“Mr. Policies and Procedures”
My wife coined the phrase for me some years ago, as I was always creating systems for daily life. From morning supplementation and nighttime wind-down routines to filing documents, I have a procedure for almost everything.
Crazy? Maybe. Funny. Well, sadly, yes.
But, in the end, I feel like I’m in control of my own life. And I’ll be happy to admit, I’m addicted to systems, policies, and procedures.
They help me maintain a sense of calmness because I know I can always fall back to what I know, if I veer off the path.
You could say the mentality has a flair of OCD, or maybe a touch of the control freak! And you would be correct. It’s part of my personality to like order and cleanliness.
There have been times that I have gone go too far and then had to snap back to the other side of reality. But, as I’ve matured, I feel like I’ve found a happy medium.
But there is one critical aspect of life that this helps with the most: stress!
Stress can wreak havoc on your body and mind. It was a big factor in my final major flare up from Crohn’s disease. One that was so bad that I stopped at nothing to avoid resection surgery.
It also gave me the epiphany that I needed to learn how to change my ways to find balance during daily life.
Let’s face the facts, stress happens all the time. It’s part of everyone’s life. If you are an athlete, stay-at-home mom, or a general nine-to-fiver, then I’m reasonably sure you have experienced stress.
And you probably felt some of the symptoms:
The list keeps going and going.
Listen up, people! Stress can destroy your ability to live a happy and healthy life. It can take a perfectly reasonable person and completely derail his or her personality. It can cause people to shut down, withdraw, and even worse.
But there are simple policies and procedures you can implement to help manage stress during daily life.
If you get things in order, you will feel much calmer and clear-minded when stress actually flares up. It will allow you to sort through the issue and stay grounded, rather than fly off the map.
Here are some of my top To Dos for alleviating stress:
Clean Out Your Inbox
Some people have no problem seeing 8,456 emails in their inbox. And if you can sort through the madness, then good for you! But I highly recommend getting your emails in order.
Create proper folders and avenues to save essential emails. Take some time every day to clean out your inbox and remove yourself from email lists that aren’t relevant. I know this can be momentarily tedious, but it will go a long way towards maintaining control of your projects and life.
Stress can easily keep your mind running in high gear. And when you lay your head down at night, stress has the tendency to keep the wheels turning. It can also create forgetfulness and scatterbrain. (Read: Mindfulness And Supplementation)
Take a few minutes to unwind a couple of times a day. Make sure you give yourself an extended session before bedtime. Take a deep breath, go for a quick walk (this is great if you’re on a phone call), or just enjoy the warmth of the sun. It doesn’t take much.
I completely understand the feeling. You’re tired after a long day and night of work. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends for weeks, and you just don’t feel like flossing and brushing your teeth for the recommended two minutes. You just want to go to sleep!
Take care of yourself. There is only one of you in this world. If you get sick during stressful times, then it will just add to the problems. Give yourself the proper time to hit all hygiene requirements in the morning and evening.
You may not realize it, but it will save you time from a variety of potential issues:
Avoid Massive Amounts of Caffeine
When people get stressed, they have a tendency to sleep less because they are either working late or dealing with stress-induced insomnia. When this happens, they often reach for more coffee, tea, or energy drinks, to get the boost needed to make it through the day.
Keep your caffeine levels in check. If you have a long day ahead and know you’ll be up into the night, I understand another small jolt of energy can help, but be mindful. There is no need for another 6 cups of Joe! (Read: Caffeine Consumption And Cycling)
Complete One Task at a Time
It’s easy to get sidetracked if you are getting bombarded by tasks or people looking for your attention. Staying focused is vital when you are trying to claw your way out of a hole. It’s too easy to lose track of where you are when things are coming at you from all directions.
When a new task pops up, write it down, but continue to focus on the item at hand. Finish that first, before moving to the next. You’ll be surprised how that will change the quality of your work.
Stick to Your Diet and Supplementation
I see you, staring down that cookie. You just want to devour it because you tell yourself you deserve it. You’ve had a long day, and you want a reward. Your functional medicine practitioner prescribed a diet free of gluten, but you want to break the plan.
There are times and places for a slip-up, but when you’re buried in work up to your eyeballs, you need to stay the course. Deviation from your protocol will create more issues instead of relief. Maybe that gluten was the reason you have brain fog? Pretty sure this isn’t the time for that issue! (Read: Managing Health And Wellness When Traveling)
Stress is a real problem. For some, it only takes a small amount to derail their daily life. The variance in people’s tolerance is vast. Some people can handle immense amounts of pressure, and others not so much.
In the end, stick to your daily routines and policies. Don’t forget to take a breather every now and again, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Get up from the desk and look out the window, call your loved ones to talk, or listen to your favorite song.
Sticking to your policies and procedures will go a long way towards maintaining a clear mind during stressful times. This will allow you to focus on the problem or work at hand, instead of wasting time dealing with unwanted issues.
Never give up!