Monday Musings: Living a stress-managed life

I’ve taken time away from blogging for a variety reasons, some personal and some professional. This time of year is always busy as I settle into the groove of another school year – new students, new schedules, new routines. Life is hectic, but it is around this time of year, when the Florida summer finally melds into the beginnings of the milder dry season, that I get my energy back for other things. Like writing and blogging. Additionally, my personal life has taken some interesting turns – some positive and others more challenging. I’ve been journaling more during this time and avoiding most things social (media and real life).

Either way, the point of returning to this blog is not to dwell upon the challenging or tumultuous but rather to examine what I’ve learned and what I’ve been passionate about over the past few months, and to share this information with you, dear readers, whoever you are. Today’s post is focusing on self-growth and finding balance despite a busy life.

I love podcasts, and when I started listening to them a few years ago, I mostly selected those with a focus on Paleo (like Everyday Paleo and Balanced Bites). It was a new-ish way of eating for me, and I found many of these programs fascinating and rife with helpful information. These days, I don’t necessarily adhere strictly to that diet, but I’m still interested in health and wellness. That passion led me to discover other podcasters who teach about well-being but who aren’t necessarily committed to one particular philosophy. One of those shows I discovered is The Chalene Show, and over the past few months, I’ve immersed myself in all things Chalene Johnson.

Currently, I’m working my way through Chalene’s 30-day goal-setting program. Each day, I receive a link to a video that focuses on some small task or challenge designed to help you overcome whatever obstacles stand in your way of achieving your goals. Things like making a to-do list or learning how to coach yourself – seemingly simple tasks but powerful in their simplicity. I also download her podcast, which is also filled with motivational tips and actionable items. In addition to Chalene, I’ve been listening regularly to Hal Elrod’s podcast, as well as Shawn Stevenson‘s. Both also offer good advice on how to achieve goals and live a balanced life.

So, what is the secret to a stress-free life? A balanced life? A meaningful one? I don’t have the answers yet :), but I think it has a lot to do with living a stress-managed life. Life is life. Stress is stress. Shit hits the fan, and you’re left dealing with the mess. It happens, over and over. It has always been hard for me to accept that fact because I’ve always sought a stress-free life, always thought that if I had enough money, time, smarts, etc., I could engineer the perfectly balanced life, with little to no worries. Ha. Of course, I’ve known that was impossible in reality, but I always thought it a worthy goal, that maybe someday…. Nope. Stress and life go together. However, there is a realistic expectation that stress can be managed, that it doesn’t have to control my daily activities. And that’s what I’m working on now.

Here’s what I’ve found helps, so far. First, getting more sleep. My goal is eight hours, but I typically get between six and seven. I’m trying to turn out the lights earlier and limit my screen time. Even if I don’t sleep for as long as I’d like, the quality of my sleep has improved. Exercise is another good stress reliever. I recently started training for a four-mile race, and I’m up to running three miles, three days a week. Working through the goal-setting course has been also been beneficial, as I’m holding myself accountable to getting things done. Shorter list = less worry. I would like to meditate more and so am adding a five-minute afternoon session, just to see if it will help.

If you made it this far, thanks! I’ll be posting more about my wellness journey along with travel tales and book and listening recommendations. See you soon!

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