Reduce stress by saying “YES!”



Image: © kline

If you actually pulled your hair out every time you had the thought to do so, you’d be bald. Right? There are days when you just can’t get home fast enough to beat up your overstuffed pillow. These thoughts and impulses are easy indicators that your situation has become too stressful.

Life gets crazy, and stress happens. To everyone.

The important thing is to know how to effectively expend that energy and restore your sense of well-being. Equally important? Recognize stress when it appears in its sneakier form: burnout. We asked stress expert Lorraine Bosse’-Smith to share her thoughts on how nurses can recognize and reduce stress.

“As a certified human behavior consultant, I’ve studied how certain personality styles handle stress, and those who serve others, like healthcare professionals, often retreat and withdraw under stress,” says Bosse’-Smith. “They’re not typically going to call out for help.”

Are you stressed?

On a normal day, you enjoy your work and look forward to hobbies and spending time with people. According to Bossé-Smith, you’ll know your energy level is in a tailspin if you suddenly find yourself exhibiting these telltale signs of burnouts:

  • Sleeping more
  • Lack of interest in hobbies
  • Spending less time with loved ones

If this sounds like you, start taking steps to take the word “over” out of “overwork” until you feel normal again. At this stage, it’s imperative to set healthy boundaries (before you go over the edge!). For caregivers especially, Bossé-Smith points out that it may be difficult to answer with a hard “no” when your assistance is requested.

Try these softer phrases that imply “yes” while avoiding the drain of immediate commitment:

  • “Not right now.”
  • “Not this time, but next time.”
  • “Not that way, but how about this?”

Next stop: Funland! Say “Yes, yes, yes!” to a hobby or a date with a friend. The key to stress reduction is taking time for enjoyment. Have some fun! A forewarning: If you find yourself fretting about the things you “should” be doing, it’s a sign that you’ve accidentally steered off course and are heading into Guiltland!

“Again, some people will struggle with doing something for themselves and often feel guilty, which adds to their stress,” says Bosse’-Smith. “By putting the emphasis on others, these givers can actually do something for themselves and reduce their stress level.”

Try these guilt-free activities that help reduce stress:

  • See a friend who needs the company.
  • Make a gift for someone you love.
  • Know that your kids need the exercise to burn off energy and stay healthy.
  • Focus on giving attention to your spouse.

Around holidays and birthdays, drop subtle hints to loved ones about needing a trip to a spa to restore your sanity. Chances are, they’re longing to give back in the perfect way to the nonstop giver in their life. A half-hour massage will make a world of difference. And you deserve it!

Lorraine Bosse Smith
Lorraine Bosse'-Smith is the author of two books on stress management: I Want My Life Back and A Healthier, Happier You. Bosse'-Smith is also a national speaker, certified personal trainer and life coach. Her Website is

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