Blogapalooza veteran Jessica James is back today with her message that stress is a choice, along with 4 ways to decompress that she's using amid a clearly busy life. Not only does Jessica work for one of the world's largest casual dining restaurants, she's also completing her master's degree in journalism from The University of Kansas. Here's Jessica:


Stress is a Choice by Jessica James

Stress-YourselfA full-time job, parenthood, married life, graduate school, a social life and the occasional volunteer opportunity-- with all this going on, I've somehow managed to maintain my sanity.  It's not something I ever thought about until recently when a close friend commented on how she couldn't believe I wasn't medicated.

She openly takes medication to help her cope with the stress and anxiety in her life.  I do not.

I Get it, You Are Busy...

This is not to say that I am not stressed out beyond belief right now.  My husband is a second-year law student who studies around the clock, I travel out of town for work about 30 percent of the time (which is incredibly disruptive to my toddler's home life) and I am wrapping up my capstone project and presentation in just over a week.

4 Ways to Decompress

In the last three months, l have experienced more stress than ever before.  If I could find the time to go to thy gym, some of this might be alleviated.  However, I have managed to find little moments throughout my day to decompress.

1. Have a Morning Routine

My mornings are hectic, yet predictable.  My 30-minute commute from home to daycare to work consists of morning radio and a large cup of freshly ground and brewed coffee.  Without it, I am lost.  This daily ritual sets the tone for the rest of my day and helps me focus on what's ahead of me.

2. Keep Your Priorities Straight

It never fails that as I ease into the day at work, my 'to do' list for the day gets high jacked by other, more pressing things.  I've learned to adjust to this and not become overwhelmed by focusing on what REALLY needs to get done for the day.  My industry is food, not rocket science, and most of the time, things can wait an extra 12-24 hours to be completed.

3. Quantity of Time Spent at Work is NOT > the Quality of Your Work

I refuse to fall into this trap.  So many of my peers at work, along with some leadership, value how long people show their faces at work and not how good the work actually is.  I am a consistent eight-to-fiver.  I excel at my job, always meet deadlines and pride myself on being a reliable and timely source of information for my peers.  As a result, I am able to spend a fair amount of time with my family in the evening and still have some time left for myself.

4. Put Yourself First...Sometimes

Working, going to graduate school and having a family is pretty common these days.  A lot of men and women do it.  I am able to because I am not afraid to do things for myself.  I'll take a Friday off a couple times each year to shop, have lunch by myself, get caught up on laundry and catch up on my favorite TV shows.  It's amazing how a few daylight hours to myself really rejuvenates me at home and at work.

Make a Choice to Take a Step Back

So before you let your friends talk you into medicating your stress and anxiety with prescription drugs, take a step back, and evaluate where you might be able to trim some stress out or bring some routine and predictability into your day.  And remember, the choices you make have a direct correlation to the stress in your life. Jessica James


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