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Elaine Dumler
6460 W. 98th Court
Westminster, CO 80021
866-780-0460 - phone
303-430-7679 - fax


Glad you're joining us back for the continuation of our free reproducible article series for your newsletters. This 3rd article concludes the Stress Series. In two weeks we'll begin a series called "Take this job and shove it!" focusing on Vets looking for employment or a job change.


Creating YOUR personal stress management plan


Part 3 - Stress is very personal, and so are the things in your life that create your stress. First, identify what "stresses you out" and make a management plan that works for you and your family. Begin with your "To Do" list.



  • When your "To Do" list becomes overwhelming, the stress it causes seems unbearable. You need to get that list down to a manageable size and here's how to do that:
    1. Write down everything you need to get done on List #1.
    2. Divide a 2nd sheet of paper into three categories:
      • Critical - These items must be completed immediately because people or deadlines are depending on them. Some tasks that create conflict or are emotionally difficult to do should be placed here too.
      • Important - These tasks are not as immediate as critical, yet still urgent.
      • Postpone/Delegate - This category is a true stress reliever because it lets you delegate tasks. These tasks can slide for a bit while you tend to those on the critical list. Is it a task you can hand off to someone else? That takes it from your plate and may even work into another's specialty area.
    3. Now, return to list #1 and go through each item one at a time. Honestly determine where to place each task on your category list. You should have a new priority list that is fairly evenly divided among the three categories. This is more manageable.
    4. Begin to tackle your tasks with the list under "Critical."
  • Try to set a few specific times during the day when you'll respond to email.
  • At the start of each week, review what needs to be done so you have a good idea of what's coming up.


You'll find extra time in your day if you organize areas of your life to enable you to function more efficiently.

  • Set reasonable deadlines and avoid outside interruptions while completing a task.
  • Put your phone on silent while focusing on a job
  • Make a list of what you need to do and cross things off as they are completed. It's a sense of accomplishment.
  • Make a list of the "3 most important things" that have to get done today and make them your focus. You'll feel great when they're done!
  • Have a specific place near the door for your car keys.
  • Procrastination is a huge time-waster and big stressor. Tips:
    • Break large tasks into smaller pieces.
    • Do what you don't like to do first.
    • Determine what part of the day you are at your best and get things done then.
    • Set small rewards for getting things done. It's great motivation knowing that when you finish a project you get to go get a cup of coffee or take a walk.


Set aside time for yourself

Taking time for you is a necessity, not a luxury. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of those who depend on you.

  • Write down those things and activities that you enjoy and make you happy and begin to fit them into your daily life.
  • Set your work environment to one that supports how you work best.
  • Schedule your personal time just like you schedule a work appointment.
  • Tell your family about your need for "alone time."
  • Consider participating in a volunteer activity that you enjoy.
  • Laugh - a lot.

Set limits

  • Understand that you can't do everything yourself.
  • Learn to say "NO." You are the only one who can control your time.

Military families are strong and can recover from stress:

  • Open up and talk to people around you. The more you withdraw from others, the more difficult it will be for you and your family.
  • If you can't, or would rather not, open up to your family; please consider talking with a professional, your chaplain or other unit members.
  • Accept help from others when it's offered.
  • Pick your battles. You can choose how you respond to situations. Ask yourself, "Is this issue worth my time and the stress it will create?"

Resilient people find ways to adapt and be flexible when problems and challenges arise. Work with your strengths and understand that stress management is in your control. Trust me, when you're less stressed, you're healthier and more productive - and your family is happier!

I invite you to reprint this and share it wherever you think it will be useful. Please follow these guidelines for reprinting this article:

  • The article must not be rewritten.  You may edit for length only.
  • The article must include this permission/bio at the end: Article written by Elaine Dumler and reprinted from her newsletter with permission. For military family books and information on briefings, visit or email