Three little words to ease life's stresses

COPING

April 07, 1992|By Barbara Turk, M.S. | Barbara Turk, M.S.,Contributing Writer

Life is overwhelming you right now. The stress is really getting you down. Things at work aren't going well; things at home are even worse. It seems as though there's no place where you can get a breather from these relentless problems. How are you going to get through it all?

That's a very important question to deal with. When the job front and the home front are in chaos at the same time, you are left with no place to catch your breath. Your energy and serenity go down, and your stress goes up. To handle things adequately under those circumstances is tough, so you need to help yourself as much as possible. To do so, keep three words in mind:

* Postpone: Table all non-essentials until the crisis is past. For example, have no friends in for dinner until the family problems are dealt with. This will clear the decks and give you focus.

* Prioritize: List problems in ranking order as to urgency, and act on them accordingly. For example, get the report in on time and then tackle the new project. This will give you a sense of control and order.

* Play: While your tendency may be to devote all your time to the things that are stressing you, take an occasional break. For example, take a few hours for a sports activity (movement helps reduce stress). So doing will give you renewed energy and a fresh perspective.

Facing stress simultaneously in the major areas of your life is very difficult. But by dealing with essentials (and getting some counseling help if it gets too rough) you'll make it through.

Barbara Turk is a psychotherapist in private practice.

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