Do you hit snooze every morning? Is coffee a MUST in order to thrive each day? Are you irritable, snappy with your spouse/kids? You might be burnt out.
Ever heard of microstressors? A microstressor is something that happens in your day that gives you a small jolt of cortisol. It stresses your body but comes across cognitively as an annoyance, irritation or inconvenience. Examples would be: your alarm clock going off when you’re in the middle of a REM cycle, your spouse asking you to do something for them when you’re already running late, a child telling you at 7 PM they have a science experiment due that night or they need a certain shirt, brownies or something else for the next day, a car pulling out in front of you on the way to work, spilling your coffee, etc. Anything that makes you have to pivot or utter curse words under your breath.
Your body is only equipped to handle 40 microstressors per day. 40. If you hit snooze each morning, that’s another microstressor for each time your alarm goes off. That being said, think of how many times you experience a microstressor each day. Is it more than 40? Anything more than 40 causes your body to release extra cortisol (public enemy number 1) into your system causing belly fat, exhaustion in emotional, physical and mental form, and a taxation on your adrenal glands. Tired, cranky and out of energy and patience all the time? Now you know why. All of these extra microstressors lead to burn out and chronic stress. Chronic stress then leads to chronic health problems.
So how do you overcome them?
1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep. The recommended amount is 6-8 but 7-9 are needed to thrive, not just function. Turn off electronics at least 1 hour before bed. Get a diffuser or sound machine. STOP hitting SNOOZE!
2. Meet your other physiological needs- food, air, water, homeostasis. If those needs aren’t filled, you can’t concentrate on anything. Kids are the same way by the way. My 10 year old didn’t go to sleep until late last night and this morning, I think I heard at least 10 times in 2 hours how tired he was while he was trying to concentrate on school work. Kids need between 11-13 hours of sleep every night to thrive too. Ever tried to have a serious conversation when you’re hungry? Doesn’t work so well, does it?
3. Eat healthy, enough and often. When your brain is depleted from nutrients, you can’t concentrate and everything is more intense.
4. Exercise but if you’re exhausted, don’t try to do a HIIT or something strenuous. Do yoga or go for a nature walk.
5. Socialize with friends. 2 hours a week with friends can increase happiness by 40%! Encourage your spouse to go on that guys/girls weekend! They’ll come back refreshed and be a better spouse/parent.
6. Progress over perfection. There’s a difference in being a perfectionist and just living in fear and “perfect” doesn’t actually exist anyway!
7. Deep breaths. Search cosmic yoga for a fun resource for your kids to calm down. For you, 5 deep breaths every 3 hours, indulging in a hobby, journaling, meditation. All of these are fantastic!
8. Time management. Prioritize, let go of the small stuff (does it really matter if your spouse didn’t fold the towels right? They fit in the cupboard, they’re folded and you didn’t have to do it. Let it go), delegate, partner up, share the resources you have, stop trying to reinvent the wheel…see number 6 on the perfectionist thing.
9. When you or your child are having a meltdown, ask “what need isn’t being met here”? What do you need?
10. Set expectations clearly, early and often. Talk to your kids about your expectations for the day during breakfast. Talk to your spouse about your expectations for budgeting at the beginning of the month, for the job you’re requesting they do before they start it, etc.
If you need more information on microstressors or expectations, I’ve done a video on both in the facebook group. Feel free to join and check them out! I do free coaching in that group 2-3x a week every week!
Otherwise, I hope this has helped and I wish you a weekend filled with less stress!