Jacki’s Journey: Getting Ready for the Stress Less Challenge

By Guest Blogger Jacki Dooley, DPH State Lab

Stress is something we all experience – and often struggle to manage.  For this reason, the WellMASS Stress Less Challenge is currently being rolled out at agencies all across the state, providing employees with the tools and information they need to help manage their stress.  Tools and information are useful, but real-life inspiration is often the motivation we need to start – and continue – working toward our stress management (or any other wellness-related) goals.  For the next month, we are fortunate to have DPH State Lab Wellness Champion Jacki Dooley share her personal experience participating in the Stress Less Challenge.  In her weekly posts, Jacki will share her successes and struggles, as well as her tips and tricks for getting stress levels under control.  Look for Jacki’s posts every Wednesday, and feel free to share your own experiences with the Challenge in the Comments section.

Be patient, don’t stress; I am a first time blogger!  The Stress Less Challenge is upon us.  Can you think of a better time of year to have a stress challenge with the holidays looming?! 

Over the next month I am going to share with you which techniques worked to help me stress less.  I will also let you know how I applied these techniques into my daily routine.  I know I cannot avoid stress but do hope this challenge will steer me in the right direction toward having stress reduced in my daily life.  I’ve looked over the Stress Less Activities/Techniques List and have learned a few things already.  Number One:  Caffeine and I might have to take a break from each other (although most likely not!).  Number Two:  Seek those that make me laugh.  Haven’t we always been told laughter is the best medicine?  Number Three (my favorite): Learn to delegate!  I’m one of those people who must do everything on my own because I think it will cause me less stress, which ends up stressing me out even more with the added work. 

Take the first steps to reducing your stress by trying to create a balanced schedule at work.  Don’t over-commit yourself.  Prioritize what needs to be done.  Take a 5-minute break from your desk every hour.   Even if it is a walk around your office, it will be good for you to get up and move.  Physical movement alone can help to reduce stress.  I highly recommend taking a yoga class to de-stress.  You feel so calm and relaxed at the end of each class.  Even just a few minutes of practicing yoga breathing techniques during the workday can do wonders (it also works great when you are sitting in traffic!).  It was also nice to see that there are foods we can eat that are known to be stress-reducing.  The list provided in the Challenge kit is great – healthy foods which will help me get ready for the stress of the next group challenge after the holidays….the WellMASS Weight Loss Challenge! 

So, here’s to a successful first week for all of us who are trying to reduce and/or manage stress in our lives.  If you see my blog next week, you’ll know I managed to survive week one of the Stress Less Challenge!

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