Well, it's that time of year again! Time for family, friends, food, and...stress. Just to keep things spicy, this holiday season has also arrived on the heels of a very tumultuous election. If the ladle to your bucket of goodwill and stress tolerance is scraping the bottom, I have a few tips to replenish your stores.
Believe it or not, having an entirely stress free life is not necessarily always a good thing. Stress keeps us in motion, nudging us out of our comfort zone and helping us grow. It serves as a motivator, prodding us toward positive change. Successfully coping with stress builds our confidence, too, so we're better prepared to face the bigger challenges that may come our way. Tolerating stress is important no matter what your life looks like right now, but especially when you are facing an exit out of your comfort zone, whether that exit has been pushed upon you or you've chosen it.
Taking on risks, wrestling with challenges, and giving yourself the opportunity to succeed and to grow, is definitely where the stress occurs, but it's also where the magic happens. With challenge comes stress, and to be effective outside your comfort zone, you need to be able to handle that stress. Stress tolerance is a vital emotional intelligence skill because it provides you with a toolkit for coping. It gives you perspective, so you don't overreact when things go wrong. It helps you stay healthier, because stress tolerance helps control anxiety and its physical side effects, like high blood pressure. It helps you get comfortable with adversity, you widen your tolerance for stress - which, in turn, increases your ability to take on risks and meet goals.
How to Replenish Your Stress Tolerance
1. Use all your allotted vacation time.
2. Stop checking your work email after hours and working on weekends.
3. Remember you are not alone; don't be afraid to turn to others for help.
4. Get outside: The fresh air will help clear your head and give you a new perspective.
5. Prepare your body to handle stress by eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep.
6. Make exercising a regular part of your routine and increase the chances of sticking with it by doing something you love (be creative!)
7. Cultivate a hobby that you can enjoy on weekends or a few times a month.
8. Practice gratitude. Make it a habit to reflect each day on the good in your life and everything you have to be thankful for.
No one's life is free of stress. Maybe you have been caught off guard by a surprise crisis, or you are feeling the pressure of too much work, or maybe you're in a time of self-directed growth right now. Even if you've been fortunate enough never to have your world rocked by true crisis, isn't it better to build more tolerance now, so you're prepared when the unexpected happens? Stress tolerance also helps you navigate the regular day by day with more poise and joy. By building your reserves of stamina, you empower yourself to get through life's challenges more quickly and more effectively.