10 Commandments For Reducing Stress
Originally written by Hilary Langford and expanded by me! – www.hilary.com.au
Hilary Langford is a very talented organizational consultant and she originally wrote these commandments many years ago, but they are just as relevant today as they were then.
Thanks Hilary for your creativity! I expanded them today!
1. Thou shalt not be perfect or even try to be.
We sometimes impose unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We think we should never be tired, grumpy, make mistakes, react rather than respond etc. Be gentle on yourself – we usually expect far more from ourselves than anyone else would ever dream of expecting!
2. Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people.
Save some time for yourself! We all need a little ‘space’ to just breathe, be, stop and take stock. If we rush around ignoring our own needs, trying to satisfy everyone else’s needs we burn out. And are no good to anyone – especially ourselves.
3. Thou shalt always leave things undone that ought to be done.
When we are stretched and trying to do everything that needs to be done and more, the toll on our own bodies is severe. We usually attack our own immune systems. Unfortunately, it’s not like we have a fuel gauge that says “Warning! Immune system on reserve!” so we can stop and refuel. We don’t even know it’s happening – until we become ill – for no apparent reason! Sometimes it’s really smart to stop, take a break, relax, regroup and refresh before you go on to finish “what ought to be done”.
4. Thou shalt not spread thyself too thin.
Taking on too much, working too long, volunteering for extra work or activities, parenting, studying and working, travelling – all the things that make up life in the laser track (or today’s society), mean that we are all just doing too much to be well. Pace yourself and..breathe!
5. Thou shalt learn to say ‘No!’
You can do this very gently and respectfully. It is respectful to yourself when you recognise your need for ‘time out’ and give it to yourself. It may feel uncomfortable initially, especially if you have created an image for yourself where others think “we can always rely on good old ___ to help out.” For your sanity and energy and vitality, learn to say “No!”. Even if you say “no, not yet” as a start! Remember you are a very worthwhile person and deserve time to yourself. And it is quite possible to say “No!” with respect. Sometimes, when you say “No!” you may be helping other people develop and grow as they have to learn new skills – and you may even increase their respect of your time, energy and efforts.
6. Thou shalt schedule time for thyself and for thy supportive network.
Social support – family and friends – are critical for a strong immune system. People who are isolated from family and friends or who feel alone become ill more often that those with even one or two friends around them. If you are someone who has no friends or family near you, join community or church or volunteer groups. Visit orphanages or old people’s homes. Adopt a grandparent! Join clubs, play team sports, go to classes and learn a new skill. If you do have family and friends around you, make time for them – they are very important to your wellness and longevity.
7. Thou shalt switch off and do nothing regularly!
I know, I know, you don’t have time to sit and do nothing. So then you must plan time later to be sick! If you make time to sit and do nothing sometimes, you rest your spirit and soul. Now, I’m not being religious here – it’s just that we all have a spirit inside us. It’s the thing that is the essence of you. That gives you energy, zest for life, enthusiasm. It makes life fun and even childish sometimes. Most of us are so busy running around doing things we have not nurtured our spirit for years. So it’s still there – it’s just very tiny and faint. Give your body, your mind and your spirit time to regenerate, and repair and revitalise. “Busy” disease affects most people in our society. It may be work busy, children busy, or just busy. If you keep yourself frantically busy all day every day then;
a) the quality of what you do will suffer
b) you’ll never have time to plan your life
c) you’ll go nuts.
8. Thou shalt be boring, untidy, inelegant and unattractive at times.
Who cares what other people think? Of course there are times when we must be aware of appropriate behaviour in certain situations. But it’s important to give yourself permission to be you! People like you not your clothes! Wear ugg boots and fluffy slippers – they keep you warm – they don’t change your personality!!
9. Thou shalt not even feel guilty!
This is a humdinger commandment! We ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ ourselves too much. We berate and blame ourselves and feel bad or guilty for no good reason other than we should have known (by being a mind reader) or we shouldn’t have been tired and crabby. The next time you are feeling guilty, stop and ask yourself “what have I done?” and “who said I shouldn’t have done it?” If you didn’t consciously set out to hurt someone else, then forgive yourself for making a mistake. Mistakes are learning opportunities – not failures. What do you say to yourself about mistakes?
10. Especially thou shalt not be thine own worst enemy, but be thy best friend.
If you aren’t your own best friend who is? Who criticises you more than anyone else? Your self esteem is related to what you say to yourself about yourself – as well as what others say and think. Listen to the way you talk to yourself and be gentle, kind and loving. Be a loving parent to yourself and accept yourself for the worthwhile person you are – wart (cute warts!) and all.