One of the main reasons we are more stressed than our grandparents were because we are taking on a lot more. We have families where each partner works a full-time job and a side hustle to make ends meet financially. That leaves all the hard work of keeping house and raising a family, we do during “off” hours. Most of us no longer mentally clock out at the end of the workday. Instead, we take our work home and are reachable at all hours via text message or email. Add to that the constant connectivity and social media stress, and it’s no wonder we’re more stressed than ever.
It’s time to do something about it. It’s time to stop trying to do all the things and focus on reducing stress in your life. Start by reviewing everything you do on a given day. An excellent tool for this is a time log. Keep a simple piece of paper or a small notebook with you always. Set an alert on your phone to go off every 30 minutes (during waking hours), and quickly jot down what you’re doing. Be brutally honest. No one else needs to see this log; you can burn it after you complete it. After a week of logging, you get a pretty good idea of where you spend your time and mental energy.
Now comes the fun part. Look through your data and decide what you can let go. What can you stop doing? Open up some time for yourself to exercise, meditate, or take a nap so you can catch up on much-needed sleep.
Next, it’s time to review and release all those worries, questions, and “should-dos” that are stressing you out. Get another sheet of paper or two and start writing down anything and everything on your mind. All the stuff you’ve been thinking about doing. All the things that have been worrying you. Get it all out. Walk away for a few hours, and then come back to your list. Cross out as much as you can. Things that are out of your control and you decide to release mentally. Tasks that you feel like you should do, that you don’t need to do. Then rewrite what’s left on two different lists. One will be things you can do or have someone else do for you. It will become your master to-do list for the next few months. The other is a list of worries or concerns. Notice how smaller and shorter those lists are and how much lighter you feel just getting it all out of your head.
Last but not least, burn that master brain dump list. Doesn’t it feel good?
Until next time, stay safe, and keep the faith.