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Stress Management Impacted by the Challenge of Balance; Something to Think About in 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — To reduce stress in our busy work and family lives, David Burton, county engagement specialist and leadership coach with University of Missouri Extension, recommends making one or two life changes at a time.

“Just one or two changes at a time doesn’t seem like much, but the overall impact can be dramatic,” said Burton. “People are crazy busy, which is why I am trying to emphasize the importance of prioritizing your work so you spend your time and energy on things that are important to you.”

A good first step in 2019 should involve setting priorities.

“Thoughtful planning can help you gain a greater sense of control over your life. Set short- and long-term goals and develop realistic strategies to achieve them,” said Burton.

A few basic questions can help you determine your priorities. Ask yourself:

What is important in my life?

Who are the important people in my life?

What do I want to achieve for my family and myself?

How will I prioritize the things that are most important?

There are a number of ways to reduce stress and set more reasonable standards for yourself and others. Some will apply more directly to your circumstances than others. Work on making one or two changes at a time.

Practice saying “no” to added demands on personal time.

Involve family members in household responsibilities.

Learn to value yourself and what you do; don’t wait for the approval of others.

Live in the present; don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future.

Try to be more flexible and forget about being perfect.

Build fun and relaxation into your daily and long-term plans.

Focus on your accomplishments rather than on your shortcomings.

Learn to talk to yourself in positive ways.

Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and sleep enough hours.

Keep a sense of humor and laugh often.

When faced with conflict, seek solutions that maintain positive feelings.

Establish networks of cooperation and friendship at work and in your community.

Learn to delegate responsibilities to others that are capable.

Learn to accept disappointments and go on.

When faced with a demanding project, break it into manageable steps, do one thing at a time and avoid procrastination.

For more information, get a copy of the University of Missouri Extension guide sheet GH 6651: “Stress Management and the Challenge of Balance” at the nearest extension office or online at

More information is available at or by calling the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.