5 quick questions to troubleshoot your stress

Posted on Mar 22, 2023

happy dog with tennis ball in mouth leaping over log

Sound familiar?

Rushing to the bathroom between back-to-back conference calls. Staring at a long list of unfinished to-dos at the end of the week. Venting to a friend about my annoying boss/coworker.

Where did my peace go?

I’ve been employed for a year now, after 4 years of being my own boss. It’s such a common experience, the rushed life of American careerism. But having experienced periods of sustained peace and joy while working for myself, I can’t settle for it!

Last Friday, I was Slacking my coworker Emmanuel, a young software engineer. When I mentioned my elevated stress levels, he sent me this:

I calculated my score immediately: ✅ ✅ 🛑 ⚠️ 🛑

That weekend, I checked off the others. (St. Paddy’s Day party with neighbors, long cold walk with a long-time friend, 4 intense hours of trail clearing at our SE Nebraska property) 

And Monday? Sprinkle a little intentional morning planning on top, and I had one of those days that sparkled like they used to! (Most) meetings were fun. I made time for a walk. When overwhelmed on a call, I turned off my video and took a few deep breaths instead of powering through. 

Now, Tuesday, let’s be real—I had a headache by 5, most likely from forgetting to drink water and breathe normally as I bounced between meetings. 🙃 But I noticed, and I feel more capable of course-correcting. 

How do you score on Emmanuel’s List of Five?

  1. Good sleep
  2. Eating relatively healthy while eating food you enjoy
  3. Exercise 3+ times a week
  4. 30+ mins of sunlight (cloudy counts!) outside daily
  5. Socialize at least once a week

Now, stop with the automatic self-attack. Pobody’s nerfect. 🤪

Which of these self-care routines do you most want to treat yourself with today? How could it be easy?

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Photo by chepté cormani