10 Tips for Reducing Stress and Overwhelm

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Lately I have talked to no less than 10 people who are in some form of overwhelm or high level of stress. Sometimes with an accompanying high level of anxiety and/or depression. My curious mind really started wondering if it is always this way and I just wasn’t aware of it because people don’t usually walk around sharing some of their deeper more private experiences or if it is something that is on the rise.

It really caught my attention because I have also been experiencing a noted increase in it as well and have been wondering about the “why” as well as what might best help – naturally, of course!!

I thought I was making some headway and feeling more and more calm, etc, but then we got the news of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my husband, and therefore possibly me as well, being able to go to Europe! We have both wanted to go for many years and had already been in the early planning stages of it, but thinking it probably would work best later this year. Then, knock, knock, knock! He got an opportunity to attend a workshop at one of his idol’s locations.

This threw us both into overdrive, scrambling in every direction in an attempt to see if we can actually both go. This involves shuffling schedules, changing other commitments, budgeting big-time, and research, research, research, to determine optimal flight options (dates, times, routes, destination cities, costs, nonstop vs multiple stops, etc.), lodging options, places of interest, and peace of mind… All of this in the shortest amount of time possible as the workshop is not far away and the closer it gets, the higher the cost of flights goes.

All this really seemed to put my new-found calm to the test and bump my stress level back up to about where it was before…  : (

The good news is this took me to another level of awareness about it all and prompted me to search further for natural and alternative ways to assist us all at times like this. Some of those I will be sharing with you today as tips and updating you on a couple techniques that I will be researching further and implementing to the best of my ability and providing further updates in the future. Optimally, they will all work really well, and I will not only benefit, but be able to share raving reviews about them here as well as pass them along to others with my highest recommendations!

I have already posted in the past (revisit my post here) making suggestions for your daily or weekly habits to help cultivate peace, joy, health and happiness, but these are additional pointers to help with organization and decision-making, thereby reducing your overall stress level and your sense of overwhelm. Here goes:

1 –  Reduce Your Load – Although it may seem counter-productive on the surface, one of the best ways to reduce stress and overwhelm is to reduce your “do-do’s”. That’s right, cut back on the amount of sh*t you feel so pressured to do! This not only reduces the size of your load, but also lowers your anxiety about what you have to get done. Think about it, if you have 50 things to do to prepare for your day or a meeting, etc, your mind is consumed with how you are going to work it all in in the amount of time you have, but if you now only have 20 or 25, or even 10, your load just got WAY lighter! And if you feel like you simply cannot do this, that is a definite sign you REALLY need to do it! You may need to start by reading up on how harmful all that stress and overwhelm are to your health, longevity, quality of life, enjoyment, relationships, sleep quality/amount, etc and then reassess what is really important in your life and make some decisions based on that, but remember: what will you be able to do with your life if you are no longer alive to do it?

2 – Take Inventory – One of the best ways to start the load reduction is by taking an inventory of what all is stressing you out. What do you feel “needs to be done?” Sit down and make a list. Put everything on it you can think of, both personal and professional, the simple to the complex. If you are in a stressed out state right now, take a break of some kind first. If you can, go outside and at least do some deep breathing while looking around the world and noticing what kinds of amazing and beautiful things are all around. Even better, take a walk for 10-30 minutes doing some deep calm breathing and noting the amazing world you are surrounded by. If you start having to dig for more, move on to another step as momentum is your friend and you can always come back and add on if you want to.

3 – De-clutter and Reduce – Cleaning up your surroundings, getting more organized and reducing the amount of information coming at you can all help to soothe your mind as well. Take the time to organize your work space and then make a plan to address any other areas of your life that need organizing or attention and come up with a way to include that in your schedule. Look at where all your emails, etc are coming from. Can you unsubscribe from any of those? Can you reduce how often they email you? (need pointers on how to de-clutter? check here)

4 – Create Some Guidelines – I am definitely one of those people who wants to do or learn about, or both, almost everything in the world! This can make it very tough to not only decide what to do, but when. One of the helpful ways through tendencies like this is the concept of planning your day, etc with some guidelines for yourself. This will help with your decision making ability and the ease with which you do it as well as assist you in determining what you want to say “Yes” or “No” to. It is recommended to stick with having 2-4 things/steps per day you are committing to as well as no more than 2-3 projects you are working on at a time. This allows you more peace of mind and more ability to complete them in a reasonable amount of time and be more organized and dedicated about doing it. All of this adds up to feeling better about yourself and your abilities and who doesn’t want that?

5 – Prioritize Your List – Now that you not only have your list, but your guidelines in place, you can go back and review your list to make note of what the most important items are. This importance is best when it is based upon your long-term gain or benefit, not that it is a bonfire at this moment in time. You want your guiding plan to be based on your long-term happiness and success, not on whatever crisis is rising up at this point in time. Hopefully, using this system will significantly reduce the frequency and occurrence of any bonfires, allowing space for much more peace and enjoyment of the things that are most important to you.

6 – Flush The Unnecessary – This is the point at which you really look at the items on the list and note which ones can be eliminated entirely or “flushed”. Also take note of those that can be delayed to a future time, delegated to someone else or automated somehow (all of which reduce your do-do load).

7 – Reconsider or Re-discuss – If you still have quite a large list that seems to need to be done right away, take note of any commitments/do-do’s that someone is waiting on or you have an agreement of some kind about. These could be items you said you would do around the house or yard, help with a friend’s computer or project, a project that is due at work, etc. Assess whether any of these can be considered for bumping the due date out further in the future, and if so, meet with the other party involved and share with them that you are experiencing a high amount of stress/overwhelm right now and are adjusting your schedule to aid in alleviating that and would greatly appreciate it if they would feel ok with bumping the due date out. (Reminder: if you do this, it is best to Really be able to deliver on the newly agreed upon date.)

8 – Take A Breather – Another thing you can do, if possible, is to take some time off and decompress. This could be as little as a partial day or a full vacation. Just make sure that whatever you think you need is workable in meeting your commitments and does not unreasonably add to your stress level by making your piles of do-do’s extremely large when you return. In other words, if you are going to do this, you will probably need to adjust any appointments, project due dates, meetings, etc., until after your return as well as remembering when you adjust the schedule to space them out to prevent large amounts of stress when returning. Another thing to remember is that when you take time off, it is to unplug, decompress and rejuvenate yourself, so no work is to be done while taking time off. Use this time to relax only! Then, upon your return, reintegrate in a peaceful manner. Do this by taking 20-45 minutes when you return to review everything on your schedule and reorganize it or prepare so that you have a more peaceful experience.

9 – Set The Tone For Life From This Day Forward – Take some time in the evening or on the weekend, to reflect on how your perfect day or workday would go. Think about things like when you would exercise, eat lunch, have your meetings, work on your most important tasks, make/return phone calls, address emails, etc, and how long you would spend on these activities. Efficiency gurus suggest that doing things like phone calls, dealing with emails, doing small tasks, etc, are best done in blocks of time that keep you from spending more time on those than you really want in relation to your day. They also suggest that doing the most important things or things that give you the most return be done early in the day.

 “Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” – Richard Carlson (author of Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff)  (check it out here)

10 – Remind Yourself Not To Sweat The Small Stuff – Remember that most everything is made up of many smaller steps to get it to completion and that focusing on the next step needed to be done and doing it will eventually lead to the bigger project taking form, but when you get discouraged by focusing on the grandiosity of “everything” that needs to be done, you can sometimes get discouraged and quit taking action. Sadly, this will most definitely lead to failure of achieving what you want. For this reason, it is best to remain focused on what you want, what you are working towards and what are your next steps; keeping this momentum will take you anywhere you want to go.

I feel better just having this refresher and learning new tips how to manage and look at my life in a more peaceful way. I hope these are helpful for you as well. Of course, I will be writing about whether or not I go to Europe and any accompanying adventures and fun times that come either way.

Please feel free to share this post and information with anyone you know who you feel would benefit from it.

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

Have you had experience(s) of high stress or overwhelm?      How have you dealt with it?     Do you have any tips to share with others that you wish you would have known?

We’d love to hear from you!  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other; remember, we are all in this together!

 

 

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