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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Lacking in fundraising ideas, especially when you have a lot on your plate is particularly common. But continued stress and anxiety can lead to burnout which makes coming up with fresh ideas on a regular basis problematic.

So, how can you tell you are at risk of burnout?

The smallest things can annoy you

Do you notice you have a short fuse? Is your nonprofit team rubbing you up the wrong way? Then you might well be on the way to suffering from burnout. There are annoyances, and there are annoyances, but if even the smallest of issues is causing a lot of frustration, it is time to take a step back. If not rectified, a serious argument over literally nothing will ensue. Go for a walk, take a nap or even schedule some leave before this little problem generates into a huge one.

You are tired all day every day

If you are feeling tired, all day, every day then you could be facings signs of burnout. Exhaustion is a symptom which can often accompany anxiety, and it can all add up to the fact that you need complete rest and a break from work. Take care of yourself, sleep well, eat healthily and exercise regularly. Caring for yourself or even asking for help will go a long way to aiding your recovery. If exhaustion continues, you may find that one day you can barely get out of bed at all.

Failure to concentrate on the task at hand

When you are overworked and overly emotional, it can negatively affect your concentration in the office. You may find you are more forgetful than usual or you just are unable to focus on the task in front of you. Make sure you take your lunch breaks and stand up and stretch every hour. Movement can help you clear your mind, especially when you have been sitting down for an extended period. Even a 20-minute walk can improve your ability to concentrate.

You are consistently putting in long hours

There are times when you may find that longer hours are necessary and that’s okay. But if you find you are continuously putting in the long hours, then you will soon find yourself overworked and very tired. While you may use up some of your time on the weekend to plan strategies or research donors, doing it often and on a regular basis can take a toll on your overall well-being. Take a break when you can and learn to say no more often. Working overtime will just make you feel more tired and have a negative effect on your productivity in the long-term.

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fashion-person-woman-handEach and every one of us, whether we realise it or not, has a set of values instilled in our lives. These values determine our beliefs and actions as we go about life, and even affect the decisions we make, like the jobs we do, and where and how we live.

Which is precisely why knowing your values can help to reduce the stress in your life. To be clear, it’s not going to stop stressful things from happening, however having this understanding can provide you with a perspective and even a reason as to why you’re doing what you’re doing.

In fact, this is the main reason that awareness of values is important for stress reduction. Without understanding, even at a very high level, why you do what you do can leave you feeling as though you’re floating through life, without any real direction or purpose. Thus, when the going gets tough, or the day goes off the rails, this feeling of having no purpose can be amplified.

Just for a moment, have a good hard think about what you do during your day, the activities you undertake and the people you are working with, or for. If you have a job, think carefully about why you work in the field or industry you work in.

If you’re studying, why did you choose that particular subject or course? If you volunteer in any capacity, what is it that motivated you to put your hand up?

You may come up with words like “care”, or “wanting to help others”. It may be that you don’t like the way the industry is currently going, and you want to contribute to make it more professional or sustainable or ethical. Maybe you do like the way it’s going and want to be a part of it, and love the innovation or forward thinking it displays.

There are a hundred and more words that you can choose from to define your values, but you will find, if you think carefully, a handful that really define yours. What you do in your daily life, what drives you and inspires you will help to guide you.

Once you have some clarity around these values; be it truth and integrity, care and compassion, sustainability and ethics, or adventure and fun (or any of a hundred more values), you gain immediate reason and direction when life, or the day, does go off the rails.

It can remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing, and give you a point of reference on which to focus, or continue to focus as you look to getting back on track. It is akin to have a cause you care about, or a difference you want to make, and in some cases, it’s exactly the same thing.

When you have a focal point, and a way to scale the hurdles and navigate your way back to your path, you’ll find that stress is considerably reduced. You’re no longer wafting about in an ocean, unsure of where you’re headed, and worrying about how to get back.

Instead, you are able to remind yourself of your purpose, and the good you are doing for others throughout your day.

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Are there times in the day or week where you have just simply hit the wall? Your day may have started off badly. Someone may have annoyed you or you are just having one of those days when everything seems to be going wrong.

Sometimes this can also happen when working from home or in a small office where you are the sole person facing these issues and where there is no assistance or support from others.

When this happens and you feel you have hit the wall what do you do?

How do you manage yourself and address these issues?

Some people simply knuckle down and just get on with it whereas others may need to take a break.

Sometimes you just need to walk away and give yourself some breathing space. Head down to the local coffee shop and catch up with some friends. Go for a walk or the gym for some exercise or even just sit back and listen to some music.

Constantly struggling to meet deadlines can be tiring and while in some cases deadlines can’t be changed, there are many that can easily be changed with a simple phone call. Just having an extra day to complete the work can give you a bit of breathing space that can alleviate some of the pressure and stress.

The important issue is that sometimes you need to recognise when you have hit the wall and be able to do something about it.

What do you do to take care of yourself and your stress levels?

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iStock_000003345530XSmallHow many times have you desperately torn through the mess of things on your countertop, desk and drawers looking for your car keys, or some important document? How many times have you been late for an appointment because you couldn’t find what you needed before you left home? How many times have you arrived to a presentation dishevelled and ill-prepared? These are just some of the many consequences that come from having too much physical and even mental clutter in our lives.

Over time, the stress from having to deal with these consequences takes a great toll on our lives. Even now, medical researchers are finding that stress is one of the main culprits in a host of illnesses from high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke to anxiety, depression, premature aging and cognitive decline. Having too much clutter is a costly proposition and it can pay to pare down on the clutter in our lives, restore order and find enjoyment in simpler things.

When it comes to our physical possessions, it can really pay for us to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Many of us have an emotional attachment to some of the possessions that we acquire. If you find that you just can’t clean and part with any of your things, it may pay you to hire a professional organiser to help you sift through your belongings and mementos so that you keep and preserve the truly special ones and dispose of the rest.

For others, you may just have picked up some bad habits along the way, or just become too busy. If you fall into this category consider going through your belongings one drawer, one room at a time and asking yourself if you really need or use the items it contains. If you haven’t used something in a year, help it find a new home. Donate it to a shelter, or other charity that could perhaps either use the object directly or that could sell it to raise funds to stay in operation. Before you buy something new and bring it home, get rid of something that you already own so that you will have a place for it. Stop saving items that you don’t use and really don’t need.

Remember, you will have a much less stressful life if you get rid of your clutter and take some time to organise your things. You will also be able to find things more quickly and easily so that you have more time for things that truly matter, such as spending time with your family and friends. You will have a place to invite your loved ones too if you get rid of the clutter and you will save money when you aren’t spending it on duplicates of things that you already own but can’t find for all of the clutter.

Less is truly more. Start living more abundantly today by getting rid of some of your stuff and resolving not to replace it with more things.

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Stress is an inevitable part of life.  We live with it on a daily basis.  Everything that happens to us, whether positive or negative, brings out a specific response from our body.  This is what we call stress.

But not all stress is bad.  Being exposed to stress also has advantages.  A healthy dose of it can make life more challenging and exciting, and who wouldn’t want that, right?  Stress can also help keep us focused on the things we need to accomplish.  It helps us become more organized, and for some stress can help them come up with good ideas and improve performance.

However, there are also those who experience too much stress and that can lead to negative results.  It can make you sick, irritable and unproductive.  It can also make you more prone to diseases.  If you are struggling at the moment there are things you can do to help ease your response to pressure.  It involves doing something for yourself even though that is likely to be the last thing on your mind

1. Save some time for yourself.  Engage in a favourite sport, read a book, take long bubble baths, or get a massage.  You’re not just an employee, parent, or spouse.  Sometimes you need to take a break from being all of these and just be you.

2. Engage in an invigorating physical activity.  Exercise, walk around the block, hike a trail, or play a sport.  Sweat all the stress out of your body and keep yourself healthy.

3. Learn how to say no.

4. Eat well.  Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, sugar and junk food.

5. Meditate and relax.  Do yoga or slow stretching exercises to help you calm down.

If you won’t do any of those things, at least stop and have a laugh…..

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