Every day of your life will be filled with stressors. Some will be considerable, such as your car breaking down or losing your job. However, more often than not, these stressors will be small. Spilling your morning coffee, missing a deadline, and fighting your way through traffic are some common examples.
As stress builds up, it can begin to derail your life. You often won’t perform as well at work, relationships can deteriorate, and you’ll stop practicing self-care. Some illnesses such as hypertension can even stem from a stressful lifestyle. There will always be something to stress about, so practicing stress management is crucial to longevity and success.
How to manage your stress depends on where your stressors originate from. This short list aims to highlight some of the most common stressors people face and how they can be better handled:
1. Automate What You Can
Life can be stressful, especially when there are so many errands to balance. Buying groceries, cleaning, picking up prescriptions are all pretty mundane tasks, but they’re necessary for your survival and well being. If you feel like you don’t have enough time in the day, start eliminating these tasks where you can.
If you spend hours at the grocery store, save time by ordering what you need online and simply picking it up. If that doesn’t work, have them delivered or try a meal kit service. If you hate cleaning, find ways to make it fun or hire it out. If it makes sense for your budget, spending some money on these things can save you time and hassle in the long run.
If you worry about picking up prescriptions in time to avoid missing a dose, many prescriptions can be delivered too. Whether it’s birth control pills, vitamins, or anxiety meds, you won’t have to worry about running out of a needed prescription again. You won’t even have to sprint to the nearest pharmacy. Your next order will be waiting on your doorstep before you need it. That type of convenience is a simple way to reduce your stress by making life easier.
2. Learn to Say No
One of the hardest things to learn is how to say no to people. You may be asked to help another team at work, dogsit for a friend, or even drive your aunt to her doctor’s appointment. It is good to provide help and service when you are able. However, there’s nothing wrong with saying no to a request if it’s in your best interest.
A common example is being asked by your friends to grab a drink after work. If you’ve had a long, stressful day and you just want to go home, you can. You’re allowed to take time for yourself. If you force yourself to go out you might just end up feeling anxious, tired, and more stressed than before.
There is such a thing as saying no too much. You don’t want to cut yourself off from all new experiences, but there is a balance. It might be a nice change of pace to go out to dinner with some friends every once in a while. Just pay attention to your needs and know your limits so that you’re never overdoing it.
3. Prioritize Your Sleep
There are only so many hours in a day. Many people stay up late to finish projects and wake up earlier to fit in a workout before their morning commute. While it’s good to be productive around the clock, it’s not a good idea to sacrifice too much sleep.
Both your body and your mind function more effectively when you’ve had a good night of rest. You may find it to be more difficult to think rationally or keep your patience when you’re low on sleep. This feeling will, of course, induce stress during even the most regular of everyday activities.
Make it a point to prioritize your sleep. Develop a bedtime routine and stick to it. Lock up your electronics if that’s what it takes to get you to bed at a decent hour. You might practice skincare or read a book to help yourself wind down. You’ll quickly notice a stark contrast in your ability to handle stress when you’re getting the proper amount of sleep.
4. Get Organized
When life feels chaotic, you get stressed — and vice versa. Sure, there are a lot of circumstances that are simply out of your control. However, there are plenty of variables that can be adjusted. The more control you take of your own life by getting organized, the less stress you’ll encounter on a daily basis.
Start with your work space. Look around. Are there papers strewn about that could be put into folders? Dirty coffee mugs that need to be washed and put away? How about your desktop? Organizing your files with a system can save time and make your work easier.
Take a weekend to clean your room, your car, even your schedule. The less clutter in your surroundings, the less cluttered your mind will feel. Thinking about the pile of laundry in the corner may end up being the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
You’re not likely to completely eliminate stress from your life. However, you can mitigate it through these steps that help you get your life in order. Even a few small changes can make a considerable difference.