How to Navigate Through a Stressful 2017

We’re now a week into the new year and my social media pages are flooded with the “ready to tackle 2017”, “new year, new me” and my personal favorite “2016 was a great year, 2017 is going to be even better” posts. Maybe I’m just a sarcastic pessimist (yes, yes I am) bringing everyone down, but is anyone else thinking “ugh, 2016 was a really tough year and 2017 is going to be even harder?”

Being the realist that I am, I’m going into 2017 with my eyes open—it’s going to be a hard, stressful year. Yes, there are going to be big milestones and lots of celebration, but to get there I know there’s going to be an unhealthy amount of stress, moments of defeat and frustration and undoubtedly a few tears.

I’m going into my last semester at Kent State and will be taking all of my senior capstone classes at the same time. Normally that would be stressful enough by itself, but to keeps things interesting, I also accepted a full-time position working at GE Lighting, which will start at the end of the month. Graduating college and starting a new job are both things to excited about don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help but feel slightly terrified. The saying putting the cart before the horse comes to mind.

None the less, there are rare times in life where timing aligns perfectly. This opportunity came up and is too good to let pass by simply because I will still be in school for the first 4 months. Still, trying to navigate my way through my first job, prove myself and move up in the organization while maintaining my GPA and making sure I graduate lends me to believe 2017 is going to be a hard, stressful year.

No turning back though. I’ve heard all the negativity about how I can’t do it and how it’s impossible to do both etc. etc. My response—thank you for your uninvited opinion, but I don’t have time for your negativity. I decided I’m doing it and I will make it happen one way or another.

This is just my story though. I know many of you will be heading into very stressful years too filled with your own set of challenges, stress and pressure. So I thought I would share my game plan to get through it all in the hopes that you can take something from it that will be applicable to your life.

Coming off a stressful 2016, I know there are going to be moments and days where I feel completely defeated, overwhelmed, panicking and regretting putting myself in such a stressful situation. To keep these at a minimum and ensure I get through it quickly here are some things I plan to actively do and think about:

  1. Surround yourself with a positive support system. When you’re going through a stressful time or situation it’s critical to have supportive people around you. Those that are negative and can’t be a cheerleader have to go. There are too many friends, coworkers and family members who will be the first one to tell you what you can and cannot do. Who will tell you you’re too stressed and need to pull back or quit. I like to hope they’re saying these things out of love or concern, but the bottom line is, it isn’t helpful. We’re already second guessing our decision and panicking on the regular without you saying it too. Surround yourself with people who will pick you up when you’re having a moment of panic, that will tell you you can do it and ask what they can do to help. This will make all the difference.

    Here’s to surrounding yourself with the Joey’s of the world.

  2. Maintain some kind of workout schedule. It seems so easy in theory, but when you’re stressed, overworked, overwhelmed and exhausted, working out is the last thing anyone wants to do in their very rare free time. Still, if you can force yourself to stick to some kind of workout plan (it doesn’t have to be perfect) you will feel so much better. It will help relieve stress, release endorphins and give you peace of mind. We all get really busy and working out is usually the first thing that gets cut, however; I’ve noticed that when I force myself to workout when I have a spare hour instead of watching TV, it really does clear my mind and builds my confidence back up. Try it.

    This wouldn’t be so funny if it weren’t true.

  3. Write your goals down and keep them somewhere where you will see them every day. We all make new year’s resolutions, but the problem is the months start to pass by and those goals that were once at the forefront move to the back burner and we forget. Physically writing your goals down and putting them somewhere in plain sight will not only help hold you accountable, but it will serve as a reminder to go about your day with purpose and intention—providing you with the focus and clarity needed to work towards those goals.
  4. Have a theme song or mantra. This one always sounds cheesy or dumb, but it’s my favorite and seriously works. I consider myself to be a very professional, polished person. I can handle a lot of stress and work best under pressure. That doesn’t mean though that I don’t have my daily freak out of “why the heck did I think I could pull this off” or “this is too much, I can’t do this…I’m so overwhelmed.” In these moments of weakness, I do my best to snap myself out of it and get back into a can-do attitude. I’ve found this is easiest done if you have a mantra or can spend 60 seconds listening to a song that will get you feeling confident and fired up again. Here are some of my personal favorites: FAB: JoJo, Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet: Hayden Panettiere (Nashville sound track), Me Too: Meghan Trainor, Fighter: Christina Aguilera, Unbreakable Smile: Tori Kelly, I Am Woman: Jordin Sparks, Strip Me: Natasha Bedingfield

    Because you are smart, kind and most importantly a bad ass boss babe.

  5. Feel all the feels. The honest truth is you can’t be strong and on your game 100 percent of the time. There are going to be days when you fail, when you feel defeated and completely wrecked and where you just want to crawl in bed and cry—AND THAT’S OKAY. Feel what you’re feeling, be present with your mind and body. Cry, yell, hit something and then move on. Feel all the feels, pick your head up and keep moving forward.

    Sometimes, for a brief moment, it really does feel good.

Here’s to a stressful, but great 2017! What do you do to get through stressful times? Please share!

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Gabrielle Gentile

Gabrielle Gentile is a 24-year-old Cleveland native. She works in the Commercial Leadership Program at GE Healthcare where she plans to pursue a career in sales. Gabrielle has a huge passion for equality and women’s empowerment, which led her to numerous leadership roles with female focused groups and her position with SheInTheCLE. She believes in lifting others up and helping women find their voice and confidence both in their personal and professional lives. When she is not at her day job, you can find Gabrielle at 5 a.m. OrangeTheory or running around town training for her next race. While she may be a bit or a cardio junkie, Gabrielle’s passion for her work and helping others achieve their goals is the driving force behind everything she does.

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