One of the main reasons we are so much more stressed than our grandparents were, is because we are taking on a lot more. We have families where each partner is working a full-time job and possibly a side hustle as well to make ends meet financially. That leaves all the hard work of keeping house and raising a family, which needs to be done during “off” hours. Most of us no longer mentally clock out at the end of the workday. Instead, we take our work home, and are reachable at all hours via text message or email. Add to that the stress constant connectivity and social media creates, and it’s no wonder we’re more stressed than ever.
It’s time to do something about it. It’s time to stop trying to do all the things all the time and focus on reducing stress in your life. Start by reviewing everything you do in a given day. A great tool for this is a time log. Keep a simple piece of paper or a small notebook with you at all times. Set an alert on your phone to go off every 30 minutes (during waking hours), and quickly jot down what you’re doing. Be brutally honest. No one else needs to see this log and you can burn it when you’re done. After a week of logging, you’ll have a pretty good idea of where you spend your time and mental energy.
Now comes the fun part. Look through your data and decide what you can let go of. What can you stop doing? Open up some time for yourself to exercise, meditate, or take a nap, so you can catch up on much needed sleep.
Next it’s time to review and release all those worries, questions, and “should-do’s” that are stressing you out. Get another sheet of paper or two and start to write down anything and everything on your mind. All the stuff you’ve been thinking about doing. All the stuff that’s been worrying you. Get it all out. Walk away for a few hours and then come back to your list.
Cross out as much as you can. Things that are out of your control and you decide to mentally release. Tasks that you feel like you should do, that you really don’t need to do. Then rewrite what’s left on two different lists. One will be things you can do or have someone else do for you. This will become your master to-do list for the next few months. The other is a list of worries or concerns. Notice how much smaller and shorter those lists are and how much lighter you feel just getting it all out of your head.
Finally, go burn that master brain dump list. Doesn’t it feel good?