Stress is the number one cause of numerous illnesses, it also leads to early aging and high blood pressure. There are certain simple tips to help reduce your stress level. We’ve selected some that you’d find helpful:
1) One thing at a time.
You’ll feel better and less stressed if you just do one thing at a time. No matter if it is at work, in school or in your private life. This will make it easier to focus and to do a job of higher quality right away. Instead of having to go back several times and polish and rearrange to get the result you want.
If you have to multitask a few things during your day then set off some time for that. Single-task during most of your day but set off an hour in the afternoon, for instance, to do all of that multitasking stuff in one big swoop.
2) Write everything down.
If your memory is anything like mine then it might be a bit like a leaky bucket too often. So write everything down. Your ideas, tasks, and stuff you just have to remember.
Then you don’t have to worry about forgetting. And you will free up your mind for focusing on other things than remembering.
3) Keep your daily to-do list very short.
10 years ago I never used a to-do list. I got very little done. Then I started using a too overloaded to-do list. I got more done but I was stressed and felt overwhelmed a lot of the time. Today I use a very short daily list of just the 1-3 most important tasks. It works really well.
4) Don’t make mountains out of molehills.
One of the best ways to make your day and life easier, lighter and less stressful is to not build mountains out of molehills. To not create extra drama, overthink or create a problem out of something that doesn’t matter much. Or just out of air.
So how can you handle this bad habit?
Well, when a big problem is starting to build in my mind I first say something like: Hold on now…
This helps me to pause and become more receptive to change my line of thinking. Then I ask myself:
Will this matter 5 years from now? Or even 5 weeks from now?
Those two steps have helped me to build a lot fewer mountains in my life.
5) Spend 80% of your time focusing on a solution.
And only 20% of your time on dwelling on your non-molehill issue or problem. Instead of taking a common path and doing it the other way around. You’ll live a much more action-filled life and feel less pessimistic and powerless if you do.
6) Ask instead of guessing.
Reading minds is very hard. Misunderstandings will be plentiful if you try to do it. So communicate instead. You’ll have a lot less unnecessary conflicts, negativity and waste less of your and other people’s time.
7) Pack your bag before you go to sleep.
A simple one but one that can save you a lot of stress in the morning. Take 5 minutes before you go to bed to do this and you’ll also be less likely to forget something important like your schoolbook, wallet or phone.
8) Balance fully focused work with complete rest.
I usually work for 45 minutes. Then I take a 15-minute break away from the computer. I eat a snack, take a short walk or maybe watch half an episode of one of my favorite TV-series. This helps me to relax and to avoid stress building up during the day.
9) Set clear boundaries for your day.
This is very important, at least for me.
I need to have a good balance between work and rest. So I don’t work before 8 in the morning or after 7 in the evening.
10) Disconnect over the weekend.
It is also really helpful to find a good balance between work and rest from a weekly perspective. I do that by staying away from work and staying offline – except for one email check – during the weekend. I highly recommend trying it out.
If you have a cellphone for work leave it at your job. Or at least put it in silent mode, check it once every 24 hours and only call back if it is something important. Otherwise, let it wait until Monday.
These strict limits between hourly, daily and weekly work are a huge help for me to avoid the grey zone.
When you are in the grey zone then you are basically thinking and worrying about work when you are at home or you having a day off. Or you think about your private life and challenges there while you are at work.
Avoid the grey zone. It sucks the life out of you and can leave you so stressed that it becomes hard to focus or even to get a good night’s sleep.
11) Make sure you take time to do what you love to do.
Learn to get the necessary done quicker and don’t get lost in “have-to”. Prioritize what really matters to you and carve out time during your weekend or evenings to do what you love doing.
Maybe it is playing soccer with your kids, painting, writing, taking photos or reading. Whatever you love to do, make sure you set off some time for it regularly in your schedule. Because few things will relieve stress and energize you like an activity you love doing.
You don’t have to do everything yourself. You don’t have to control or micromanage. If possible delegate and let someone else get that task or project to done.
Do you even have to do everything that is on your schedule? What things could you stop doing altogether with no or very small consequences?
What things are your heart maybe not in like it used to be?
Could you say no to one or a few of those things to have more time and energy for what matters in both your professional and private life?
Reevaluate what you usually do in a day or week and see if there is something you would like to stop doing.
14) Be 10 minutes early.
This one has transformed my traveling from stressful situations to relaxing pieces of time in my day.
15) Stay on track by asking yourself questions every day.
One good way to find clarity, to not get behind on work and to actually do what matters each day is to ask yourself questions regularly.
Questions like: What is the most important thing I can do right now?
And: Is doing this bringing me closer to my goal?
If you like, write one of the questions down on a post-it note and put it where you will see it every day. It is very easy to forget to ask yourself the question otherwise.
16) Be smart about the three fundamentals of energy.
What are these three fundamentals? Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising a couple of times a week.
I know, these things are very obvious. But when you manage these three areas in a good way in practice then that makes a huge difference for your mood, energy, the outlook of life and how well you can handle stress.