What do you do when you’re stressed?

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People tell me that I have a good number of reasons to feel stressed. Don’t we all?

In the next couple months, we jump into a state-to-state move, setting up a new home, juggling the needs of 3 littles, David’s new high-paced job, some big Isogo deadlines, and a new baby {who tops the list as most exciting and most mind-boggling!}.

Yesterday afternoon, as I latched the door behind David and the kids when they dashed off to dance class, I was faced with an hour and a half by myself. What did I choose to do? Did I start packing? Did I sit down to run toward to my work deadlines? Did I rest?


In my stress and looming deadlines, I walked back down the hall and started to pick up the house.

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The blankets of afternoon naps and leftover forts were strewn throughout the entire apartment. The trail of creative imaginative play left landmines every few feet. Clothes that had been torn off in haste and replaced with ballet tights and slippers laid across the floor. The counter was piled high with stacks of mail and insurance correspondence and university alumni magazines.

It was like I was on auto-pilot. Folding and tossing and stacking and shuffling. It was not frenetic, but all the while I engaged my internal world with questions of doubt — why are you picking up when you should be working?

Yet, despite the self-doubt, after several minutes, I found that the haze of stress was starting to lift, and I was becoming energized. As I picked up a crumpled dress or replaced a prodigal toy, new ideas for meeting my deadlines started flowing. As I saw the counter starting to clear and the couch pillows begin to re-shape, I began to breathe easier.

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In that moment it hit me—by straightening and ordering, I was meeting the needs of my Strengths, and the impact on my stress was dramatic.

My Discipline strength craves order. Blankets folded, counter cleared. Check.
My Arranger strength craves time constraints. Deadlines looming, kids returning soon—present pressure to straighten with efficiency. Check.
My Intellection strength craves silence. House empty, music off, hands and feet busy with bustling, mind free to think. Check.

So, even though I was doing NOTHING that was working directly toward my deadlines {I was not writing a blog post or creating a curriculum or designing a course page}, and the internal voices filled with the threat of wasted time alone {you only have 90 minutes alone, why are you cleaning up??}, the stress I had felt when I closed the door behind the kids, was lighter. Somehow the evening looked much brighter.

It was all because I was meeting the needs of my Strengths.

And it got me to thinking…what do YOU do when you’re stressed?

There are a lot of other, less healthy things I reach for when the pressure is on—namely an oversized bag of chocolate chips. But when I am dealing with my stress well—in a healthy, productive way—I am doing things that meet the needs of my Talents—without even thinking about it.

After the final rug was straightened yesterday, and I sat down in front of my computer to put some work toward my deadlines, all that filled my mind was “how can I channel this more?” How can I do this more intentionally? How can I build this type of strengths-related stress-relief into my routine? How can we ALL use our strengths to relieve stress?

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The answer is unique for each of us.

A colleague with high Intellection, Input and Learner Strengths uses a long jog as his stress relief. By the time he steps back through the front door, his Intellection strength is restored, and his stress is dissipated {plus he has usually come up with the answer to the question or crisis he was pondering}.

David, with high Relator Strength, makes a phone call to his dad or makes intentional, extended time with his best buddies. When he gets off the phone or returns from a trip to visit his friends, he’s filled with energy and ideas and encouragement that he did not have before.

What do you do to help lift the weight of stress from your shoulders? OR what could you do more intentionally that is life-giving in the midst of a stressful season?

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As of yesterday, my theory is that our healthiest, most effective stress relief will come from meeting the deepest needs of our Strengths. {And I’ll be keeping my eyes out for more examples now, so send me yours if you have one}!

When those needs are met, a natural boost of energy occurs. We have energy to accomplish or face the looming events in front of us. When those needs are met, it creates mental and emotional breathing room that we had no way of accessing before. We see more clearly that which had been foggy.

What can you do to meet the needs of your Talents, and relieve your stress?

Let’s work to build those things into our days and hours and moments of stress—knowing that the more directly we meet the needs of our Strengths, the lighter and freer we feel admit the stress…even if they seem counter-intuitive at first {like straightening up a house!}.



Links & Resources

{9 Steps} to Life Change through your StrengthsFinder Top 5 Strengths
StrengthsFinder is Life Changing | Get Clear on your Needs {Step 7 of 9}
StrengthsFinder is Life Changing | Meet Your Own Needs {Step 8 of 9}
Bring It | Need It FREE Tool
Personalized Maven Insight Emails
How do you meet the deepest needs of your Strengths? Let me know here.

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As always, one of the best places to join the Strengths conversation is over at our Facebook Group — Energy Up Frustration Down by Strengths. Join us as we all try to figure out just how to use our Strengths to impact the most important things around us—in our work and life.

If you’re thinking about the way a Strengths-perspective could impact your marriage or your family or you’re just not so sure about it all, reach out, and let’s connect about it. You can catch me at FacebookTwitter or Instagram, all at @isogostrong, or by this handy contact form.

Enjoy your day, and {be strong}!

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