Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stress? Enough with that mess!

I hate to see my friends stressed. I hate to be stressed. Being a twenty-something means my friends and I are at a stage of life experiencing myriad stresses; especially this time of year. Finals, taxes, projects at work, student loan payments, and spring cleaning are enough to make anyone feel like their plate is overflowing. In fact, 44% of 18-29 year-olds experience stress.

According to the World Health Organization, stress is the #1 health problem in America. By age and gender: 46% of 30-49 year-olds, 43% of full-time workers, 46% of part-time workers, 40% of women, 35% of men suffer from stress. This basically means that stress for us 20-somethings probably isn’t going anywhere. However, everyone should be proactive about managing stress in their lives.

In my experience, the best method of stress management is time management. Remember your planner from grade school? Adults have them too. All the cool kids have them. I would never be able to keep track of all the ideas whirling in my head and projects at work without my trusty planner. They’re not expensive either -prices range from as little as $6.00 standard paper stock to a few hundred bucks “apps” for various “smart” phones. When everything is carefully planned out you can allocate the necessary time for each item on your to-do list, which can alleviate stress.

Lists are another great way to reduce stress. Similar to time management, managing your priorities can reduce anxiety. Bounty® has a free list creating tool customizable for you, your kids (if you have any), or your “honey” (if you have one)! This is a very practical way to manage one’s life and reduce stress (isn’t crossing things off fun?).

Time management and prioritizing can be useful in our personal lives and at work, but sometimes other people have more control over these elements of our lives than is good for our stress levels. How can we create lists if we don’t even know what is due and when? Sometimes, we need to manage our managers. When it comes to projects at work and in classes, we need to ask for a deadline if one isn’t provided. Since I’m a planner and a list-maker, I regularly ask when something is due and what priority level it is so I can allocate time efficiently for all assignments. Meeting deadlines certainly reduces my stress.

These are just three practical ways to manage your stress by managing your life. Some great websites that offer even more stress-busting tips are:

In the meantime…this may make you smile and give you a stress free moment today.

Jessica Stutzman has a Bachelor of Arts in Security and Intelligence from The Ohio State University and is an administrative assistant at Research!America. She has previously contributed to New Voices on women's issues.

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