By: Leanne Henwood-Adam
The year 2020 was something I am sure that none of us could have imagined ever happening in our lifetime. It has been a year filled with stress in so many ways around the globe. The uncertainty that comes with a pandemic – the worry of you or a loved one becoming ill, losing your income, not being able to visit with family and friends, missing out on major life events such as a graduation, a birthday celebration, a wedding or a funeral....
When I find life gets overwhelming, I look for ways to help not only myself but those around me too. Out of this, the idea of a stress log/journal was born. Now, I am not the first one to have this idea so I cannot take credit for the concept, but I wanted to share it with you as I have found this to be a very useful tool.
1. Find a journal/logbook that you love to look at – for me having things that I love around me helps with the process - a beautiful journal and colourful fine-tipped Sharpies to write with.
2. Daily – write down all the things that you find are causing you stress. Tell yourself that once the stress is written down on the page, it is out of your mind and body and so you can now relax. It does not mean that the stress is gone, but once it is written down on paper, you can leave it there and revisit it when you wish to explore solutions. Leave space to come back later with ideas on ways to deal with the stress.
3. Begin to think about and then write down ideas on how you can solve the problem. If you cannot solve it completely, can you find a way to change the way you think about the stressor or change your approach to deal with it? Can you find ONE positive that has happened because of the stressor (sometimes gifts are disguised as a problem)?
4. When you write it down and close the journal – leave it for a bit before looking at it again and trying to determine how to deal with it. This process gives you power over the stressor as you have a system to deal with it.
This idea reminded me of a story I heard about a father who had a very stressful job. But every day when he came home from work, he wrote the stresses out on a piece of paper and attached it to a tree in his front yard. The moment he did that, he put a smile on his face and entered his home to greet his family. One day, a neighbour watched him do this and asked him what he was doing. He replied with the story about his “stress tree”. He left his stresses outside on the tree to be dealt with at another time so that he could enjoy an evening with his family stress free and without bringing the negativity into his home.
Exercising can also be a great way to help you deal with stress. Did you know that we have FREE virtual group fitness classes you can participate in along with virtual personal training offered at a discounted rate? Find the fitness class schedule here and the personal training packages here.
May you find your journal/logbook or your stress tree and learn how to have some moments where you can experience a stressless life.
*Alternative option – instead of this, make your journal into a Gratitude Journal and write down in detail all the things you are grateful for.
Check out more about being grateful and read some inspiring stories at 365grateful.com .
Leanne Henwood-Adam has been the Fitness Coordinator at Humber College, North Campus for the past 28 years and has been with Humber 30 years. She believes in living life to the fullest each and every day and finding gratitude in all the small things around her.