November 9th has an odd designation. It’s “chaos never dies” day.
There was a time in my life when I enjoyed chaos. I thrived on it. I prided myself, as a busy mom of 4, on my multi-taking ability.
Then something happened. My multi-tasker broke. During a season of extreme challenge, I fell into a scary depression. It was during that time that my multi-tasker broke. In my depression I found I could barely focus on one thing, much less multiple things.
The hidden blessing of that depression, at the end of it, was an increased ability to focus and a new aversion to chaos. More than anything else I needed, and need, peace in my life.
We live in a stressful world. Even though my kids are now grown, When I get home from work, it’s not time to relax yet. I still have to cook dinner, clean up, feed the cats, do the laundry, review paperwork for the next work day, and more.
When I’m finally done doing everything, it’s time to go to bed just so I can wake up and do it all over again the next day. Know the feeling?
Luckily, there are strategies you can use to help you minimize the stress in your life.
Not all stress is bad. We experience stress because it is actually useful. A little bit of stress keeps you motivated to get things done. Stress can also help keep you alert and being alert helps you avoid danger.
However, too much stress can have both emotional and physical consequences. So what can you do to help reduce the stress in your life?
Consider these ideas:
- Get more sleep. This is easier said than done, but getting more sleep helps a lot when it comes to reducing stress. You know all to well how it feels to handle stress on too little sleep – it’s brutal. Keep your sleep tank topped off and you’ll manage everything better.
- If you’re only sleeping five hours a night, simply going to bed three hours earlier probably won’t do the trick. Try going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier for a few nights. If that works for you, do it again until you are getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Find some other ways to relax. Take a little “me time” whenever possible. Try these activities to help you relax:
- Go for a walk
- Find a hobby
- Listen to music
- Get more exercise. When you exercise vigorously, your body releases endorphins which are hormones that make you feel good. Exercising also helps you release pent-up energy and physical exertion makes you tired and will help you relax. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just get out and take a walk!
- Get organized. If you start your day by making a plan and sticking to it, you’ll eliminate a lot of stress. Being pulled in a lot of different directions is very stressful, but when you stick to your plan, you can get things done by breaking them down into small, manageable pieces.
- Set realistic goals. If you set goals that are difficult or impossible to achieve, you’ll be creating more stress for yourself. However, when you can achieve your goals and cross things off your to-do list, you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
- Find someone to talk to. Simply getting something off your chest can give you a tremendous amount of relief and it’s much better than keeping things bottled up inside.
- Talk to a professional. If the stress in your life is too much for you to deal with on your own, seeking professional help and talking to a therapist can be a great solution.
- Talking to a therapist can certainly help you get things off your chest, but unlike talking to a friend or family member, a therapist may be able to suggest some relaxation techniques or other effective strategies for coping with stress.
If you’re dealing with stress in your life, you’re not alone. However, you can use these tips to minimize your stress and live a more relaxing and enjoyable life.