FRIDAY FIVE: Simple steps to a less stressful life
THOSE of you lovely folk who visit my blog often, will know that over the last few weeks I’ve been on a bit of a mission to make my life a little less stressful.
In a nutshell, I basically realised that, like many other women, I am often my own worst enemy when it comes to pressure and stress. I’m always expecting and demanding ridiculously high standards of myself, trying to be everything to everyone and wearing myself out in the process.
After finally realising that this is plain ol’ ridiculous, I decided to do something about it and make some changes to my lifestyle.
Now that progress is being made, here are five easy ways to a calmer life, as tried and tested by me.
Trust me, they can and do work. Good luck! x
* Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
I honestly cannot emphasise how important this really is. If you want to feel more in control of your life and considerably less stressed, you need to be brutal and prioritise your tasks. Hard.
Always think of your ‘must do’ jobs and do these first, before you move on to other less pressing matters. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked or start panicking about larger jobs that are looming in the background. Just concentrate on the jobs in hand.
For eg, my ‘must do’ jobs on a daily basis basically involve being a mum to a nine month old baby. Elsie is my number one priority, so her needs must and do come first. Anything else is secondary and CAN wait.
If I do get a chance to fit other things in, like replying to emails or doing some ironing, then great. But if I can’t, that’s fine too. I’ve learnt to just put them to one side for another day.
* Eliminate unnecessary distractions
Ooh distractions, we all have them in our lives! Whether it’s the TV being on in the background, or your best friend that always rings you at an inconvenient time to moan about her lovelife, unnecessary distractions can and must be dealt with if you want to hang on to your sanity.
Let’s face it, modern day life is busy enough already without these adding to your worries!
So turn the TV off, ignore the phone if you’re in the middle of something, switch off the alerts on your mobile and stop spending time with people who drain your energy.
You and only you are in control of your life, so if something or someone is wasting your time, don’t be afraid to make some changes! In fact, why not start making some today.
* Keep an eye on your social media usage
This tip goes hand in hand with the one above. I love social media, particularly Twitter. I can tweet for England and always enjoy chatting to and sharing links with my fellow Twitter-holics. But sometimes it has felt like it’s taking over my life a little.
Have you ever noticed how much time you actually spend each day on social media? I honestly think that if you counted up all the minutes you spend logging on to Facebook or scrolling through your Instagram feed or replying to tweets, you may get quite a shock.
The wise and talented Jo Gifford over at Dex Diva has been joining me on my mission ‘to be still’ and recently shared one of her new self-imposed social media rules which I think is brilliant:
“I am marking out time specifically to delve into my Twitter time lines and to actively engage with blogs and other sites. I am earmarking time so I don’t just get lost in the labyrinthine mess of the Internet, when there is so much more to life.”
Since reading Jo’s post, I am now trying to do exactly the same. I basically give myself an allocated time each day of 15-20 minutes to get my social media fix and when that time is up, that is it!
I no longer dip in and out of my favourite social media sites all day long like I used to. Instead I engage when I want to, bookmark or favourite any blog posts or links that I want to read in the future and for the rest of the day, I pretty much leave social media well alone.
Admittedly, I am missing Twitter a little, but I can honestly say I am feeling much better for spending less time on it (and other sites). Oh and funnily enough, I seem to have a little more time on my hands.
* Give yourself a break
I am talking about this in both the metaphorical and the literal sense here!
First up, if you keep being hard on yourself, then you need to quit. It. Now.
Beating yourself up over your lack of ‘perfection’ or your ‘failure’ to get every single job done on your to-do list will not solve anything and only make you feel miserable and more stressed. So please, just stop.
Start treating yourself with some kindness, be realistic about what is and isn’t achievable and stop trying to live up to the ridiculous notion of perfection.
Next, give yourself a break literally! Even if it’s just for half an hour, put aside some time for you each day. Paint your nails, have a bath, read a magazine, enjoy a decent cuppa or have a snooze! Forget about everything that needs doing and just, heaven forbid, relax.
Relaxing can be hard to do but let me tell you this, you absolutely deserve the time and need to do it! Put your ‘you time’ as a priority on your ‘must do’ list every day (see first tip).
* Accept help
We all have our pride but you know, it really is ok to accept a little help from time to time. It does not make you any less of a person for saying, you know what, I could really do with some help or support right now.
So if someone in your life offers you some help, grab the opportunity before someone else snaps their kind hand off! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting your husband, partner, friend, mother, sister or neighbour give you some support.
Let someone babysit your kids, make you a cup of tea, tidy your house or cook you a meal. And if you need some help and no-one is offering, here’s a thought, why not use your voice and politely ask for it. Don’t let pride get in the way of you feeling calmer and happier.
Feel bad about asking someone to give your their time, skills or support? Don’t! Remember that you can always repay the favour in the future when you’ve got more spare time on your hands.
What do you think? Have you got any brilliant tips that help you feel calm when dealing with life’s stresses and strains?
Till the next time, remember when it comes to living a calmer life, you ARE worth it.
P.S Nominations for the Brit Mums blogging awards are now open so don’t forget to nominate your favourite bloggers! You can do so here. Mwah x