Having a Stressful Week? Try Doing This.


By Staff Writer Published on May 3, 2018

Stress is powerful, and even if we don’t like to admit it, we allow stress to make a lot of our decisions for us.

Will I get a healthy amount of sleep tonight?

Do I have time to take a lunch break?

Can I afford to put down my work and spend time with my kids instead?

Stress answers for us, and it says no. If you’re having a particularly stressful week (or year [or life]), then we urge you to use our de-stressing tips in this article!

But first, try this:

Ask yourself, why?

Why are you stressed? Don’t just think about your jumbled list of infinite reasons in your head; write them down. Write it all out. What are you so stressed about? Grab a pen. Open a Word Doc. We’ll wait.

Chances are, you’re having a stressful week for one of two reasons: you have a floor-to-ceiling to-do list, or you don’t have as much to do as you thought you did (which you discovered while you were writing out your answer) but you’re still feeling stressed out anyway and you’re not sure why. We’ll call this self-inflicted stress.

Regardless of why you’re stressing out this week, we’re going to help you—starting with the first reason we mentioned.

So Much to Do

There is so much to do and no time to do it. Your schedule is so crammed that you barely have time to scarf down your lunch—which you choose for convenience over nutritional value, but so what? You’ve got no time for nonsense like food and sleep when you’re this busy.

Right?

Maybe. But you can survive this with these super-easy and effective de-stressing methods.

Make a List

The simple task of making a list can do wonders for your stress-induced tunnel vision. Take a breath, make a list, and make it messy. Fill the page (or pages) with every task you have to accomplish this week, every task that’s stressing you out. Don’t worry about organizing the list into order of importance or due dates; in fact, that’s forbidden in this step of the exercise.

Complete Quick Tasks

Once you’ve finished your master list of school, work, and personal tasks all in one place, highlight every task that can be done right now in less than 15 minutes. Clear a promising chunk of your to-do list by doing these quick tasks first. Your smaller list of responsibilities and your newfound feeling of control will empower you to tackle the rest of your list with confidence instead of unnecessary stress.

You got this.

Divide and Conquer

If you still have quite a lengthy to-do list, then it’s time to divide and conquer. Grab another piece of paper or open a separate document and copy every task that must be completed today. If the list is fairly short, use your spare time to relax or cross a few extra items off your master list. While you’re at it, make tomorrow’s list. Divide an overwhelming heap of responsibilities into manageable pieces and things one day at a time.

Self-Inflicted Stress

You had less on your to-do list than you thought you did. You’re causing a big fuss over an upcoming event that you know you can handle. What’s the problem?

You’ve overwhelmed yourself. It happens to the best of us, especially in this day and age. The best thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to acknowledge the fact that you’re creating your own stress. You may want to do some reflecting to figure out why you’re bringing this stress upon yourself, especially if this is a common pattern in your life.

Are you avoiding something? In The Artist’s Way (a self-help book for blocked creatives), bestselling author Julia Cameron shines a light on using stress as a very convincing form of procrastination. Are you ignoring your more difficult obstacles by creating new ones?

Perhaps you’re simply overstimulated. Do you spend a lot of time on the web, for work or for entertainment? How often are you scrolling through social media or skimming articles? You may want to consider giving yourself a break from mental stimulation.

Whether you’re stressed about a weighty to-do list, an upcoming event, or you’ve overwhelmed yourself, give yourself a break. Allow for some relaxation time—get a massage, spend an hour in a float tank, treat yourself to lunch, or give yourself time to enjoy your favorite hobby.

If at the end of the lists and massages, you find yourself in the same stressful situation, perhaps it’s time to make a bigger change. Are you putting in grueling hours at a dead-end job? Are you trying to juggle work, parenting, and schooling?

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