Life is exhausting for just about everyone. But when you throw in the added stressors of home life, children, work, health, finances etc… Even that list is exhausting. And when you’re in the middle of it all, it’s hard to see if there’s a way for it to be more smooth, easy and enjoyable. In fact - it’s hard to believe it’s possible. But here’s the truth. Until you find a way to make it be more simple and uplifting, you’ll only keep drowning in it, and running for the safety of the nearest wine glass, chocolate or Netflix binge to make it all go away. I’m all for pleasure, but not when it’s about you hiding from your problems. So let’s shift perspectives for a minute and see if there’s a way to bring more ease and joy into your daily life, so you don’t have to hide from it.
First of all, I want to point out that the problems that are overwhelming you, aren’t your only problems. What’s worse is the domino effect they tend to create. Stress causes weight gain and poor sleep. Poor sleep weakens your immune system and makes you pretty grumpy. Weight gain from stress is uncomfortable, bloating, can cause other health problems…and also make you grumpy. Stress also makes you less productive and less able to mindfully care for your thoughts, body and needs. So why bring more ease and joy into your life? Because stress sucks, eats up your life and other people’s lives along the way. Not good.
So let’s consider some helpful ideas:
Chill out on the sugar. Sugar has it’s place on occasion, but for the most part it’s there to make you think it likes you and then leaves you to suffer alone. Our bodies thrive in an alkaline (balanced) environment. Think of alkaline like how you feel after a good night’s sleep and no obligations the next day. Peace. Well the opposite of that is acid. And you can think of an acidic body the way you feel after an all nighter and still having to function the next day. That’s acid. And sugar is hugely acidic. If you’re feeling stressed, chill out on the sugar or cut it out all together and see how that helps. You might be surprised.
Reduce the noise on your calendar. We as a society tend to over schedule ourselves and then we beat ourselves up for not being all things to all people at all times of the day and week. Calm down. You’re human and your mind and body has it’s limits. Only schedule what needs to be done and then delegate the rest to others schedule it in on a different week. (More tips on getting your to-do list done without loosing your mind here!)
Time cushions. On that same not of doing too much, we do too much and don’t leave ourselves enough time to be where we need to be or get things done on time. So start scheduling in time cushions. Does it take 15 minutes to get where you’re going? Great. Plan for 30 minutes and bring a book in case you’re early. The same can be done for tasks and projects. Look at how long you think it will take, and add on an extra 15 - 30 minutes to allow for challenges along the way. (*Note. Don’t give yourself double the time though because that just leads to procrastination. This is about ease. And procrastinating is one of the biggest and sneakiest stressors out there.)
One thing at a time. Maybe you haven’t heard yet, but multi-tasking is no longer the applauded skill it used to be. It’s actually destroying our productivity because our brains and bodies can’t focus. So an hour passes by and what could be finished with by now, has hardly been worked on because of all the extra ‘tabs’ open in our browser. Make your list of things to do and do them one by one. You will get done, you’ll do it well and you won’t loose your mind getting there.
Declutter your home. A cluttered home is a cluttered mind, is a cluttered life. Your home should be a place where you can come to unwind. But if thinking of decluttering your home is already raising your blood pressure, just choose one area that you love - that you will go to for relaxing and letting go, and make sure that space is free of clutter and ready to welcome you.
Immersive activity. Immersive activities are mindless acts of joy and pleasure. They are the things we do that are fun, creative, freeing and lift our moods. Painting, sculpting, dancing, hiking, music, yoga… these are all activities that get us out of our heads and into the experience of the moment. We can let go. Give yourself 30 minutes of immersive activity each day if you can. If not - 15 minutes. But be consistent. Immersive activities are spaces of joy for us and joy increases serotonin and dopamine in the brain; a natural sleep aid and anti-depressant. Go figure.
Slow down. You’ve cut out what’s unnecessary on your calendar and given yourself more time to be places and get things done. You’re doing one thing at a time, so you’re getting things done in a more efficient and quality way. Good. That means you can slow down. You don’t need to hurry around like crazy anymore because you have the time to get it done. Whew!
Honor your limits. Not everyone will like that you’ve slimmed down the calendar. Everyone thinks their needs are the most important and you should keep them at the top of your list. Sometimes that’s true for job deadlines, but most of the time it isn’t. It’s just about others wanting what they want now. But you matter too and you’re the only one who’s able to honor that. If you’re asked to do something and you know it’s too much, say no. They’ll get over it. YOU are your priority. (self honor isn’t selfish - it’s sustainable.)
Too often, we put our needs to the side to please the needs and desires of others. As a mother of three, a partner, a business owner, friend, daughter etc…. I know what that’s like. But I’ve also suffered severely from chronic fatigue syndrome as a result of not knowing how to honor my body and time. I learned the hard way but I overcame. Don’t let your need to please turn into a life debilitating fatigue syndrome. And if it’s already gotten there, please let me give you hope. These tips were the beginning of me getting my life back.
You absolutely can have less stress and more joy in your life. It starts with the choice to honor your needs and set priorities.
Can you relate? Share your experiences around people pleasing, time management and stress. What sets you off? What helps you?
Let me know in the comments below.
And remember. You’re not alone. We’re in this together.
Pass this on and share the hope!
To your liberation,