Easing Stress | Making Lists

Not surprisingly, December is the month when the number one issue for almost everyone I see in health coaching appointments is stress. The end of the year brings all kinds of compounded feelings – goals not being met…work not getting finished by years end…running out of time for all of those social engagements that creep up. Although this truly is one of the most joyful times of year, for many people this can be the most stressful as increased responsibilities suck away any extra time and leave many people feeling frantic and stressed out.

Every time we say “Yes” to something, we’re saying “No” to ten other things. This is the season of “yes”- to hosting guests, attending holiday parties, traveling to see family, cramming in extra work, etc. This month fills up in the blink of an eye. But remember not to lose perspective of the bigger health picture.

“Health” is a multi-faceted thing. It’s not just the foods you eat or the supplements you take. Health is overall how you take care of yourself and the practices that you put in place to make sure those self care practices are met. This includes how you feed yourself. How you meet your fitness goals. How you feel emotionally. How your nurture yourself. How you manage stress. How you practice saying “no”. Each one of these takes a little time and intention every day, and sometimes we can use gentle reminders to keep on sticking with it.

When busy months like this start, I coach people to MAKE LISTS. Write everything down so you can visually see what you’re saying yes to and know when to cut yourself off and play the “NO” card. Here’s how I do it:

Keep a small notebook, planner or journal with you everywhere you go.

In this planner, have a page for each day, and every time you schedule something or commit to something, write this down.

Each day should also include your responsibilities for those days as well, including grocery shopping, preparing dinner, going to work, dropping off the mail, getting the car inspected, wrapping gifts, making dessert of the party the following day, keeping your appointments, picking the kids up from school, etc etc.

Your days fill up extremely quickly when you visually see what you’ve got scheduled in. Without seeing it, we often say a quick “yes!” When something else comes along or when someone asks us to add one more thing to the day, and this is where overwhelm happens.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You have control over your schedule and your time, and saying “no” is a powerful tool that you’re likely not utilizing enough. Remember, your time is the most valuable thing you have, so commit to being extremely selective when giving it away.

Making lists is one of the best and most efficient practices to keep us on track and seriously help our strained memories when our schedules get more packed the usual. I encourage you to give it a try this month and see how it works for you!


Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com

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