How to Destress Your Life – Part Two
In Part One, we covered ways to tackle the physical effects of everyday stress with a view to improving both mental and physical wellbeing. This included self-care, exercise, and breathing techniques. This time, we’re going to focus on external causes of stress and how to take control of them before they take control of us.
Evaluate Your Life
Let’s just start with the big one. It may not be comfortable to confront some truths but your job, relationships, and daily routines are great places to start when contemplating the factors adding to your stress.
Although stress is normal, constantly being overwhelmed by it is not. It may be time for a change in one or more areas of your life to decrease the amount of stress you have to deal with. These could be small or big changes. It could be about removing or changing existing aspects of your life. If it doesn’t bring you joy, it may be time to say goodbye. On the other hand, this could involve introducing new elements to your life that you have a need for.
Make a Plan
This follows on from the previous point. It can be difficult to remain optimistic when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, especially if you can’t see past it. It’s been proven that those with a positive mindset can better deal with stress so it doesn’t affect them as much as those that tend to think negatively.
It is certainly easier to see past immediate trials if we have an idea of what we want to achieve, change, or experience. Having that idea, that realisation, is step one. Step two is setting in place a plan to make it happen.
Write down your goals. Break down into steps how you can realistically work towards achieving them, be it via education, improving skill sets, introducing new hobbies, whatever. Making each step small and realistically doable can get you on the path to turning goals into actual achievements. Feeling that sense of success can boost confidence and self-belief and thus, our positivity. Putting these steps in place can give us a positive mindset that can help offset the negativity of daily stress.
Write a To-Do List
If your stress is coming from a sense of feeling overwhelmed with too much to do, keeping a to-do list can be a helpful way to stay on top of things. Studies show that this practice can help you get to sleep quicker.
The thinking is that, by writing the things you need to do the next day, it could help stop your mind from concentrating on them and replaying them when you need to sleep. Try keeping a notebook beside the bed and noting down the next day’s tasks; it’s a simple, one-minute task that could help improve your sleep and thus reduce a little stress.
Putting off the things you don’t want to do may seem like the answer but it doesn’t do your stress level any favours. Procrastination leads you to work against a deadline or waste time, and that in itself will pile on even more stress.
Prioritise your day to ensure you are taking care of what needs to be done, even if it makes you want to groan in the moment. Equally, consider the effects of decision fatigue and, if possible, employ ways of minimising unnecessary distractions.
Learn to Say “No”
Busy schedules can be overwhelming and increase our stress levels. When you already have a packed day, an unexpected event can easily send you over the edge.
Take a step back and learn to prioritise your time. Remove any tasks that aren’t essential to your life or which don’t bring you happiness. Learn to say “no” when you are asked to do something that doesn’t add value to your life. Setting boundaries can be difficult at first, but the more you set them, the easier it becomes!