What’s your first thought when you see this? Ugh? Well, you’re not alone. Just looking at these images can bring on tension and negative remarks. Stressors like these are a part of our day-to-day lives — at work, home, and everything in-between. Add school and the holidays to the mix, and we’re bound to feel overwhelmed with stress at some point. Under the right circumstances, one more obstacle could push us over the edge. So how can we handle this? Here, I’ve come up with 6 A’s that will make you say “Ah” to stressful situations.
Note: This post was last updated October 14, 2021.
Pause, breathe, and take a moment to assess a situation. Evaluate whether it is within or beyond your control. For situations within your control, such as tasks, write them all down so you won’t forget and can see them. Get a clear picture of your workload.
Determine the size of tasks based on the amount of time and effort they will take to complete and the urgency of tasks based on their deadline. Arrange tasks by separating the big ones from the small ones. Break up the big ones into smaller ones. Prioritize tasks by deadline.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider asking for help. Reach out to someone willing and dependable. Request assistance with tasks that don’t require your personal touches, such as chores and errands. When planning for the holidays, ask family and friends for accommodations, such as a central meeting place and potluck meals.
For situations that seem beyond your control, ask for an exception. For example, if you are running late to a connection due to a flight delay and have come to a long line at the security checkpoint, ask other travelers if you can cut. If you explain the situation clearly and ask nicely, chances are your request will be granted.
Accept situations that are beyond your control and for which there are no exceptions. Acknowledge that getting worked up can be a waste of emotions and affect your health. Remind yourself by asking, “Is this worth my energy?” Express your frustrations, find a way to cope or be productive, and then move on. For instance, if you’re stuck in traffic due to an accident, let your boss or teacher know and listen to music, an audiobook, a podcast, or call a friend in the meantime. Use hands-free devices.
Act on tasks, starting with the most urgent ones. Then, dive into the big ones to at least gain exposure. Nothing’s worse than waiting until the last minute to get familiar with a project that entails a lot more than you expected, leading you to pull an all-nighter and turn in incomplete work. No matter how overwhelming something seems, don’t be afraid of it; get your feet wet early. For example, in school, read your course syllabi and about your assignments at the beginning of the semester.
As you work on big tasks, complete small ones. Finishing small tasks can give you the confidence and encouragement to stay on top of the big ones.
Try to avoid stressful situations as much as possible by being prepared and organized. Wind down and go to bed early so you can get a full night’s rest. Wake up early and fully so you can plan your day effectively and efficiently and react to obstacles quickly. Leave and arrive early so you can beat crowds. Be aware of local weather, traffic, and health and safety updates. Ensure equipment, files, and supplies are in good repair and stored properly so they are ready to use when you need them.
Take care of yourself. For examples of self-care, read this post. Note that exercise helps with keeping a positive outlook on problems and problem solving, and too much caffeine can have you chasing your tail or feeling like a zombie. Be in the moment so you don’t end up checking your home multiple times before leaving it, and try not to bite off more than you can chew over the holidays.
Do you know anyone who is experiencing increased stress between school, work, home, and the holidays and could benefit from these 6 A’s to relieve stressful situations? They’re not alone! Share your relatable comments and this post below, or pin for later!