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3 P’s of Stress Relief Plus 11 Journal Prompts to Help You Prioritize COVID Changes

3 P’s of Stress Relief Plus 11 Journal Prompts to Get You There

Last week we were on vacation in Florida and my laptop broke. Me, as a classic over reactor. . . .over reacted. I took it to Best Buy and the Geek Squad couldn’t help.

My natural born instincts to freak out kicked in, but first I got thinking. Last year, my laptop broke and I didn’t freak out. Why was this year so much different? It’s because this year, my laptop has everything for my life, my business and my students on it. Last year, the laptop itself did not have as important of a job.

Wow, have things changed in the past year. Not only with the outside world, but also with the meaning I give the things in my life. My priorities have changed, what I value has changed and how I think about the people and things around me have changed.

So, I decided to journal a little bit about it. Every time I journal, I do a brain dump then take a minute to look back at what I wrote. Almost always, I am surprised by the things I wrote down.

I was not surprised to discover that my computer is my lifeline. What I was surprised to discover, is that my business is higher on my priority list than it was a year ago. You see, when money gets tight, a paycheck is more important than it was before. Not to mention when I had to shift everything, I felt like I was on the brink of losing it all. When we fear of things being taken away, we value them more. This is why I value family more now, friends, colleagues, neighbors and the people in my life.

That wasn’t the only thing that changed.

Since we can’t gather in large groups or do anything with lots of people, doing fun things like concerts and festivals have also became less important. I really enjoy staying in and having a quiet night at home. I love my small girl’s nights, small get to gathers with friends, and hanging out with people one on one.

If we have done things this way for a year, we can easily continue.

So my challenge for you today is, evaluate what things have changed for you. There are three categories to evaluate.

What did January of 2020 look like for you?

What did the shutdown look like and feel like for you?

What have you learned since then?

I have put together several journal prompts for each of these questions if you would like to dive in deeper.

To download all 11 prompts just click HERE.

Think back on the past year (pre-covid shutdown):

1. How did you spend your time outside of work?

2. What were your priorities?

Think about this time last year when the covid shutdown was actively happening:

3.What things did you have to process through these changes?

4.Did you have to grieve loss of a loved one, a job, your home, etc.

Think back on the past year since the covid shutdown:

5. How did your priorities change?

6. Are there any major shifts that happened?

7. What is something (or two, five or ten things) that have come out of the last year that have been for the better?

8. How do you spend your time outside of work now?

9. What are your goals moving forward?

10.What is something you can laugh about?

11.What is something that brings you joy?

If you want to listen to my thoughts and answers to all of these questions check out this week’s podcast episode #56 on the ‘Cultivate with Sarah Zastrow’ Podcast click HERE.

In looking at my new list of priorities and the things that I value, it begs the question, how do I spend my time and prioritize my to-do list?

Well, Steven Covey to the rescue . . .again!

Steven Covey is a schedule and organization pioneer. He has a tool called the 4 quadrants which you can use to decide how you spend your time. This also helps you to see the relationship between stress, urgency and importance.

Check out the 4 quadrants here:

Steven Covey’s 4 Quadrants

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important.

  • Quadrant 2: Not urgent but important.

  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not important.

  • Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important.

Don't forget there is a free download HERE that has all 11 questions for reflection and the 4 Quadrants Exercise.

Use your newly established priorities and be cautious of assigning too much meaning to things that are no longer important.

The biggest takeaway here is that when things make their way into quadrant 1, they seem stressful. If we can plan and do things ahead they stay in quadrant 2. If things pop up but aren’t super important in the grand scheme of life then they stay in quadrant 3.

The definition of stress is a response our bodies feel when we have something to do, and not enough resources (money, time, energy, etc) to do it. With that being said, if we can keep things in perspective and in order of importance and urgency then we can keep reduce our stress level because things won’t get to quadrant 1.

With a little planning, prioritizing and keeping perspective we can reduce our stress today and every day.

That’s what I call the 3 P’s of stress relief. Bonus P for stress relief. . . . this one is the best of all, Pray.

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