Real Talk: Managing Stress + A Life Hack I'm Borrowing From Michelle Obama

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For the most part, I’m pretty good at managing my stress and staying really calm. I’ve always had the “hakuna matata” kind of attitude and it’s very rare that I get overwhelmed. I’ve always been someone who takes on a lot at once because I like it that way. But some weeks, that problem free philosophy just ain’t gonna fly. Let’s be real, managing stress is not easy. I sit here (Sunday night at 10:45pm writing this completely drained… I haven’t moved from my place on the couch since I sat down here four hours ago). Last week, my normal hakuna matata, it means no worries for the rest of your days attitude, turned into a broken record repeating the Beatles lyric: “HELP! I need somebody! Help! Not just anybody! Help! you know I need someone. HELLLPPPPP!”

It’s a damn good thing I have Madison, Ally and my Mom on my team because last week (and lots of times), I’m not sure how I would’ve managed without them. Somehow, a ton of deadlines landed within a 4 day period just one day after I launched my new website. I became an overwhelmed, grumpy, exhausted version of myself. I worked 5 days in a row from 8am-1 or 2am and literally fell asleep with my computer on my lap every single night. Not healthy, I know. Mid week, I was so stressed that I put an Equinox class on my calendar to help me decompress and boy, it really did help. But, one workout last week was definitely not enough.

A work/life balance is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. Three weeks ago, we saw the GOAT, Michelle Obama, speak in Milwaukee. She said a lot of things that really resonated with me… but this one thing in particular really dug its heels in. Michelle Obama, arguably one of the most important, busiest women on the planet… one who gracefully balances an active family life, an active career, who makes an immense difference in thousands of lives and somehow, still finds time to go to the gym and be home in time for dinner. She talked about a life hack she uses that I am going to start living by!

She said that at the beginning of each year, before she makes any work commitments she puts EVERY important family and friend date on the calendar… We’re not only talking about weddings and birthdays… but school plays, parent teacher conferences and everything in between. Even the small things like workouts take priority on her schedule BEFORE work. Those things are set in stone and nothing can affect that vitally important personal time.

This is a GREAT life lesson. We hear and think far too often; how do you have time for that!? How do you have time to get to the gym? How do you have time to X,Y,Z and whatever it may be. It’s not that we don’t have the time… it’s that we are not prioritizing ourselves.

My life doesn’t compare to Mrs. O’s, as I’m single with no kids and have not yet been the First Lady ;) (maybe I should put dog park time on the calendar though!?), but I’m absolutely going to start using this life hack of hers. Week by week, I’ve decided that I will put my workouts and time with family and friends on the calendar and that time will be sacred. Prioritizing personal time for ourselves to decompress, relax, socialize, exercise, sleep and recharge is just as important, if not more important, than work. I think that THIS is going to be the key to not having a repeat of last week.

Good workouts, great healthy meals, girlfriend time and long walks with Obi are some of my favorite ways to decompress and destress. How do you manage stress!? What are your favorite ways to decompress? Any good life hacks to keep things hakuna matata?

xx Ali