When it comes to Stress, you have to advocate for yourself and your boundaries. I’ve learned this the hard way, but better to learn it late than never. It’s one thing to have to manage our stress, and it is another to practice control over the stress in our lives that can be controlled.
Now, when I talk about the stress that can be controlled, I’m talking about the stress we experience from various commitments we make that might cause more strain than joy. If they are commitments we plan willingly, they are not usually sources of stress, but if there is some kind of pressure involved in the commitment, then this situation can be a source of stress as well.
Either way, you are the only person who truly understands your current, active level of stress. You are the only person who understands what exactly is on your plate at any moment, day or week, and you are the only person who can communicate your current level of stress.
Therefore, you are in the position to be the BEST advocate for yourself when it comes to stress, your commitments, and events in your life that you can control. So, how do you practice being your own advocate when it comes to stress? There are many ways, and I’ll talk about some here:
1. Understand your boundaries
Understanding your boundaries is a vital way to advocate for yourself when it comes to your stress and overall well being. Take stock of what is on your plate, and what you are comfortable with having on your plate at any given time. Understand what types of things bring you joy, and more joy than stress.
2. Communicate your boundaries
Once you understand your boundaries you can practice communicating them clearly and effectively. You don’t necessarily need to make your close family and friends aware of your boundaries, or be proactive about asserting your boundaries. Rather, practice saying no to things or commitments that will cause you more stress than joy. Speak calmly and slowly. Be confident! You are entitled to your boundaries.
3. Understand that other people, too, have boundaries
Other people have boundaries when it comes to stress. One of the best ways of advocating for yourself when it comes to stress is by showing that you respect other peoples’ boundaries when it comes to stress. Acknowledging other peoples’ boundaries will show them that you care about their well-being, and hopefully they will treat you the same way in return.
4. Ask for help when you need it
Asking for help is difficult. It is something I struggle with, but have been practicing recently at work. Some people see the idea of asking for help as a sign of weakness, and this might keep them from asking for help when they really need it. But it is a fact of life that you’re going to need help at times. You can be brave and go it alone, or you can be brave and seek help in close friends, mentors at work, or family when you need it. Trust that the people you ask for help will say no or be honest if they genuinely think they cannot help you in the way you are seeking.
Advocating for yourself when it comes to stress is extremely important. You cannot expect someone else to do it for you, and if you do lean on someone else to do it for you this isn’t necessarily 100% honest or sustainable. You deserve a life with only the stress you choose to take on. There is stress that you can control, and advocating for yourself is a great way of exhibiting control over that stress.