Here are Five Ways to Beat Stress
High stress and burnout are two genuine problems in today’s world. The demands put on you by careers and family are bad enough, but the demands you put on yourself can be just as bad. Fortunately, those are the things you can control by adopting better habits. The following are five habits to keep your stress level low.
Keep a Diary
This may seem like one more thing to add to your daily grind, but keeping a diary can help relieve stress. It doesn’t have to be an everyday thing, but the more often you do it, the better the results. A diary will make it easy for you to see repeated patterns of poor decisions on your part. You can also go back and look at the good days to help you understand why they were good, and how to repeat them.
You can supplement a traditional journal with a habit tracker.
Not only can keeping a journey lead to more self-awareness, but it can also accentuate the things for which you should be grateful, leading to more happiness.
Cut Down on Mindless Surfing
Spending your downtime surfing the net and using social media may seem like a stress reliever, but it can have the opposite effect. Not only is it not restful to your mind, but it also fills your head with more thoughts and intrusive ideas that can increase stress. Not to mention the aggravation level that is raised by reading all the negativity that permeates social media these days. If you have a few spare minutes in front of the computer, spend it pursuing a hobby, watching a video, or reading a great article on Newsbreak.
Quit Accumulating So Much Stuff
If you talk to empty-nesters who are downsizing, one common thread you will discover is how much stuff they have accumulated and how liberating it is to get rid of it. But you don’t have to wait until you reach retirement age to declutter. Getting rid of stuff you no longer need or want is cathartic, and a clutter-free environment is a more restful environment. Stop buying things you don’t really want and get rid of the accumulated junk.
Start with your closet. If you haven’t worn it in a long time, get rid of it. There is a reason you haven’t worn it, and that’s not likely to change. A sweater with sentimental value? Give me a break! Go through the rest of your house with the same mindset. Anything you don’t use, you don’t need. You could have a garage sale, but loading it all up and donating it to a homeless or women’s shelter will make you feel better.
Then you can add that to your habit tracker.
Just Say No
If you want something done, ask a busy person.
If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.
These two were my downfall. I couldn’t stand watching someone else muck up something, so I would take over.
And most people are happy to get out of your way and let you.
In both your personal and business life, you probably say yes far too often. Some people are just wired that way. They feel honored to be asked and don’t want to disappoint anyone by saying no. But every time you say yes, you are adding to your stress level. If the task doesn’t actually interest or engage you, and it’s not your direct responsibility, just say no to others, and start saying yes to yourself.
This is the big one. The one you’ve been waiting for.
When I was working, I often heard from retired friends how they are busier now than when they worked. I didn’t believe it then, but I do now.
But it’s almost entirely self-inflicted.
I would fill my schedule to overflowing with friends, family, writing, photography, chores, and all the other little things I do from day to day. I got so busy, I forgot to have fun.
There is this thought that once you become an adult, it is ‘time to put away childish things.’ But nothing could be further from the truth. You need to have more fun. If this means playing childish games or engaging in activities some deem foolish, so be it. Playing not only reduces stress, but makes you happier. Play more. Have Fun.
Try these two tricks that I use from time to time. First, pick a day and look at your to-do list. Any day will do. Tomorrow will work just fine. Take everything on your list that is not essential and delete it. Use rigorous honesty. What would happen if you didn’t go to the grocery store? Would you starve? I thought not, remove it. Call it a win if you can come up with an empty schedule. Move everything to another day. You don’t want to be worrying about the things you are not doing.
Now, live that day.
Get up, stay in your pajamas, and don’t do anything productive. Just have fun.
You will learn two things. One, nothing on that list was that important or critical, to begin with. And two, think how unstressed you are.
The next trick is this. Look at every day going forward and take some things off the list. Build in some slack time. Now, in those time slots or at that priority level, enter Have Fun. Make time in your schedule to relax, unwind, and just plain have fun. You’ve probably used this trick to make sure you exercise. Having fun is just as important. Schedule it.
Becoming the overworked, stressful person you are today didn’t happen overnight. Likewise, the solution won’t just occur in days, or maybe not in weeks. But adopting these five habits will eventually lead to less stress and a happier outlook on life.