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Stress Management Activity: How To Create More Space To Win Your Week [E021]

If you have ever felt like your life is going way to fast and there is not enough time to fit everything in, then this is the episode for you! Today is a discussion centered stress management activity and create space in your life to walk into your week feeling empowered!

Table Of Contents

An Introduction to Stress Management Activity

Set 4 Key Targets This Week
Photographer: Tim Gouw | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: All right, welcome back to the Wellness Connection Show. We are on episode 21 today, and if you have ever felt in your life like life was just going way too fast, not enough time, my head is spinning, how do people fit in all these extracurricular activities? How do successful people manage all these extra things?

Dr. Bryan: Today we are going to have a great discussion around something that we call Winning the Week, how we actually set up a week to win, and create space in your life so that you can actually walk into your week feeling empowered, versus feeling like you’re chasing the week.

Dr. Bryan: So, as always, I’m Dr. Bryan Joseph and I’m joining my co-host Dr. Jason Hammond. Hello, Jay.

Dr. Jason: Hey, how are you doing?

Dr. Bryan: So gosh, how often do we hear people start with that sigh? Like, “How are things going?” “Ah.”

Dr. Jason: All too often, man. All too often.

Reduce that sigh

Dr. Bryan: So if you’ve ever felt like you’ve been the person that’s sighing, right, or huffing and puffing are your responses, like always dictating some level of high level emotion inside, hopefully today, our episode we’ll actually share some of the solutions that we’ve shared and learned, and developed ourselves to create space and reduce that sigh.

Dr. Jason: Yeah, and openly, that is definitely one of my Achilles’s Heels, is jam-packing every single minute of every day, and always feel like I’m on this rat race. And I know you won’t do it, so I’ll do it on your behalf. Like you are extraordinary at understanding rhythms of time, of time management, of understanding what it means to be strategic, and really what your end goal is. And for the listeners out there, I mean, this man across the table from me has blessed me so much in understanding when I’m gassing too much.

Dr. Jason: So many of the things that we’re going to talk about today were really birthed out of conversations that you and I’ve had for 16 years, that you’ve seen patterns in me that have helped me. So for those of you that are out there that are saying, “Hey, I’m too busy, and this, and that.” Listen, I’m with you, and you can retrain your brain. You may not all be wired out of the womb like Dr. Bryan and people like him that can understand strategic and use of time. But it’s like a muscle, and you can retrain that, there’s no doubt.

Dr. Jason: So this is going to be awesome. I think this is going to bless a lot of people, man.

The power of being proactive

Dr. Bryan: I would contend that just like everybody’s life, you get put in front of certain people, books, podcasts, audios, movies that influence you and then you become a part of that influence. And years and years ago, one of the first thing that comes to my mind is, I had exposure to the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and for whatever reason, like so many other people, it resonated with me.

Dr. Bryan: But habit number one, when they talk about being proactive, it just resonated to my core, and the way I understood it back then, and this was actually coming out of high school was, “You mean to tell me that I actually can have some element of control over my destiny, by proactively planning and orchestrating, and strategizing what my life in all dimensions is going to look like?”

Dr. Bryan: Versus what I had witnessed up to that point is the opposite, so many people sighing, overwhelmed, and reacting to every aspect of their life. So yeah, it wasn’t out of the womb, man, but I appreciate the acknowledgement of stress management activity.

Dr. Jason: Yeah. So where do you want to start? How do we best unpack this for the listeners, as well, in your mind?

Stress shortens our lifespan

Dr. Bryan: Well, here. Here’s what we’re going to do, is when it comes to health first, it’s really, really important to understand that when we have that vibrational energy of sighing, and overwhelm, or anxiety, you’re probably in some aspects, shortening your lifespan.

Dr. Jason: Absolutely, not even in some aspects. You a 100% are.

Dr. Bryan: All right, so when like people put a lot of emphasis on the idea that you need to spend time planning, and organizing, and really thinking through, and backing up from this thing that’s going on fast pace. Like know that it’s not just a corporate exercise. Know that this has value to your health.

Create a “space”

Dr. Jason: A 100%, just by creating that space, as I like to say. There’s a term that you and I will use often, when we say the word, “Space,” it doesn’t mean physical space. It means literally just a space in time, but also the space in your mind, space in your day that you just get to just chill. Like, right, and be present, and be able to future forecast, right. You and I have alluded to some of our mentors in the past that have shared some wisdom. One of the things I remember hearing a long time ago that really helped to get me to become open to even our conversations alone, as well, but the thought that most people spend more time planning their family vacation than they do their life.

Give yourself the chance to stop

Dr. Jason: And when I heard that, I was like, “Whoa, that’s deep.” But you know what? And openly, and this isn’t any discredit to any people that we’ve worked with over 16 years, that’s true, and we see it. Many of the challenges that we see on a daily basis from someone’s health deteriorating is because they are going so fast, and they don’t stop. And so I liken this, again, to exercise. You would think, again, it makes sense. If I just told you, “I’m going to go run, and I’m just going to keep running. I’m going to run every day, and I’m not going to take a break. I’m just going to keep running.”

Dr. Jason: And eventually, you’ll be like, “Well, Jason, you’re going to break down, you’re going to get sick. Your body’s going to break down.” “Oh, no, no, no. I’ll be fine. I’m just going to keep going.” Like you would think I’d be crazy, yet how many people right now, and maybe it’s you listening, and it’s no judgment, but how many of us out there are going non-stop on the hamster wheel in our mind, and we never fricken’ stop, and we wonder why we’re upset, we’re stress management activity, our blood pressure’s going up, returning to alcohol, returning to food, we’re not exercising, we’re snapping at our kids, snapping at our wife, we’re not making our promotion, our work environment sucks, it’s our boss’ fault, it’s our coworkers’ fault, it’s because these damn hamster wheels keep on going, and you never got a chance to stop.

What makes “successful people” different?

Dr. Bryan: So there’s no doubt that there’s basically a capacity within all of us, right. There’s a confined amount of hours, minutes, and days in every week. And so often, we wonder, like how do more successful people, and when I say successful, I’m not just referencing monetary success. I’m talking about success in all aspects of life. Feeling like people that are walking through life, just breezing into life, effortless, almost present all the time. You see a sense of calm in their eyes, you see a calm in their spirit, what is about those people that have that level of an it factor? What allows them to be that present? And so often, they have the same capacity that we have.

Dr. Jason: Same hours in the day.

Dr. Bryan: Same hours in the day, but a lot of them have initiated the tools that we’re going to actually share here today, where they’ve backed-out a little bit of today, and they just thought about what tomorrow might look like, or what this week might look like. And then they made some empowering decisions to create a strategy, or a battle plan, if you will, on how they were going to walk into this week. Then, knowing that that outline existed, allowed them to then step backwards into today and be present again, and just know that they’re on the right track, and they’re aiming towards their goals.

Dr. Bryan: So Jay and I have had some exposure to some different training, and what we wanted to do is just map out for you the way in which we are currently attacking our week, or planning the week so that we feel that we can walk into our weeks, feeling just like that person I described.

Schedule A Time To Look At Your Week

Photographer: Eric Rothermel | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: So let’s go through what are some of the strategies, some of the musts. I know we have a lot of the same ones on the list that we have here, but what’s the first thing that’s a must when it comes to planning, in your mind?

Dr. Jason: Like that’s it. Like the first must is, I think we’ll let the conversation evolve organically, and it might get deep on some aspect, but the first is very simple. I mean you have to schedule time to look at your week. If you’re not willing to do that, game over. Like stop complaining because if you’re not willing to at least once a week look at what your next week is going to hold, as a parent, as a spouse, as an employer, or employee, as in your fitness, in your health.

Dr. Jason: Like if you’re not willing to say, “This is my demands of my time and my energy, my finances, my whatever,” if you’re not willing to do that, then literally, you’re going to be on the hamster wheel. That is you coming off of the hamster wheel. So the first must, Doc, you got to schedule it, and it has to have reverence. That means, it has to happen every week.

“You wonder what the person values”

Dr. Bryan: All right. I think you bring up a great point there, is there’s that statement that you hear all the time that says, “You wonder what the person values.” I can tell you what the value by looking at their calendar and their wallet or their bank statement.

Dr. Bryan: So how you spend your time and how you spend your money is really going to reflect your values, and I would 100% percent agree, that a must and a place to start for every individual would be carving out a designated time that is the time that you’re doing nothing other than planning your week, planning to win your week.

Dr. Jason: When’s yours?

Dr. Bryan: Sunday.

Dr. Jason: Yeah. Mine, too.

Dr. Bryan: Yeah, so regardless of what day works for you, it doesn’t matter. Start off with maybe 30 minutes, or even up to an hour, where you just say, “There’s a blocked-out hour on your calendar.” Because if it’s just in your mind, then it typically doesn’t happen, right. So schedule a designated time on your calendar, and feel selfish, it’s okay.

Feel selfish when planning

Dr. Bryan: Feel selfish doing this, like to go to your own calendar and block an appointment with yourself on your calendar that says, “Winning the week hour,” right. Do that right now and I think you’re going to actually if you hold and reserve that weekly spot, you’ve already crossed the first step.

Dr. Jason: A 100%. And just to add to that, because the listeners out there may be in different phases of their life. Some of you may be in a place where you’re married, some of you may be single, some of you may have kids, some of you may be empty-nesters, your kids have been gone for a while, you have to place this time where you know it can be protected.

Dr. Jason: Meaning, if you’re in the stage of life like personally Dr. Bryan and I are at, where we still have young children, and we still have a wife, and we’re in that space, then we have to know that it has to be time that’s uninterrupted. So for me, I’ll just speak on that.

Dr. Jason: I do mine before the kids get up on Sunday morning, before we go into service, before workouts, or kids games, or anything, that’s my time that I know that no one can mess with.

Dr. Bryan: All right, so I guess bullet point number one is, you must set a time.

Dr. Jason: Yeah, set the time.

Set 4 Key Targets This Week

Set 4 Key Targets
Photographer: Artur Matosyan | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: All right, so let’s just say everybody now, everyone listening just set their time on their phone, on their calendar. Congratulations, you did it, right. Step one. Step two is, now you walk into that time, what are you going to do?

Dr. Jason: Well, first, I got to get clear on what I want. Like, “What do I want this week to produce?” And again, for me, I like to look at all dimensions in my life. And I’m not looking about it like a huge list, and in the past, Dr. Bryan, you know this, I used to, every week would roll in, and I would have this huge list of things that I was trying to get done. Like superhuman, like I would over-estimate what I could get done with all the other roles I had in my life, and I’d be stress management activity the heck out going through the week.

Dr. Jason: So what I get real clear on right now, is I want four things. I want to dial in four key targets that I’m looking for this week. I choose to do them across my body, across our business, across my marriage, and across my faith walk. So there’s four key things that have to happen, to identify what those are, and then I just get real clear on, “That’s the target. Here’s the day it’s going to happen. End of story. Done.”

Get really specific on your targets

Dr. Bryan: So similar, I’m going to offer just basically a little two cents on what I have done over the period of years, is during that time, I’ll basically categorically look at three things, or four things, is what do I want to do for myself this week? Right, you mentioned your body, but what do I want to do for myself? Like do I want to get a massage? Do I need to get a dental appointment? Do I need to get my hair cut? Do I need to follow-up with something that’s been lingering? What do I need to do for myself? And then when am I going to do that?

Dr. Bryan: So during that time, I’m actually thinking through what is it that I want to get done for me? And then, when on my schedule this week am I going to populate that thing, so that it actually happens? Because if I just vaguely say, “It’s on my to-do list,” and I got a list, a running to-do list of 17 things that I just keep adding to, but I don’t have an actual date or time in which I’m going to do it, then the likelihood of it actually getting reverence, as you said a minute ago, is very slim.

Dr. Bryan: So I do that for my personal needs. Then I go into my family needs, in regards to, because we all, we got busy schedules. Everybody does. If you have children, and your kids are in different school activities, or sports activities, then that does run your week a lot. So it’s important to not just be walking into Tuesday and looking at your wife or your husband and be like, “Where do we got to go today?”

Ask these questions to yourself

Dr. Bryan: But to plan maybe on that Sunday or whenever your time is, and look at the whole week, and then map out who’s going to be involved with which activity, who’s going to give the rides here, are we both going, or are you going? Really just get a feel for what the week’s going to look like. And then, I’ll review my finances on a weekly basis, also. I don’t know if you do the same thing or not, but just to get an idea. “Okay, what bills came in this week that need to be paid? What is my cash flow or bank statements look like right now? Do I need to allocate money in any directions?”

Dr. Bryan: “Am I forecasting any projects that are coming up around the house?” Or, anywhere else in my life? Or, vacation planning, so that it’s never a sense of like, “Oh, shoot. Do I have money for this?” It’s like, “I thought through this, all of it needed time to really understand, like, okay, what’s coming up? What do I need to do? And then, when am I going to do it?” And then the last component is just an element of planning spirituality, right.

Dr. Jason: Yeah.

Bring your family to the conversation

Dr. Jason: You have to. And I agree with you on all those accords. Like I also look at the finances, and what we’re doing as a family. I bring Whitney in, in our conversations, and looking at, “Where are we carpooling?” Having these discussions of who’s going where, et cetera.

Dr. Jason: One of the things, too, that you brought up, that I believe that I have experienced in conversations, and even in the … A conversation with others, but also myself, is you have to be willing to look at all these dimensions, too. So oftentimes, we can just say, “Hey, listen. Let me just go ahead and set the calendar, I’m going to plan on it.” But if you’re not willing from a place of humility, there’s nothing wrong, there is judgment here, but you have to be willing to look at those dimensions, including the ones that you’re not strong at.

Dr. Jason: Because if not, I promise you with everything inside me, from my own experience, and also helping others, it’s taking up real estate in your head. Meaning, if I don’t know what my bank account is this week, and I’m walking through because I’m afraid to look at it, because I haven’t handled that aspect of my life, then it’s going to occupy mental real estate. And so I won’t be present with other activities, my family, my patients, et cetera, whatever the case may be. Same thing goes with your health, if you’re in a place where your health is not where you want it to be, don’t be embarrassed by it.

It’s About Having A Game Plan

Game Plan Stress Management Activity
Photographer: Med Badr Chemmaoui | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: Very well said. And I hate to say, that it’s that simple, but if you designate a time in which you’re going to spend time with yourself to plan, and then you orchestrate a little vision of what you want, and what’s in front of you each week during that time, and you map it on your calendar, then really, like as far as I’m concerned, you just got to run the plan.

Dr. Jason: Right, because when you have a game plan, okay, openly to all the listeners here. I can be a very rigid guy, so I just think that it should always work out. Like X, Y, Z. Like it’s just maybe the scientist in me at some level, but like that’s not reality. And what I recognize though, is especially in the last four or five years, trying to embrace more and more the chaos of life.

Dr. Jason: But the way I can do that better, and really be present with my family when stuff goes sideways, is I’ve planned on Sunday, and so at least I know I’ve got a shift. Okay, I know I’ve got my work out in. All right, I got some of my good food choices in. All right, we got the kids going here. Whoop, this happened. And so we shift and move, but if I hadn’t looked at the finances, if I hadn’t eaten right, if I hadn’t done those other things, it’s all taking space in my head. And now if one little thing goes sideways, and I’m fricken going nuts.

Dr. Bryan: Yeah.

Dr. Jason: Like I turn into a monster.

It’s not about having the perfect week

Dr. Bryan: So I think you’re bringing up a really good point. It’s not about designing a perfect week, and you’re not allowed to bend the rules ever. It’s about creating a framework, or a structure that allows you to walk into the life that you want to build, right. So you’re not necessarily reacting every second of your life, but you’re saying, “This is ideally what it would look like in a perfect world. Now if things go smoothly, then that’s exactly what my outcome was this week.” And if it doesn’t go smooth, then you pivot a little bit.

Dr. Bryan: But on top of that, too, is I think one of the errors that I see a lot of people making, and this is why they get stuck, or overwhelmed, a lot of times, is they start writing way too many things down, as to what they want to accomplish or need to get done in a week. I think if you’re one of those people that just feels like white space on your paper doesn’t resonate with you, and you got to fill it all in, no matter what, then I would encourage you to adhere to another technique.

Dr. Bryan: It’s called prioritization. Just basically, if you want to fill up 50 things that you think you need to do this week, then you have to do yourself a favor or prioritizing what order of importance they are. Because at some point, you’re going to stop, and if you did the order backwards, and you did the 17th most important one, and you didn’t do number two, or number one, you’re going to kick yourself. And you’re not going to be moving into that idea vision that you had for yourself.

Overwhelm creates stress

Dr. Jason: If you’re a mom, and you know that you’re like of the best things you are on this planet is you’re a mom, you know the one thing I got to do is I got to make sure my kids get to school today. Like there’s no question, right. Like that’s it. But maybe if that same person’s not strong with their fitness or their health, all of the sudden, there’s overwhelm. “Well, I got to eat three shakes. I got to try to get this workout in,” and it becomes an overwhelm.

Dr. Jason: And I think you end up creating this undue stress management activity of this list, that we think we should, right. Like this judgment that we’ve got to keep, we’re not being productive, we’re not being active if we’re not doing all these things. And that is absolutely very openly, very transparently what I am working on myself, is saying, “Hey, what is the one thing that needs to happen today?”

Dr. Bryan: Well, it’s just not using your resources right, right. So not alone. I mean, people can be excellent at basically understanding their financial resources, they could be excellent at understanding their food and health choices. But if you’re not organizing in some capacity your emotional resources, you’re going to struggle, right. Because if your emotions get running wild on you, then all the sudden, like everything turns into that sigh that we talked about in the very beginning.

Winning Your Week = Better Capacity

Winning Your Week Better Capacity Stress Management Activity
Photographer: Agnieszka Boeske | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: And then add to it as your capacity grows because your capacity will grow, and that’s the whole idea behind winning your week, is as you allow your capacity to grow, and your stress management activity level, basically your threshold for what stress is, starts to go up, which means, you don’t feel stress management activity as frequently, then you’re healthier, and you’re getting more accomplished.

Dr. Jason: All right, and I love how you just said that about capacity because that’s really where, when we’ve looked at others that we have mentored under and whatnot, in regards to, “How do they get this stuff done?” It’s their capacity goes up, by what I like to say, and you and I have talked about this, when you K-N-O-W, when you know what you want, it’s easier for you to say, “N-O,” to things that don’t align with that. So you have to know what you want, so you can say no to what you don’t want.

Say NO to some stuffs that doesn’t really matter

Dr. Jason: And so you stop filling your calendar with all this stuff. And then further, when you’re actually increasing your capacity, now it’s easier for you to take on learning something new, or implementing something new in your life. Like you know you want to work out, and you’ve not been able to make it stick and lose the weight, it’s because you haven’t changed anything else in your calendar, and you’re trying to jam one more thing in, like that’s a recipe for disaster.

Dr. Jason: Like you’re going to burn out. The hamster wheel is still spinning. You got to start saying no to some stuff that really doesn’t matter. Who gives a crap about all the other stuff that’s going on? Like figure out what you need, what serves you in all those dimensions, about your money, your body, your faith, your fitness, your foods, and make it … Who cares? Figure out what you need and go for it. Know what you want, and then say no to all the other junk.

Dr. Bryan: I agree. We make it harder on ourself than we need to make it. And a lot of it is just because we’re constantly in the fight, versus stopping, stepping aside, designating some quiet time to think through it, and then getting back into the fight, right.

Closing Thoughts: Know What You Want!

Dr. Bryan: So you got anything else on top of that, that you wanted to make sure we touched on, or is that the premise of?

Dr. Jason: I mean, that’s the premise. I think that just in closing, one of the things that we’ll just come full circle on, is just as Dr. Bryan said, keep it simple. One, dedicate the time. Like make it sacred. Two, know, K-N-O-W what you want, so you can say, “N-O,” to things that aren’t serving you. And then three, make sure that along this way, as you’re starting to get clear on this capacity that you are learning new things, that allow you to face stuff that you didn’t want to look at in the past. Honor your time, honor your decisions, and it’s okay, learn new things along the way.

Dr. Bryan: Well, I would say, hey, thanks. Thanks, as always. We’re on episode 21. You can find this episode on thewellnessconnection.com E-21. I don’t want to single anybody out, or have you like pick on any of your friends, but if you do know somebody that actually lives in that state of overwhelm, or that they’re sighing, they’re always anxious, they never have enough time, they’re rolling their eyes, their body language is showing that they’re always overwhelmed and stress management activity, shoot them a copy of the link. Shoot them a message that just says, “Hey, this may help you.” Because you never know who you’re going to help when you actually just share a tool that may make their life that much easier.

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