Stress is one of the primary causes of major health problems in our lives: it can cause heart disease, anxiety, sleep deprivation, auto-immune disorders, weight problems, unhappiness, and even deep depression.
But we’re busy – we all have places to be, things to do and people to see. So how do we feel less stress and still get our work done right (without neglecting our loved ones and ourselves)?
When life gets crazy busy, you might not have time for 90 minute yoga classes, weekend vacations — or staycations– or even weekly counseling sessions. So what can be done?
I’m going to be brief about this, because time is of the essence. There are five easy things you can do. A couple shifts in the way you think and a couple actions that take only a few minutes. These can’t solve the most severe stress related problems, but they can help most of us in a major way, every day.
1. Be in the moment, completely, with just one task. – Instead of being in a stressful task-switching state of mind, take your next task, let everything else go, and just be here, right now, with this one task. Let yourself be immersed in this task by letting go of the feeling that you need to quickly rush through it – that you need to move on to the next task waiting for you. There will always be a next task, because that’s the nature of TO-DO lists – they’re never-ending. So let those later tasks come later. Just be 100% in this one task, like it’s your entire world. Bottom line: Slow down. Breathe. Review your commitments and goals. Put first things first. Do one task at a time. Start now. Take a 5-minute break in an hour. Repeat. (And always remember, results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.)
2. Let go of controlling what can’t be controlled. – Fear is causing you to be stressed, not external factors like your job obligations or family issues. Those external factors are just a part of life, but they become stressful when you fear failure, fear people won’t like you, fear you’re not good enough, fear abandonment, and so forth. This fear is based on some fantasy in your head about how things are supposed to be (and you fear that your life may not live up to that fantasy): you have an image in your head that you’re going to be perfect, have people like you, be comfortable all the time, and succeed on all fronts. These fantasies are a way to feel in control of a world that you don’t actually control, but they’re hurting you by causing fear and stress. Instead, let go of control. Be OK with chaos and uncertainty, and trust that things will work out. You’ll fear less and feel less stress.
3. Accept people just the way they are and smile. – We get upset with others because they don’t meet our fantasy of how they ‘should’ act. Instead, try accepting them for who they are, and recognize that, like you, they’re imperfect and seeking happiness and struggling with finding it. They’re doing their best. Accept them just the way they are. In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try. So save yourself from needless stress. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support today and lead by example.
4. Take a brief walk outside. – When things are getting really stressful, take 5-10 minutes to take a walk and clear your mind. A short walk does wonders. It gives you something new to look at and it gets your body moving. Through a decade of life coaching we’ve found that people who have recently experienced stressful life events like a serious illness, death of a loved one, marital separation or job loss, always see an immediate mood boost after a short outdoor walk. It’s literally the most effective way to instantly reduce the stressful pressure of a worried mind. Right about now, you should consider taking a break from work and go for a short, peaceful walk (in a park or green space if there’s one nearby). Again, this is not unproductive lollygagging, it’s likely to have a restorative effect on your mind and help with attention fatigue and stress recovery.
5. Perform short mindfulness practices. – You don’t have to meditate for 30 minutes to get the benefits of mindfulness. You can do a quick body scan (focus on your body and notice how each part of it feels right now) in 30 seconds. You can pay attention to your breath for 60 seconds (listen to it and feel it). You can watch your thoughts about concerns, fears, judgments, doubts, and ideals for a minute (recognize that these thoughts are simply thoughts; you don’t need to believe them or react to them). You can walk mindfully, paying attention to your feet, your body, your breath and your surroundings, as you walk. You can do each of these short mindfulness practices in little bits whenever you need them throughout your day.
And of course, if you’re struggling with any of these points, know that you are not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and keep our lives on track.
And on that note, yesterday was another day for me at the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market. It was a huge success again, but this time I felt more relaxed and less worn out after it. I am getting into my groove and I think I have learned from the mistakes I made.
Don’t bring too much stuff (Le Prix has an online store so clients can shop there too!)
Invite people to stop by, visit, hang out and have fun because people attract people. Visitors are there to enjoy the weekend not to feel like they are being sold on something
Read the crowd (or just a single person), but feel their vibe and tailor it to them
And here is a short breakdown for Day 2 at the Market for Le Prix —
All in all, being at the market has been amazing! I will keep going back but next week I have a workshop all day and the next weekend I will be camping. However, Thursdays will happen at Uptown Waterloo Square if I can get a car and the weather is good. Success takes work and effort. Even failure. Make sure to listen to my tips above about reducing stress… they helped me!
Enjoy your …