- Sometimes all it takes is one less stress-inducer...
Everyone deals with some amount of stress. In fact, although stress is almost exclusively discussed in a negative way, there are actually positive things about it. The right amount of stress motivates and drives us. However, not understanding tips to minimize stress and/or too much of it can be paralyzing. There’s also a difference between the chronic and the acute form, with the former being particularly damaging because of its insidious, ongoing nature. The tips below can all help you reduce the stress in your life to a more manageable level.
Stress can make you feel like you have to do something right this minute. This is true if you need to slam on the brakes or stop someone from bleeding, but in most situations, you can take five minutes to consider your options before you react. Even in many face to face conversations, it’s acceptable to say something like, “I need to think about that.” In chronic stress situations, where you are dealing with an ongoing situation, you can build these times in throughout your day. Rather than waking up in the morning and immediately jumping into things, think about how to create a morning routine that sets you up for a calm entrance into your day. Take five, 10, or 15 minutes to just sit and listen to music, think, read, go on a short walk, or do something else that feels like carving out a moment for yourself.
Reduce Your Debt
Getting a handle on your finances is an admirable aim, but it can also seem overwhelming. A good place to start is with just one smart move that helps cut down on your debt. That could be refinancing your student loan debt, which can have a substantial effect on how much you are paying monthly and in interest. Over the life of the loan, refinancing can save you a lot of money. If you don’t have any student loan debt, maybe you have credit card debt. Call the company and ask for a reduction in your interest rate. If they don’t agree, see if you can roll your balance onto a card with lower interest.
Clutter can be a low-level source of stress, whether your house is overwhelmingly full of stuff or there’s just a drawer somewhere, a stack of mail or a rack of clothes you need to sort through. Taking a few minutes to sort through and discard a few items over a few sessions can go a long way toward reducing clutter and the nagging sense that you need to get around to. It can also help you make a start if the clutter is a real problem throughout your house.
Don’t Make it a New Project
There’s an irony to the above suggestions, which is that if you aren’t careful, they can all become additional items on your to do list that do the opposite of what you intend; add more stress. Or maybe there are other things you know you need to do, but the thought of doing them creates more anxiety. When this is the case, try to break tasks down into the smallest units you can. Two minutes of decluttering or time for yourself is better than none.