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Your How-To Plan for a Stressful Event

Planning for stress can be the difference between feeling awful and full of regret to walking away maintaining your self-respect.

So, let’s do this.

Here is a worksheet you can use when you know you have a stressful thing coming up:

Start here:

1. What is the thing coming up? Be specific in describing it. For example: I have to talk with my boss about how I am being treated {it is important to describe how you are being treated}.

2. What are worried about? Describe what you think may happen. Continuing the example: I am afraid my boss will fly off the handle and start yelling at me.

3. How can you prepare yourself physically to be less emotionally vulnerable to this stress? Try the TEASE (below)

  • T – Making sure you are treating any physical illness and taking any prescribed medications. When your physical body is out of whack, you are not functioning at 100% mentally.

  • E – Are you eating how your body needs to be fed? Taking in enough water? (such as: if you are lactose intolerant, stay away from lactose.)

  • A – Are you using mood-altering substances? (like caffeine, sugar, alcohol/drugs.)

  • S – How is your sleep? I cannot STRESS this enough. Sleep has to be a priority. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night. What do you need? Me? I know I need 7 hours when I am working out regularly and 9 hours when I am not. It is important to know what you need.

  • E – Exercise/Movement. Are you moving your body every day?

4. When it comes to your worry or concerns about this thing coming up, how would you deal with this concern if it came true? What coping or problem-solving skills do you want to use? Be specific.

Continuing with our boss example: I might schedule this meeting and ask for someone from Human Resources to be present. Or, I might have the meeting and if my boss starts yelling, I would respectfully ask them to lower their voice and ask for a break if their behavior does not change. I would also plan to use breathing techniques to regulate my own emotions during this time.

5. This one is IMPORTANT -- Imagine yourself IN the situation effectively doing these things and rehearse it over and over again in your mind until it no longer feels intense.

6. Plan something relaxing after you have rehearsed. You need it.

Try it out and contact me if you need any further skills for your plan.

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