|Photo Credit: Stellar Propeller Studio|
With so many things, dreams, responsibilities, needs, and people clamoring for our time and energy, stress seems to live just around the corner. If you add one more thing to your overflowing to-do list you just might explode. I totally get it. As a dreamer, a doer, and a people lover – I can easily find myself on the corner of “overwhelmed” and “I’m totally going to cry.” Yes, there are things to get done and places to go but we do not need to live in this constant state of stress. These three things are something you can do right now to take some of that weight off your shoulders.
CROSS IT OFF
I know, you only want to cross it off until it is completed but I want you to cross it all off until only three things remain. Better yet, throw away your list and start a new one – only write down the three most important things you would like accomplished today. Those things may be as simple as take a shower, meet a friend for coffee, and make dinner. Sometimes they may be more business focused – write a blog post, edit photos, and answer 10 emails.
Sometimes we fill our lists with unneeded things. We know everything that needs to get done sometime (or at least we think needs to get done) and so we write it all down and we are overcome with stress. We throw up our hands saying there is not enough time in the day and we react. Somethings can really wait until tomorrow, somethings really don’t need to get done, and somethings can even be delegated (hint: you don’t have to do it all.)
TAKE A BREAK
When I find myself on the tipping point of tears, snapping, and general unpleasantness due to my stress levels I have to physically walk away. Shut things down, put things away, and move somewhere else. Do something that energizes you (and something not on your list) – go on a walk, take a nap, read a book for fun, sit on your porch with a glass of tea, write in your journal, take a shower, etc. When you step away from the problem and the stress you have a chance to refocus and remember what is really important. I know you still have things that need to get done but set a 30 minute timer and do something completely unrelated and fun. Take a break. You will come back to your work with a new outlook and fresh focus. We need breaks, we need rest, we need fresh air – it really does help your efficiency…. or you can just try to push through it, mindlessly brows social media (which will make you feel like you need to add more to that list), and see how that goes for you.
GET A FRESH PERSPECTIVE
Try to look at your day or your to-do list with new eyes. Look for the blessings, the things you can be thankful for. Make a new list of the joys in your life. Find something funny to laugh at or call a friend (the easy friend to talk to, not the hard one) and just laugh together. Laughing is proven to help melt those stress bubbles away.
Most of the time my stressful to-do list is filled with things that need to get done but also things I feel like I need to be. Clean the house (to look perfect to my guests), make the best dinner ever (to prove that I am the best wife ever), send a thoughtful card to everyone I know to encourage them and make their day (to be the best friend and the one who cares so well for others.) These things are all good but they are unrealistic because none of us are (or can be) perfect! They are things on our list that we can’t actually accomplish and will just leave us feeling guilty or failures. Give yourself grace and allow your friends to see your imperfect home. Make a quick meal or order out – sometimes other things are more important than spending hours making a gourmet dinner. Write one note and mail it. Let yourself be yourself and be okay with who you are.
Next time you feel like you are on the brink of stress, try these three things and let me know how it goes! What are some things that you do to de-stress? Please share below in the comments – we can all learn from each other and learn to let go of the insane amount of pressure we put on ourselves.