I have a shirt in my closet that reads “Stressed, Blessed, and Coffee Obsessed” emblemized across the torso. Is it true? Yes. Do I wear it often? No. In today’s world, it is almost unheard of to not feel stressed. To some degree, stress can be a good thing but the levels most of us experience are not healthy. Building on our previous post of tiny habits, I want to share some habits I’ve implemented in my personal life that help keep my stress levels in check (pun intended – see below!).
Checklists help me categorize, prioritize, and make sure that I do not miss important to-dos throughout my day/week/month. Checklists are great because you see your progress as you mark yet another thing as “done!”. It’s like a little pat on the back. Anytime you think of something, put it on the list.
Packing list? ✓
Grocery list? ✓
Weekend to-dos? ✓
Project list? ✓
Menu for the week? ✓
Try using an app on your phone to keep your lists. Some apps allow you to share with others so you can divide and conquer! Checklists help lower stress by providing a way to keep track of things to do and see your progress.
#2 – 20 minutes at a time
See what you can get done in 20 minutes. At work: 20 minutes to answer emails, the next 20 minutes to work on a project, the next 20 minutes to get up and move around and grab a drink of water/coffee/tea. At home: 20 minutes to focus on laundry, then 20 minutes to sit and cruise the phone, the next 20 minutes to pick up the house. Cutting things down into bite-sized pieces helps you get more done in your day and can create more time for yourself. It also combats task fatigue so you can maintain creativity and approach with a fresh perspective every 20 minutes. This helps cut stress by getting more done throughout your day and breaking up your day so you don’t spend a bunch of time on a stressful task.
#3 – Get outside or reserve yourself some quiet time
So long as the weather permits, try to get outside. Perhaps reserve one of your 20-minute blocks to do this (or several!). It’s been proven time and again that getting outside helps lower your stress levels. Listen to the sounds of the world around you. Try to single out every sound you hear. Look up and around. If you can’t get outside, put on some yoga, draw a bath, read a book, or try out a meditation app. You don’t have to devote a lot of time to reap a lot of rewards.
These are just a few of the habits I personally use to decompress the stress in my life. Try taking one or all of these and using them in your day today. If you have a method or habit you use to keep stress at bay, share it below so we can all benefit from your experience. May your new year be less stressed, fully blessed, and coffee (or tea) obsessed! Happy 2019!