Have you ever been stressed out by the amount of tasks you have at home or work? Do you feel like your pile of to-do’s just keeps growing and adding to that stress? This is currently how we feel! Our home and work responsibilities seem to have doubled and our personal work power has remained the same. During these times we feel hot under the collar and our minds race in every which way. Then the stress and anxiety take over. In the past our approach has always been to try and work on several different tasks at the same time, ultimately, the day ends and we feel like we’ve made no progress! This just adds to the stress pile up. This week, we want to share 5 tips we use to focus, make progress and de-escalate our stress. We hope these can help you next time you feel overwhelmed!
Stop, breathe and reset
First and foremost, STOP! Take a moment to take a breath and cool down. Use some grounding or breathing techniques. Focus on recentering yourself in the moment and allow yourself to clear your mind. Many times when we feel dragged in multiple directions and are stressed, we move a million miles a minute with no focus or plan. In this state we constantly allow ourselves to shift between tasks and priorities.
This always results in us not accomplishing any one task and continually building more stress. Further, in the heat of the moment, we find it’s hard to prioritize a task because they all feel like the top priority! Not sure about you, but personally, we start to feel guilty if we leave any one particular task on the back burner too long.
We’ve found that actually forcing ourselves to stop for 5-10 mins allows clarity and logic to set in. We’re better able to reason with ourselves and recognize that nothing is actually getting done by running all over the place. As we breathe and cool down, our flight or flight response settles and we’re able to make better decisions. It may sound simple and obvious, but how many times in the heat of the moment do we actually stop and breathe? Remember we’re only human! Take a breather and reset yourself!
Set a goal for the day
As you gain clarity from your breath, next you should stop and set a goal for the day. Most of our lives are busy with a million different objectives we need to complete. Anytime one starts screaming louder than the other, we shift gears and change focus. Again, this just results in nothing actually getting done and us feeling more anxious because of it! We’ve found that setting different goals for different times of the day helps. For example, we set the goal that the morning will only be dedicated to writing this blog. Then no matter what worried thought or emergent situation tries to disrupt us, we don’t change gears until the allotted task is done. At first, we felt incredibly stressed not making progress on all our goals in one day, but soon we realized that finishing one thing was much better than making very little progress in ten things.
Create healthy boundaries
That being said, you could end up compartmentalizing your day into a full 24 hours and never give yourself a break. No matter how busy you get, we are big believers in setting healthy boundaries. Have a time that you turn off the switch and focus on yourself. Ultimately, the adage that you can’t fill someone else’s cup if yours is empty, is so true. Make sure to set boundaries to allow time to prioritize you! This could mean you turn your computer off at a certain time or that simply you do not allow yourself to skip lunch even when you are slammed. Whatever it may be, set a boundary and stick to it! If you don’t prioritize yourself then no one will!
Silence your notifications
Personally, this is the hardest one for us to do! As a millennial, we’ve had a cell phone since the 7th grade. Since then, we have been in constant communication with the world and feel stressed and anxious when we are disconnected. We’re the type of people that would feel phantom vibrations from our phone and bust it out every five seconds to ensure we didn’t miss anything. It doesn’t help that everything from your fridge to your TV is synced to your phone so notifications come from everywhere… All that to say, we never miss a notification! What do these notifications usually bring? They usually bring some form of problem that someone else needs solved. Then we prioritize the other persons tasks and neglect our own! No bueno!
So, while it may seem obvious to silence notifications when you are trying to get something done, it becomes all the more important if you are like us. Personally, we will put our phones far away and disconnect our nearby devices when we get stressed. Don’t allow additional stressors to come into your life via your phone!
Start with little wins
Finally, for us, nothing helps relieve our stress like getting tasks done. Lay out some easy tasks for your main objective and prioritize those! Allowing yourself to get these quick wins can help boost your confidence and relieve some stress. Allow yourself to recognize that you are making progress and visualize the mountain of tasks shrinking! Personally, little wins help us get to stay motivated and on task. Somehow, completing a lot of little things gets us into the zone where we forget the outside distractions.
If you are like us and going through being overwhelmed right now, we hope these tips are good reminders for you. Step back breathe and recognize feeling overwhelmed won’t help. Take some time to reset your mind and set tasks for the day. Set yourself up for the greatest chance of success and you should see the stress and anxiety shrink. Just remember that you’re only human and can only do so much in a day!
When you have a never ending list of to-do’s and you start to feel stressed and anxious. STOP! Take a breath and reset. Set goals and focus only on one task with a set time. Don’t try to do everything and finish nothing, do one thing and make small wins and progress!
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As an added bonus for our readers, we like to include a game of where are the Tomodotchi Pets. They’ve been hidden in 2 of the pictures within this post. Can you find them all? See below for what they look like!