out of five days and that caused you stress, you may need to find a different route to work or leave at an earlier time to get ahead of the rush.

Module 7: Time Management Tips

Whether you are someone who likes to make lists and prioritize or appreciates the benefits of having things organized to keep on top or priorities, we all have the potential to learn to work with time rather than against it.

In this module, you’ll have the opportunity to think about how you can best manage the time you have and make the most of it.

Brainstorming Some Great Ideas

The truth is that we cannot manage time, because all of us have the same 24 hours in a day.

Time is a huge stressor for many people.

We don’t have enough time, other people control our time, or there are too many demands on our time.

Fortunately, we can learn to manage our own experience with time in order to reduce our stress.

Identify some ways that you might be able to get more time in your day.

Module 8: Stress Management at Home

Do you find yourself more stressed thinking about home or work?

Just as we have things we can do to make our work less stressful, we can use techniques and strategies at home that help us create a satisfying life.

In this module, you’ll learn about some budgeting basics, everyday things that you can have an impact on, and some organization tips.

Budgeting Basics

Finances are a common cause of stress.

Not having enough money to pay the bills can wreak havoc on an individual and a family.

Plus, finances can limit recreational activities, which reduce your ways to relieve stress.

Talk about a vicious cycle!

At the beginning of every month, sit down with yourself (and your partner or spouse, if you have one) and create a budget.

You can use a piece of paper and a calculator, a spreadsheet program, or an app on your smartphone – whatever works for you.

Make sure you account for the necessities, like mortgage or rent, car payments, debt payments, heat, light, groceries, insurance, and gas.

Don’t forget to budget for some fun stuff too, even if it’s only $20.

Savings are another important part of your budget – if your car breaks down and you’re stuck with a repair bill, it can be less stressful to take it out of the savings account than to put it on a credit card.

If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, talk to a debt counselor to help reduce your financial stresses.

Debt counselors are professional finance organizers and can help you to identify places to find savings that you may never have thought of on your own.

If you have an extremely high-end or low-end lifestyle, consider whether you can make changes to reduce your stress level.

Spending tons of time and/or money on maintaining expensive cars, homes, and boats may not be wise if it’s causing you stress.

Likewise, pinching every penny when it’s not necessary might not be worth it.

The Everyday Stuff

A lot of work goes into running a household.

The good news is that a little planning can go a long way towards reducing household stress and arguments.

Chore Charts

Every member of the family over the age of two should participate in household chores.

Small children can place their clothes in the laundry hamper, pick up their toys, make their bed, set the table, and feed pets.

Older children can help prepare meals (particularly if it’s an easy chore like mixing up a salad kit), walk the dog, and load the dishwasher.

It can also be helpful to identify who wants to do what.

We all have chores that we don’t mind doing, and chores that we don’t like, so if you can find some overlap, life will be easier on everyone.

Another option, particularly if you live alone or have a small family, is to hire out some of the chores, such as mowing the lawn.

Just make sure you’re not trading chore stress for financial stress!

Meal Planning

Sitting down on the weekend and planning your meals for the next week, and then going grocery shopping with a list, accomplishes several things.

– During the week, you don’t have to worry about what to cook or if you have the supplies in the house.

They’re already there!

– When you get home from work, you shouldn’t have to rush back out to the grocery store for supplies.

You will be more likely to eat healthy food and less likely to stop at your local restaurant or for a takeout meal.

– Cooking at home is better for your wallet and your waistline.

– Sitting down as a family and eating supper together is a great activity and opportunity to share time together.

Here are some tips for meal planning:

– Choose recipes that are quick and easy to make.

– Purchase foods that reduce preparation time, such as pre-cooked chicken pieces or salad kits.

– Involve everyone in meal preparation.

It can be fun and shares the workload to have a different family member cook every night, or to have someone responsible for the salad, another person responsible for the main part of the meal, and someone setting the table.

– Theme nights are a lot of fun.

Meals like pizza and tacos can be easily customized by each member of the family.

– Cook ahead, either by preparing enough extra food that you can freeze one meal, or by cooking ahead on a day off.

Organization Tips

You might not feel like a naturally tidy person, but a having a well-organized workspace and home can make reduce a lot of stress.

Think of the last time you had to search for your keys, wallet, or phone, and how much time it takes to find a computer file.

Think of organization ideas for each of the categories below.

– Keeping Things Un-Cluttered

– Organizing Paper

– Getting Motivated

– Caring for Pets and Kids

– Keeping Track

Module 9: Stress Management – Drainers and Fillers

We all have people that we feel great being around: the person who enters the room and makes you feel as though you are the most important person there.

Of course, the opposite is also true, where we know people who tax us.

In this module, you’ll consider the people who drain and fill your life, who bring the most to you personally, and give some thought to who we wish to be around the most.

Personal Drainers

Visualize the way you usually spend your day.

Then, in your notebook, list the least rewarding aspects of your day: those places, activities, people, and/or conditions that diminish your energy.

personal drainers

Personal Fillers

Visualize the way you usually spend your day.

Then, in your notebook, list the better aspects of your day: those places, activities, people, and/or conditions that renew your energy and well-being.

personal fillers

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