9 Steps to a Stress-free Week

Feet dangling over the arm of a chair. 9 steps to a Stress-free Week ccbizadvisors.com

During the week of this writing, four friends and acquaintances expressed how gloomy they’ve been feeling. One was in such deep despair she was giving up hope. This depressed mindset seems to be widespread based on the number of recently articles published.

It’s a sad situation that so many people feel overwhelmed, overloaded, and under pressure. Too many are struggling with money problems due to a horrible economy, all the negativity on the news and social media plus regular demands of home, work, or school life.

Life will always have plateaus of joy or ravines of depression. Here are my suggested actions to be as stress-free:

  1. Have a Routine. This will help build good habits. Start with a specific time to go to bed and wake up. Determine when you’ll exercise, run errands, spend time with family and friends, do chores, have “me time,” and the other important activities in your life. We make time for what’s important, and you are important.
  2. Be Healthy. It’s much easier (and better) to have a good life when you’re not sick. Eat good food, limit salt, sugar, and other “junk” foods, and exercise at least four times a week. Sleep is critical to thinking clearly and healing your body. Drink more water than you think you need. Most people are slightly dehydrated without even knowing it.
  3. Plan and Organize Tasks. Whether you use a to-do list or some other tracking system, know what you’ll be doing before starting. The Eisenhower Matrix is a good tool for prioritizing your to-dos. Group similar tasks together, such as returning emails or voice messages. Multitasking is more distracting than effective. (shameless self-promotion: 8 Useful Time Management Techniques)
  4. Take Regular Breaks. You’ll be energized and refreshed after taking a short break every ninety minutes. Get up, walk around, stretch, dance, chat with others, or ask others to dance with you. The Pomodoro Technique is a good work-rest system. Another thing to do is to give your eyes a break. For every 20 minutes you stare at a computer monitor, look at something 20 feet away for a total of 20 seconds (20-20-20 Rule).
  5. Set Boundaries. You only have a set amount of time in your day, week, and life. Avoid over commitment. You are a priority, and you can’t do everything for everybody. With family and friends, try the “Me, Thee, and We” Philosophy: First I take care of Me then I can help Thee and We can take care of each other.
  6. Interact with Family, Friends, and Others. Humans build partnerships, teams, and communities. It’s inherent for us to want relationships. Spend time with family and friends to feel better. This is a good time to share what’s bothering you, too. I’ve gone to a park or shopping mall to people watch if everyone I know is busy. Sometimes I’ll even talk to strangers. Socializing, even in limited amounts, will bring happiness and be relaxing.
  7. Do Something Different. New experiences create new energy. It opens your mind and invigorates your body. Go someplace you’ve never visited. Take or teach a class. Drive home using a different route. Volunteer in your community. You’ll feel great afterwards.
  8. Enjoy Your Hobbies. This will be one of the most difficult things to do when you’re feeling stressed. You’re worn out or not in the mood and all you want to do is sleep. Your favorite pastime will invigorate you. Hobbies give your mind a chance to rest because you’re not thinking about the cause of your grief. Find a hobby to do with family or friends and you’ll feel even better!
  9. List daily accomplishments. There’s a tendency to focus on what we don’t have or what we didn’t get done. Shift that thinking! Keep a running list of daily accomplishments. Did you get out of bed on time? Yay – that’s a win! Did you exercise? Another win! Finish a project? You know what that is, right? Seek out the good that you do every day.

Focusing on yourself gives you strength to overcome any challenge. These strategies will help manage stress giving you a more enjoyable and balanced week. Remember: feeling a little down is an incident not something that will last. Practicing mindfulness will keep you in the present and reduce anxiety.

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