6 Steps to Destress

Feeling stressed?  Maybe there is something you should or shouldn’t be doing.  If you’re shouldering your share of stress, here’s some tips to help you de-stress and take a load off.

  1. Do something that makes you happy. When was the last time you did something you truly enjoy? Read a book that wasn’t work-related (ok, so I’m guilty of this). Go take a walk just because, and notice how beautiful a flower can be. Go to coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Play a card game with your spouse or partner without the TV. Go see a movie.
  2. Stop and think about what is stressing you out, and how you can alleviate the problem. Beth, of My Simpler Life Blog wrote beautifully on this, so I’ll link it HERE, because I couldn’t have written it better myself!
  3. Simplify Your Life. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – simplify your life.  It’s east to let stuff (tangible or otherwise) take over and accumulate.  Sometimes you have to edit your life and get rid of things that are not making sense, or making you unhappy.  Is it easy?  Sometimes not, but having the courage to take control of your own life is worth your sanity in the long run.  (Incidentally, if you haven’t read Seth Godin’s new book, The Dip, I highly recommend it! It gives great tips on quitting, and what that means for you in the long run.)
  4. Will this matter in 5 years? A good, and ahem, more experienced friend of mine gave me some great advice several years ago: when faced with the day to day stuff, ask yourself, “will this matter in five years?”  If the answer is no, then don’t sweat it.
  5. Concentrate on what is good in your life, and how to attract more of the good. Almost everyone on the planet is talking about The Secret, and for good reason.  Concentrate on what is good in your life, and you will attract more of it to you.  What you think about it, you will bring to your life – so make your thoughts good ones!
  6. Review this list. A great list from Jobacle on 50 things you can do to destress.  Take 5 minutes to read it.  You won’t be sorry!

“Remember America: Organization Will Set You Free”

So, if you’re an Alton Brown fan, such as myself you may know where that quote comes from.  The truth is,  organization can set you free.  With talk lately about a personal perception of the merits of “messes” these days, I just cant resist the temptation to put my two cents into the conversation.

Messy is highly overrated.

Let me tell you, as a former “messie” type, I was stressed.  Not finding things, working myself into an absolute tirade over lost keys (yet again), accusing my poor unsuspecting husband of moving lost items….it was not pretty.  For me, it didn’t work.  I had too much stuff.  When I started to go through it all, it was liberating.  I discovered a lot about myself, and some of that wasn’t pretty either!

Organized = doing what you do, only better.

There are those who would think that organization = perfection.  A conversation with someone close to me prompted me to say, “You know, you’d be surprised at how organizing oneself really is helpful.  It helps you do what you do better, like getting the important things done.”  It’s not about rule setting or shame, or any of that other nonsense.  Organizing simply helps you be a better…..well….YOU.

Reduce Stress

New Year Resolution #4:
Reduce Stress

8 Days of Resolutions

This series is all about the top New Year Resolutions. One of those is “Get Organized”. Have you ever made this resolution? How did it go? Did you do a “crash & burn” weekend on Jan. 2nd and everything was back to the way it was by Jan. 10th? Try using organization as a tool for whatever change you desire. You may surprise yourself!

What stresses you out?

What’s for dinner?  Wasn’t my best client’s birthday yesterday?  Did I have a meeting today?  What was the thing I wasn’t supposed to forget to do today?

How can you reduce stress?  Here’s three tips:

1. “Will this matter in 5 years?”

As a young newlywed, I had a great more “experienced” friend who helped me with some perspective on stress.  I admired her ability to remain cool under pressure (she had 5 grown children & several grandchildren who frequented her home and an aging parent living with her at the time).  When I asked her how she she seemed to keep a cool head when things got crazy, she replied, “I ask myself, ‘Will this matter in 5 years?’ ”  If the answer was “no” she didn’t worry to much about it.  Wise words, and they still ring in my ears today.

2. Structure isn’t a four letter word.

I recently heard a quote by T.S. Elliott:  “When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost–and will produce its richest ideas.  Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl.”

When I talk to people at my workshops or presentations, many of them are afraid of structure.  I get it, I really do.  I am not a very linear person, and I used to poo-poo the idea of structuring my day.

When I had my son, I learned that children need and crave structure.  Breakfast at 8am, nap at 10:30, lunch at 12:30, nap at 3:00, dinner at 6:30, bed at 8:00.  I learned that my son was happier, well adjusted and just plain more enjoyable to be around when we stuck to the schedule.  Now, of course we took side trips, went to special events and did other activities that called for flexibility in our schedule.  However, we soon eased back into the routine when things got back to normal.

I found when I structured my day, planned out tasks and arranged my calendar, it was easier to get the important things done.  I didn’t worry about what I needed to do, because I had already planned it out and had some flexibility when other matters came up.  I know when things start to slip and get out of control, it was time for a check-in to see what needs to improve.  Guess what?  When I stick (sometimes somewhat loosely) to a schedule, I’m a happier, well adjusted, less stressed and just plain more enjoyable to be around…  Go figure.

3. Find an outlet.

I love to read.  I love self-improvement books, but I also love period fiction (like Memoirs of a Geisha).  A friend asked me once, “Where do you find the time to read so much?”  I responded, “I make time.”  Reading is an escape, a chance for me to go into another world and watch a story unfold.  I wonder what the characters will do, say or experience next.  I think about what I would do in that situation and what I can learn and apply to my own life and mind.

24 hours might not seem like a lot, but it really is.  It’s amazing how much time I can fritter away without even thinking about it.  But, I always make time for things I like to do.  I believe it’s essential to reducing stress.  If we don’t give ourselves little pockets of time to do what we like, we’ll soon have nothing to give to others or our business.  Make time for an outlet of enjoyment, and see how you feel.

How are you going to reduce stress this year?


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