We all lead busy lives. Whether you are a business professional, entrepreneur, or stay-at-home parent, life has a way of filling up our days from dawn until dusk, and sometimes it’s hard to get out from under that.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, it can be easy to keep that train of thought top of mind simply by perpetuating the cycle every day, with only brief moments of respite. By allowing this cycle to continue, we run the risk of getting run down, overtired, or even sick.
Of course, we can’t rid ourselves completely of the lifestyles we lead today, but we can certainly make them more manageable. By taking moments throughout each day to focus on ourselves and to find calm in the storm that rages around us, we can keep our energy positive and move forwards effectively.
Here are five simple steps that you can take during your day, no matter what your profession or daily life, to help ease the stress in a chaotic day.
Start Your Day Positively
Everyone has different things that make them happy, so pick one that resonates with you and start your day out with it. Whether it’s going for a run, doing some meditative yoga, reading the paper with a steaming mug of coffee, or chatting with a friend on the phone, start your day in a way that sets the tone for everything else you do.
Have you ever smiled at someone and not seen them smile back? That’s because it’s almost impossible not to feel uplifted when someone gives you the most positive facial expression besides laughing. You’d be surprised at how effective a smile can be – it not only makes those around you feel uplifted but it helps you feel better, by releasing tension in your facial muscles, and allowing you to change your expression for a moment (especially if you have been frowning over that one email for 20 minutes). Go for a short walk whenever possible and take a moment to smile at a few people on your way – see how many of them meet your smile with one of their own.
Take Deep Breaths
Taking a deep breath can help with many things, not least of all providing a calming effect for your entire body and allowing you to take a short break from whatever it is you are doing. Slowing down helps to refocus your energy, increase your self-awareness, and reduce immediate stress. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, step back from what you are doing and take a four-second breath in, then let it out over four more seconds. Do this 4 or 5 times, and you are going to feel much calmer by the time you return to your task at hand.
Find the Optimism in a Negative Situation
There are times when we make mistakes or upset other people, and sometimes we just have one of those days! Instead of focusing on how bad things are, try to find a silver lining – what is positive or good about this situation or occurrence? Alternatively, you can take that negativity and channel it into a positive opportunity. For example:
- Negative Situation: Your webinar attendees experience the same technical glitches with your conference software every time they have to use it, leading to delayed start times and longer meetings
- Positive Opportunity: Create a simple process document and user guide so that they have something to refer to when they experience these issues, leaving you free to set up your call, start on time, and have a productive webinar
Manage Your Time
“Easier said than done!” you might say. Managing your time as efficiently as possible throughout your day can lead to far less stress because it means you are in less of a rush to get everything done. Making sure that you aren’t overwhelming yourself is key to managing your time. Use a calendar or checklist to keep your day on track; be honest with those asking for your time and manage meetings or appointments accordingly – unless something is “hair-on-fire” important, it can wait until tomorrow; and be sure to take breaks throughout the day by stepping outside for a breath of air, turning your chair away from your computer for two minutes, or making yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
We all want to eliminate stress in our lives and starting with these simple daily efforts can certainly reduce it. When you take time for yourself, it leads to you being more generous with your time for other people, as you won’t feel that it’s taking away from precious moments alone. Being more positive with yourself means that you seek to create a positive environment both at home and in the workplace. Before you know it, you won’t even have to think about how to make positive changes in your day – it will come naturally.