Not many of us function best with a pounding heart, sweaty palms, and more activity than we can manage. We can’t always control what’s going in our external lives, but we can take some steps to help us feel calmer about dealing with all the issues life throws at us.
1) Get on top of tasks. Sure, it’s tempting to collapse into a heap on the sofa after an exhausting day, but perhaps a little advance planning for tomorrow would leave you less exhausted. Maybe preparing your clothes (or your kids’) before bed will pave the way for a better morning. Maybe answering a few emails from home or staying a bit late at the office will keep you from feeling overwhelmed at the start of the day. If you can manage to get to work before the phone starts ringing and accomplish some tasks in peace, your whole day will feel more manageable.
2) Write your to-do list. If there are too many things running around in your brain for you to manage, just write them down so you can stop thinking them over and over. Even if you’re only remembering to pick up milk on the way home, if your brain sends you a panicked reminder every five minutes, it causes stress. Write a note to yourself, leave it where you can’t forget it, and tell your brain to knock it off.
3) Prioritize. List the most important and complicated tasks first, so that even if you only get a couple of them done, you’ve done what was most important.
4) Stop worrying. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but worry won’t get you the good outcome you want. In fact, some people believe that you are sending negative vibes into the universe that are bound to bring you the opposite of what you want. According to this school of thought, every time you think “What if I don’t get the job?” the universe is simply hearing “don’t get the job, don’t get the job.” Maybe this belief has merit and maybe not, but one thing’s for sure, worry doesn’t help. Try doing something productive instead, and if there’s nothing productive to be done, at least try to relax. Go get a massage or take a walk.
5) Clean out your closet. Or clean your entire house, or office. Having too much unnecessary stuff around causes you to think about how to manage it, clean it, protect it, or otherwise deal with it. How’s this—just toss some of it. An uncluttered atmosphere is soothing to the eyes and the mind.
6) Laugh. Watch your favorite comedy, or just call up the friend who always tickles your funny bone. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can boost your immune system, relieve pain, stimulate your organs and improve your self-image. Nothing to poke fun at there!
7) Express yourself. Are you that person who never wants to make waves or cause trouble? Do you want everyone to like you? Can you not bear the thought of hurting someone’s feelings or being considered rude? Well, get over all that, if holding it in is what’s stressing you out. Your wants, needs, and preferences are just as worthy as the next person’s, so don’t bottle up all your unhappiness. Much better to express yourself in small, carefully considered bits than in one giant explosion.
8) Treat yourself. No need to go on an expensive spree, but treat yourself to doing something that you simply enjoy. It may be as simple as spending a day binge-watching movies that you enjoy instead of always deferring to your spouse’s taste. It might be an hour lying in the sun. Whatever it takes to create the feeling of “aaaah,” do that. You’ll be refreshed enough to get back to the business of life.