Seven ways to minimize stressors
This is the first post in a series.
Here are seven ways to decrease your stress today by minimizing your stress triggers.
1. Cross things off your schedule and to-do list
A busy schedule can make you feel overwhelmed. Examine your schedule and make it more bare-bones. Create empty spaces. Your to-do list may be unreasonable. Break it up into what you want to accomplish in a year, a month, a week, and today. Make these lists realistic. What can you delete from your schedule every single day, in order to create more open space and free time?
2. Start saying no more often
Learn to say no if you don’t know how. Women are socially raised to always say yes, and put the needs of others before ourselves. While taking care of others is a beautiful thing, if it comes at the expense of taking care of ourselves, eventually we won’t have anything to give! Practice saying no with grace, and without apology or guilt. With practice it will come easier.
3. Batch the things you do in your schedule, so that you can be present
Instead of being swayed by whatever comes at you – phone calls, emails, or requests from others – take charge of your time. Make decisions about what’s essential, and then batch it. This means deciding when you are catching up on news, spending quality time with your kids, checking your email, answering phone calls, cooking, exercising, relaxing, or working. Shut down the things you are not doing. Know that all you need to do is the activity you are doing, so you can do it fully and be present while you do it.
4. Resist distraction and turn off notifications
Distractions can be a huge time suck, and cause you to feel off-track and overwhelmed. This includes online distractions, such a email and social media pings. Turn off your notifications and be in charge of when you deal with online tasks. You may find you spend less time online overall, or at least that your time online is dictated by your choice. You may also find that it’s incredibly freeing to unchain yourself from your phone for periods of time. What are your distractions that aren’t online and how can you turn them off?
5. Avoid and minimize stressful events
Don’t push yourself into situations that stress you out or drain your energy. Identify these situations and avoid them. Instead, spend your time in situations that recharge you. Introverts may prefer slower time with fewer people. Extroverts may get lonely by too much time alone or at home, and need to get out and be around lots of people. Seek the events and situations that feed you, and avoid the ones that drain you.
6. Avoid and minimize contact with stressful people
Minimize contact with people who stress you out. You know who those people are. Avoidance can be a great strategy in order to protect yourself and reduce your stress.
7. Drop pointless arguing and drama
If you recognize an argument is pointless, let it go. It’s not worth the stress. Do you notice that you tend to be in argumentative or dramatic situations regularly? If so, begin to practice letting go of these situations. There may be something about them that draws you. Real-life drama is inevitably stressful. If you enjoy a bit of drama, go see a high drama movie to get that desire out of your system.
In a nutshell:
- Delete to-dos
- Say no
- Batch activities
- Resist distraction
- Avoid stressful people
- Minimize stressful events
- Lose the drama
Please contribute in your comments below!
The next post includes specific ways to change your perception of stress, and your response.