My Season of Stress

I love Gretchen Rubin’s podcast “Happier” where she and her sister Elizabeth Craft talk about strategies to increase happiness and build better habits. Episode 167 caught my attention particularly when they discussed the “Season of Stress” – a period of time that you know will be particularly busy and stressful for whatever reason – and I realised that  the months of September and October are my Season of Stress every year because this is when we complete the year end processes at work, draft the annual financial statements and host auditors for a week whilst they check our work.

This year the stress has ramped up because of two additional activities:

  • I’ve taken on a second job marking mock exams for accountancy students for an exam sitting at the beginning of November;
  • I’ve started a year long training course at work and as part of this I have to give a presentation to the Board of Directors in the middle of October.

This is a lot of pressure in a small period of time but knowing this I went back to the Happier Podcast Episode 167 for ideas on how to cope more effectively during this busy period and keep my stress levels down. Here is a summary plus some of my own ideas:

  • Prepare meals ahead of time
  • Let people know and get them on board
  • Accept help when offered and let them know that it is only for a short period of time
  • Eliminate as many decisions as possible e.g. plan what you are going to wear for work
  • Prepare an SOS bag with helpful items e.g. snacks, stress ball, meditative quotes
  • Wake up earlier to gain a little more time OR prepare everything the night before and spend an extra 30 minutes asleep
  • Prioritise what is critical in the moment (postpone anything not urgent)
  • Set boundaries e.g. on communication
  • Use dry shampoo (haha! already on board with this one!)
  • Schedule something nice after the end of the deadline
  • Have a mantra e.g. this too shall pass
  • Avoid bad habits if tempted to make you feel better

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These were all great ideas and this is how I’ll be applying them to my own Season of Stress:

  • Complete food shop online
  • Batch cook meals in advance to keep in the freezer
  • Prepare a weeks worth of outfits for work and the gym every Sunday
  • Wake up 15 minutes early to meditate and complete the 5 minute journal
  • Get out of the office at lunch time even if it is just for a 10 minute walk
  • Do not say yes to any more activities before the end of October and let people know that I am busy until November
  • Booked staycation activities for the half term break
  • Go to the gym in my lunch time twice per week
  • Complete health app activities each evening (I’m trying Noom out and will report back in another post)
  • Restrict emails checking to no more than twice per day

When is your Season of Stress? Have you got any other suggestions to help me cope during my Season of Stress?


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