Have you ever bumped into someone who is so busy and stressed out that they can’t help but tell you all about it? Or, sometimes they don’t need to tell you all about it, it’s written all over their face and body. They are highly strung, can’t focus, are always rushing and just don’t have time for, well….anything. Stress seems to be the new way of life for a lot of us. It’s almost like, if we are stressed, we are kicking goals. The more on our plates, the better we are as humans…or something like that. It’s like a silent ranking system we give ourselves to measure our success by. Like being run off our feet is our greatest accomplishment!
I used to feel like this. Constantly panicked by the countdown of the clock. Never feeling like there was enough hours in each day to complete all the tasks I had set for myself. Then one day I realized, there is no medal of honour or prize for feeling stressed out! The high heart rate, the running, rushing, bolting out the door for the next appointment, not taking time to look after myself and being a down right grump had me thinking I was achieving so much. Stress equaled accomplishment, therefore happiness right?! Wrong.
On this day of realisation, I decided to take the imaginary medal of stress, worry, anxiety and busy I had given myself and set it down. I took a few days to slow (not stop!) down my day and walk, not run through each moment. I gave myself a few panic attacks along the way thinking I was not achieving all I could in a day, but after a while, I liked the new pace I had set for myself.
Here are some tips that have helped me stop congratulating myself for feeling stressed.
Take one task at a time
Its not a race. Ok, sometimes it is. Deadlines, responsibilities and to do lists will always plague us and these things have to be done. My point is, the race should be run at a steady pace, not at Usain Bolt speed. Leave it to the athletes to break the records and go at a pace that works for you, your family and your work place. One thing at one time. Slow and steady wins the race.
Stop patting yourself on the back for feeling stressed and busy.
We all want to achieve. We all want to feel accomplished. We all want success. But, we are not robots or super heroes or Beyoncé. We can only do what we can do. Period. Anything over our abilities can cause our anxiety levels to rise and our level of productivity to lower. You are not better because you are stressed. You are not more important, cooler, more popular or more successful than anyone because you are busy. Stop congratulating yourself and telling everyone about it. Stress is not a reward.
Two letters. N and O.
How many times in life have you said yes to something you know you don’t want to do, and when it comes time to doing it you regret saying yes?! As hard and sometimes risky as it might seem, saying no to opportunities and offers is, sometimes just the thing to propel you forward. It seems backwards but the more you take on, the more you become spread thin. Imagine each day is focused on concentrating on the things you love and the goals and dreams you have set for yourself. Your energy is far better spent on the things you want to do rather than the things you have said yes to but don’t really want to do. That’s not to say don’t challenge yourself and say no to everything, just say decline the things that take your attention away from the end prize.
Don’t hold a cherished outcome.
You wake up that morning with your to do list and have all these expectations of yourself for the day. You rush through the day and almost kill yourself getting it done, only to find you didn’t get everything finished. You beat yourself up and build the tension and stress in your body and take those feelings into the next day. Repeat. It’s time to let go of the outcome. It is impossible to control all of the circumstances any one day can bring. You never know what speed bump you will hit along the way and how that might take you off course for a minute. It’s not to say you won’t get back on the road soon enough, but it might not be the direction and timing you first planned out. Don’t cherish the outcome to the point where you stress yourself out over it. Sometimes things don’t work out. Shrug it off and learn from and embrace what actually happened.
You are not wasting time by going slower.
Sometimes it’s easy to think that by going slower we are wasting time. Like, by going slower, we miss minutes and maybe even vital seconds in the day. If you decided to take a lunch break outside the office and not at your desk today, it’s ok. Reward yourself. Get some sunshine. Talk to some people. Clear your head. Don’t worry about the to do list. It will get done after lunch…or not. Taking a few minutes to just be is not a waste of time. Try not to view it like that. Your time is very precious, spend it wisely, but loose the guilt if you stop for a breather.
Hope these tips gives you some stress relief! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
J A C K E T / Witchery
T O P / Sandro Paris
S K I R T / Sandro Paris
B O O T S / Witchery
P H O T O G R A P H Y / Zac Poor