If you’re like me, your life might be just a little busy. Maybe you’re running after kids who are in every sport or extracurricular activity, playing on intramural sports teams yourself, busy remodeling your house, helping on the ranch, or more. The list can go on and on with things that keep us busy. Unfortunately, that means long over-due projects tend to get pushed to the wayside. On top of that, many of us are typically swamped at work and have a to-do list a mile long.
We all dream of taking vacations or just taking a day to relax and get away from our busy lifestyle, but the fact is, many of us also dread it more. Generally, we often think getting away from the office can be more stressful than staying in the office, as there can be a painful backlog of work when you return. Despite what we think, stepping away from the daily grind, taking time to relax and de-stress your life, not only can make you better at your job but is a vital part to rejuvenating our lives. Here’s a few tips I recently learned:
Be Healthy: An easy way to reduce stress in our lives is to be healthy. Yes, we hear and probably see healthy gimmicks all the time about how to lose weight fast or be healthy over night, but honestly, being healthy starts from the moment you wake up. Having a healthy breakfast and packing your lunch to ensure you are eating well, are easy ways to de-stress your life. We’ve all been there when time slips away from us, we binge eat on something bad because “we had no time” to prepare a good meal. That then leads to stress about the bad decisions we made. This stress can easily be avoided if we focus on going for a walk, taking a yoga class, eating better and taking care of ourselves. I know I’ve personally struggled with this all my life and can honestly say, the more I work on a healthier version of me, the better and less “stressed” I feel!
Turn Off Your Phone: While we all enjoy looking at our smartphones, whether that’s for trivia, shopping, texting or catching up on the latest news on social media, it also can be stressing us out. Think of all the times that something on your phone has gotten you worked up, especially with all that is going on in our world today. Richard Balding, a psychologist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Worcester, England discovered and published a study noting, that our trusty handheld devices can truly add more stress in our life. The constant need to answer a notification, is just another thing on our to do-lists for many of us, myself included. A few weekends ago, I spent a day with two good friends, and it felt so good to simply be engaged, laughing, and catching up, rather than being concerned with the emails I was getting or notifications of people trying to contact me. No, you don’t have to ignore everyone trying to get a hold of you, but recognize what triggers your stress, and try to stay away from it. Also, don’t forget to acknowledge those around you, IRL (social media term for in real-life).
Stop Comparing Yourself: Theodore Roosevelt once said, comparison is the thief of joy. For many of us, comparison is something we do daily, maybe even hourly. We find ourselves comparing our looks to others, our athletic abilities, our talents, and even sometimes compare our current colleagues to previous ones. It’s not always intentionally, and often isn’t even something we’re aware of. Too often however, comparison leads to more stress, and less relaxation. There are serious consequences of using others as a constant benchmark for our own worth. Run your own race, at your own pace. If you do that, you’ll be well on your way to a less stressful life.
Get Organized: For many, lack of organization is one of the most common stress triggers. It’s always frustrating when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Whether you’re organizing your office desk, or your kitchen drawers at home, taking time to put things back into place can help ease stress for everyone around you.
Stop Procrastinating: There’s days when I plan my life out months in advance and then there’s days when I let the procrastination devil get the best of me. Procrastination, is not my friend. It adds higher levels of stress, no doubt. As my wedding is less than seven months away, I’m trying to accomplish as many tasks as I can now, so I don’t have to stress about them later. By doing so, I can honestly say, I feel less stressed and more refreshed. Tackling that long, hard project you didn’t want to touch at your office, sooner, rather than later, can definitely ease the burden. You’ll feel less stressed and more relaxed, once those hard tasks are over.
Do Something You Enjoy: Between taking care of your kids, balancing work duties, and household chores, often when we get busy and stressed, we think there is no time for hobbies that once made us happy. That shouldn’t be the case. This past weekend, while I could’ve been productive working outside picking rocks in the arena as I approach rodeo season, or I could’ve been checking things off my work to-do list, I instead opted to work on some handmade crafts and jewelry. I relaxed, turned on a good TV show for background noise, and de-stressed by doing something I enjoy. Yes, it was that easy. Whether you enjoy taking a nap, going to the movies or calling up a long-lost friend, don’t be afraid to push the work aside and the things that stress you out, in exchange for something you enjoy. I promise you, those chores you have to do, can wait if it means enjoying yourself for a change (well don’t procrastinate TOO much).
I’ve found in my twenty-something years of life, that there is no secret one size fits all recipe for happiness. We all enjoy different things in life, but through our enjoyment, we can de-stress our lives. After several long weeks, I could tell I needed a weekend at home to simply do my own thing, relax and de-stress, so that’s exactly what I did. It’s important that each one of us doesn’t forget to take some time to relax, sleep in on a weekend day, or go for a walk and smell the fresh air. Do something that makes you happy. Your body and co-workers will thank you for your de-stressed and more productive attitude. Also, don’t forget, you deserve it!