We all know how important it is to reduce stress. But often it is never as simple as willing your stress away. I’m a massive believer in affirmations and positive thinking. I know that mindset is super important. When I am at a point where just about everything becomes a monumental mission, the time for positive thinking has sadly passed. At this point, I need self care strategies that take pressure off as quickly as possible.
Over the years, one of the most effective strategies has been a little trick my mom taught me many years back during my darkest days of depression. She taught me to take pressure off wherever possible, whether it was shifting a deadline, saying no to work, cancelling plans or doing anything else that reduced the pressure. This strategy has continued to work, even after getting past the depression.
Lately, after dealing with my hospitalisation and related issues, I have found that a new trick has come in handy. Even though I have not had any seizures since my fun hospital adventure, I have had zero energy. Many things started to feel overwhelming. Housework, washing, dishes, pool duty, work, social plans, fitness, yoga, eating habits… trying to get my life back has felt like an uphill battle. On top of that, I have had to re-find myself, somehow. It’s like the universe hit the reset button but left me not fully equipped to get back on track.
That brings me to my really simple and obvious trick to reduce stress. It’s not rocket science or even a novel idea. Not even sure how it took me this long to have a lightbulb moment.
A Really Easy Yet Effective Way to Reduce Stress
The other day after work, I was doing my usual sitting outside, talking to the cats and watching tiny grasshoppers on my overgrown lawn. I was trying not to worry about the pile of things I had to try and somehow get through this week. I was feeling very, very tired. Then I thought about a way that I could reduce stress a bit…
What if, instead of trying to do all the things, and ending up doing none of the things instead, I focused on doing just one thing each day? That way, I could break down all the things into manageable chunks.
My lovely Meow & Zen Goals and Gratitude planner has space each day for things that make me feel grateful, overall goals, and then my to-dos for the day. The to-dos include my work schedule, which I manage in a different way. But, for the goals, I usually add the non-work related tasks. These were the tasks that kept adding up and never getting done. Since my brain wave, I have focused on just one goal for the day. The other day, it was doing the dishes. Yesterday it was doing a load of washing. Today, it will be even yoga practice – even a short one.
Breaking down bigger tasks into smaller tasks is not a new concept, of course. It is a seriously effective one, though. I already feel a lot better because I know that I can manage that one thing. I am not setting massive, unrealistic goals, either. I am setting goals that I can manage. This little trick has seriously lightened up my week and I feel calmer already. It hasn’t taken away all the worries or magicked away any issues. It has made things feel easier, though.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, try this trick. It will at the very least reduce stress a bit and you will feel better.