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Give Yourself a Stress Check

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This week is national stress buster week, and boy do I need a stress check.

Do you ever wake up at 5am in a panic thinking that it’s 9:30 and your alarm didn’t go off and you overslept and missed a meeting? That’s been happening to me the past few days, which means I need a SERIOUS stress detox.

Stress is like a pimple on the back of your neck. You kind of feel it when it starts, and over the next week it grows and grows until one day you’re wearing your hair up in a ponytail and your best friend looks at you and goes “OMG what is that on the back of your neck??? It’s really infected!”

And at that point you just have to pop it. Pop it, disinfect it and allow your skin to heal.

So this week, it’s time to pop your stress pimple, detox your life and allow your anxiety-ridden brain to heal.

Here are the three stress busters I’m implementing to help me chill the hell out this week:

1. Buy An Alarm Clock

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My morning ritual goes something like this: wake up in a panic at 5:30 thinking my alarm didn’t go off, check my phone, think “it’s only 5:30, phew”, proceed to check my email JUST INCASE someone sent something important between the hours of midnight and 5:30am, put my phone back in the charger, roll over and go back to sleep, repeat twice more until my alarm goes off (reliably) at 7:45am.

Instead of relying on my phone to wake me up, I’ve decided to buy an alarm clock. By putting the clock next to my bed, I can quickly glance up and realize that it is in fact only 5:30am and proceed to go back to sleep. Keeping my alarm separate from my phone also reduces the temptation to check email in the middle of the night or from bed first thing in the morning. It also allows you to turn your phone off (read, OFF as in powered down) overnight which 1. keeps your sleep from being disturbed by constant buzzing and dinging in the middle of the night and 2. gives your phone a rest… because electronic devices deserve sleep too.

2. No Email Before 9am or After 7pm

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In this world of constant communication, everything has become an ’emergency’ and if you don’t answer NOW the world is going to fall apart. Let’s all take a step back, breathe, and realize that if someone sends you an email at 11pm, it PROBABLY isn’t actionable until 9am the following day anyway. So why do we all drive ourselves crazy and leave our email notifications on all night? Turn that stuff off when you go home, and you’ll feel far more refreshed and ready to tackle the day when you get into the office in the morning. I promise.

3. Take A Lunch Break Every Day

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I am a serial lunch-at-desk crime committer. Every day I walk outside for 5-10 minutes to grab my food and then immediately come back to my desk to continue working. I don’t know why I feel that this is necessary… I am clearly allowed a lunch but I just don’t take it. And neither does anyone else I know! WE ARE ALL CRAZY. If you have an hour for lunch, take that hour to do things for you. Eat outside, run errands, watch funny videos online, call your mom… just do anything other than work. It’s important to set boundaries for yourself to maintain a healthy work-life balance. And eating lunch at a normal, human pace is a good start.

What stress busters will you try out this week?

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