"A" is for Avoidance: Stress Relief Begins with You
Another effective approach to controlling stress is simply to avoid things that are likely to cause stress in your life. Among other examples, Mayo Clinic mentions the example of traffic. If you know driving in rush hour traffic will stress you out, consider ways to avoid it. Can you take a longer, less crowded route? Can you get up and leave for work earlier? Can you telecommute on some days? Can you take the train or bus and free-up that time in the day for less stressful pursuits?
If there's a toxic person in your life, you may not be able to avoid him or her, but perhaps you can put as much distances possible between the two of you. Avoiding physical proximity whenever possible may help short circuit that person's ability to make you tense.
Juggling a "to-do" list? Try prioritizing tasks. Label them according to urgency and importance. Use letters or colors to categorize tasks. On especially busy or stressful days, ignore or cross off minor tasks on the less-pressing "Green" items list, for example. Again, it's all about giving yourself permission to stop worrying about at least some things that are clamoring for your attention.
Just say no. "No" is both one of the simplest and most complex words in any language. It's one of the first words most children learn. Why, then, is it so hard for adults to say? I think women, especially, put a lot of pressure on themselves because we've internalized this belief that it's somehow wrong to say no. But sometimes no is in your and you family's best interest.
I'm not suggesting that you should withdraw from the world, or become selfish or unwilling to help. But your commitments need to be realistic., The next time someone asks you to take responsibility for something, weigh the issues before "yes" crosses your lips. Do you really have the time, energy or ability to justify that reflexive"yes?" You can't do it all. And you can't always say yes. Sometimes, it's okay to acknowledge your limits. Just say no.
The Mayo Clinic website. Healthy living page. Stress management. Accessed 2-13-14 from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044476