Stress is part of life.
That goes without saying.
But, just because it’s part of everyday life, doesn’t mean we have to allow it to get comfortable in our life.
Chronic stress can drain your energy and undermine your health; both vital to success in any area of your life.
If you allow tensions to build up throughout the week, you may have trouble resting and recharging on your days off, which then becomes a vicious cycle of playing catch-up, but you never do.
You keep tumbling down the rabbit hole and you start each new week tired from the get-go, which means worse and worse results in the long run.
But we have options.
We can break the cycle with the next 4-step plan to squash stress before it accumulates and compounds.
You can start your week off feeling peaceful, relaxed and super important, focused.
1. Slow down.
Do you rush around from Monday to Friday trying to meet deadlines at work and deliver your kids to soccer practice on time?
Here’s a tip — take control of your bedtime routine.
Go to bed earlier and wake up early, to create some time to leave a gap between appointments and tasks.
Make a conscious attempt to slow your mind down, stop and smell the roses, collect your thoughts, and then continue.
Often we create chaos in our minds first believing the world will come to an end if we don’t reply and respond to every single email and phone call right then and there.
Most time management experts teach nowadays that taking control of your inbox is perhaps the most important thing you can do to take control back of your time and life.
Learn to stop, or at least, slow down.
2. Turn off your phone.
Try to disconnect for at least an hour each day.
Connect with family and friends face-to-face instead of texting.
Try it to discover just how attached you’ve become to that little device in your hands.
We are glued to our screens and it’s hurting relationships big time.
My wife and I have a standard arrangement — whenever we go for lunch, our phones stay off or in the car.
She initiated it. It was a good call (no pun intended).
3. Pray and meditate.
Now, you might not be a religious or spiritual person, but the business world is catching up fast on the powerful benefits of age-old practices like meditation and prayer.
It won’t hurt having an open mind about this.
For many adults, spiritual traditions are the ultimate source of their stability, contentment and inner resourcefulness.
You don’t have to go all weird if you don’t want to (because most real spiritual stuff is not); simply study inspirational texts and contemplate how they relate to your personal challenges today.
A good little book to get you started with is “Don’t sweat the small stuff” by Richard Carlson.
4. Express your creativity.
Being able to express ourselves through creating something is truly good for the soul.
That’s why I love writing posts and creating presentations, as it gives me the freedom to express myself while serving people with good value.
5. Live mindfully.
Studies show that humans suck at multitasking, and jumping from one subject to another creates anxiety.
Focus on the present moment to accomplish more with less effort.
The focus is the name of the game.
Discipline yourself to stay focused on one important task and completing it before moving on to the next.
Doing heaps at once might feel like you’re accomplishing more, but you’re actually not.
1. Edit your self talk.
Most of our self-talk is destructive.
We need to learn how to be kinder to ourselves.
So treat yourself with compassion.
Acknowledge your fears and losses.
We all have them to some degree to deal with it.
No need to give yourself a tongue lashing when you’ve made a mistake or failed to achieve something.
It’s part of life — learn from it and move on better and stronger.
2. Cultivate gratitude.
Gratitude is about perspective.
Remembering your blessings fuel you to embrace life rather than waste it.
Focusing on what’s right in the world instead of what’s wrong with it, instantly recharges us to deal a lot better with whatever might come our way.
3. Let go of expectations.
Of course, many outcomes in life are beyond our control.
Base your confidence on your ability to adapt to setbacks and changing circumstances.
Accept uncertainty, and take pleasure in the opportunity to learn and stretch your skills.
You cannot stress if you have no expectations, simply the faith to do what you must with what you have regardless of the outcome.
Expectations (or rather, them not being met) create fear, and fear is disempowering.
So let go of expectations and focus on goals and what you can do to achieve them.
4. Laugh it off.
Most of the things that make us uneasy have their funny side.
Look for the humour in really bad parking or kitchen remodelling jobs that go way over schedule.
Jim Rohn used to teach that we should move from frustration to fascination.
The one empowers us, the other stresses us out.
Take Care of Yourself
1. Exercise regularly.
Physical activity is good for your body and mind.
In addition to burning calories, a run through the park or at the nearest domain will dissolve stress.
Find a variety of workouts you enjoy so you can look forward to basketball or volleyball. Having something to look forward reduces stress in the present.
For example, ever had something epic to look forward to but crap still happened — yet you didn’t even care or notice that much because the future event just outweighed it completely?
Get something like that.
2. Eat a nutritious diet.
Diet plays an important role in keeping us resilient and able to deal with stress.
Get most of your calories from vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Reward yourself with movie tickets instead of second helpings of dessert.
3. Sleep well.
Your body uses sleep as a time to heal the physical inflammation caused by stress.
Sleep time is recovery time.
You grow and heal when you sleep.
So go to bed and rise at about the same time each day.
Darken your bedroom or wear earplugs if lights and noise are disturbing your sleep.
Simplify Your Routines
1. Clear away clutter.
Clean and spacious settings make it easier to relax.
Gather up items you no longer use.
Donate them to charity or sell them online.
As a bonus, you’ll be able to complete your housework in less time and eliminating another common source of stress.
2. Buy less.
Prevent clutter from gaining a foothold by consuming less.
Figure out how many shoes and electronic gadgets you really need and know when enough is enough.
3. Eliminate unnecessary tasks.
Streamline your schedule too.
Focus on your most important priorities, and avoid taking on other obligations.
Often, if you’re like me, not only do we have heaps going on already, we go and look for even more to put on your plate.
Quit doing that.
It’s a bad habit.
Learn to finish the stuff you’ve started before taking on the next thing.
Take away …
Cut stress off at the source or kill the monster while it’s little.
Begin your week with simple habits and easy decisions that protect your peace of mind.
You’ll feel less disorganised and rushed, and more alive each day.
I hope some of these ideas helped you.