Have you ever experienced a moment when you feel so stressed out, you aren’t sure what your next move should be? I know I have. I actually felt like that two weeks ago. I was overwhelmed and I needed a glass of wine and 15-hour nap. But with two kids, a husband, and a 101 things to get done, that just wasn’t going to happen. I barely had enough energy to enjoy a glass of wine.

The good thing is, my super high stress level didn’t last for long. I try to keep things that way. You see, stress in low doses isn’t bad, Many would argue it’s actually good for you, and I agree. Stress helps you determine what your coping mechanisms are and it definitely keep you on your toes.

But chronic stress–the kind that just takes over your life–well… I’m not with it. I think chronic stress can lead to weigh gain, anxiety, low confidence, unhealthy habits. and even depression. If being stressed out is the state you find yourself in ALL THE TIME, something has to change.

And I don’t care if you have kids or not. I don’t care if you’re married or single. I don’t even care if you work for “the man” or have your own business. I don’t care what the specifics of your life are because the truth is, we all have something. Whether it’s a damaged relationship, a sick mama, or some other element of life that has our stress levels going through the roof, we have to get a grip on it. We have to shift how we think and how we live. We have to make a change.

So how do you change things? First, you have to know the source of the stress. And be honest with yourself. Don’t act like your boss is the biggest problem in your life when you know your health is failing or your marriage is suffering. Be real, because anything less will ultimately add to the stress load. I mean, do you want to be stressed out about being a liar, too?

Once you are clear on what the source of the stress is, you can begin to determine what you can do to manage the stress in your life. The tips I’m about to offer won’t fix your life. Sorry, but as candid as I am, I am no Iyanla (although a gig on OWN sure would be sweet). But I do believe these tips can help you manage stress a little bit better. They can help you think about what’s really going on with you, big or small, and what you can do to address those issues.

When stress takes over, you start to lose sight of what you once had and you can’t focus much on what it is that you want out of life. Do you need to GET YOUR LIFE? If you are reading this, you probably do. So let’s see if I can help you get it. You deserve that and more, right? I think you do.

Here are 5 really useful tips that will help you manage stress and get your life back.

Put yourself first… like for real.

I  know, I know. Put yourself first, focus on self-care… blah, blah, blah, right? But listen, the reason we hear it so often is because it’s the truth. If you keep neglecting your health, or putting your needs last, your stress level will only increase. When was the last time you did things just for YOU, and actually did them consistently? A spa visit every year doesn’t count. You need to consistently make your health and your needs a priority. By doing so, you have a much better chance of coping with all the madness life can dish your way, which will ultimately reduce the amount of stress you’re under.

Eliminate the source of stress.

Okay, that sounds kind of harsh, but oh well. Listen, sometimes we allow stressors into our lives when we can have the ability to get rid of them. And the reasons why we keep them there vary. Maybe we feel obligated. Maybe we are scared of hurting someone’s feelings or making them angry. Or maybe we are just plain scared about what will happen when we are bold enough to take a stand and say, “look, I just don’t need this in my life anymore. I’m DONE!”  If you have the power to remove something from your life that brings you a lot of stress, take advantage of that opportunity because we often don’t have that luxury. We often have to find a way to just mange. Whenever possible, remove it instead. Who has time to manage things that don’t have to (or need to) be there anyway.

quote about stress

Feed your soul.

I sent an email to my subscribers recently about a much-needed conversation I had with my best friend and how that conversation was food for my soul. What are you doing to feed your soul? Are you just pushing through every day, hoping you make it to the next? Are you worn out and depleted, never taking the time you really need to fill yourself back up? Walking through life like this just adds to your stress level and it’s really no way to live. Find out what makes you feel good–actually great–and make the time in your life for it.

Ask for help.

I hate asking for help sometimes. It’s not that I don’t see the value in being helped, because I certainly do. I just hate being a bother. I hate feeling like I am inconveniencing someone. And after all, if someone really wants to help me they just will–without me having to ask, right? WRONG! I learned that the hard way. The people who love you are not mind readers and they shouldn’t have to be. if you need help, just say you need help. Simple, right? Stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and wondering why no one is helping you carry it when you never even asked for help.

Say no.

I LOVE saying NO. Is that sick? Personally, I think it’s pretty freakin’ healthy. I do not have the time or the mental capacity to say yes to everything. If saying no means a few people don’t like me, I am totally cool with that. I don’t need everyone to like me. I need to be sane. I need to raise my kids well. I need to pour into my marriage. I need to nurture my friendships. I need to grow my business. I need to share my gifts with the world. I need to help others shine. I need to honor God. But, for the last time, I do NOT need to say yes all the time. If you don’t love me when I say no, you never really loved me anyway. If you are mad because I can’t come to something, you’ll get over it in time if you need to be in my life. I see way too many women run themselves into the ground, trying to be everything to everyone. I’m not with it. I’m cool with just being me. People may not be happy about that, but if asked to change my opinion on the matter, I will, unapologetically, say No. 🙂

What do you plan to do to THIS WEEK to manage stress and get your life?