Stress Less, Says My Health Guardian

In preparation for my exciting new training program next week, I signed up for a free online health check and support today. It’s called HCF’s My Health Guardian and covers all bases, from medical and family history over healthy living and eating to current body shape.

My end score showed I was at minimal risk. Apparently, I’m “actively working for optimal personal health outcomes over [my] lifetime”. But there were certain risk areas the test identified, one of which was stress management. As a freelancer, it can be hard to stay focussed and “unworry”.

For anyone juggling their tasks or careers like me,  HCF’s website provided some handy tips to get on top of your workload and maintain a balance between personal and work life:

  • Become aware of where your time is going – Keep track of your time for at least a week. Write down how much time you spend on the phone, watching TV, shopping, cleaning, taking breaks at work, etc. Once you have this list completed, analyse it and work on possible changes.
  • Delegate your work – If you are over-whelmed with all your responsibilities let your co-workers, boss, or family members know and ask them to assist you.
  • Set priorities and stay focused on them – Use the “ABC Method” to make a to-do list of all the things that need to get done. You categorize each task as either A, B, or C.
    • A = absolutely must get done
    • B = should get done, but could wait
    • C = would be nice to get to, but doesn’t really matter
    • Then you rank the tasks in priority for each category (e.g. A1, A2, B1, B2) and get to work. Even if you only get to one of the items on your list, you still took care of the most essential items.
  • Stop Procrastinating – Procrastination is a huge time and energy drainer.
  • Automate Tasks – There are a lot of administrative tasks that you can automate (e.g. automatic bill payment, auto deposit, using a cleaning service, etc.).
  • Set Strong Boundaries – Take responsibility for creating stronger boundaries with your family members and co-workers. Set guidelines for when you can and cannot be interrupted. Communicate your policy to others and then stick to it.
  • Do Not Over-Commit – Learn to say NO, with a smile and a firm conviction. Make sure you have plenty of time to get your work done first and that whatever you commit to is within your physical and emotional abilities. Then if you can spare some time to help others, that’s fine.
  • Schedule Time by Blocks rather than Tasks – Simply allot a given amount of time to a specific task, then move on to the next task. This ensures that you will make measurable progress on each assignment without getting stressed out.
  • Be Patient with Yourself – Incorporating these new methods requires constant practice. Even if things don’t go the way you desire, recognize it and work on doing it better the next time. Everything happens in little steps, one after the other, over and over, through time.

If they hadn’t added be patient with yourself as the last step, I can guarantee you I would have just ended up procrastinating over changing my stress management, drawn up endless to-do lists and spoiled my good result in the health test by eating lots of chocolate while doing so.

Byron at Byron

As it is, I’ll give it a whirl over the coming weeks which will see me doing a cert III in fitness and Pilates instructor course, train for an adventurous new TV series and continue my modelling and journalistic work… It’s high time to start prioritising.

Or maybe I’ll just book myself into a nice spa?

(Pic courtesy of The Byron At Byron)

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