YOUR stress levels have been rising steadily over the last few months. Your energy levels have sagged like an old mattress and you feel like a whipped dog.
You have become mentally frayed and have been turning to all your favourite vices — coffee, beer, junk food, sugar-laden tidbits — for backup.
You have been sleeping more, but waking up feeling exhausted. The alarm clock sounds like an air-raid siren. Your kitchen looks like a war zone and bills have been piling up like a body count.
You dread facing your drill-sergeant of a supervisor at the office and the day is looking like it’s going to be another long one in the trenches.
How much more of this can you possibly take?
Knowing you need to make changes, and not doing anything about it can feel like a huge weight on your back.
When you fall into a period of extreme stress and pain, you sometimes need to make a massive effort to regain your stability.
But how can you make changes in a way that feels like they are attainable? And in a way that doesn’t add to your stress?
With so many competing stresses, it’s hard to figure out which ones to tackle first. If you try to tackle all of them at the same time, this can end up feeling too overwhelming. You might give up and fall right back into your old habits.
The solution is to make several small changes at the same time to create a larger change overall, which reduces your stress levels. Making a series of smaller changes is easier to manage than taking on major changes.
Consider these examples:
n Are you always rushing around in the morning? Wake up 15 minutes earlier to give yourself a bit more time.
n Do you have food and drink habits that are costing you money and your health? Make a strategy to minimise or avoid them.
n Do you have too many daily obligations? Examine which activities you can reduce or cut out.
Write the changes down and commit to them. These are all simple, attainable actions that can collectively yield bigger results overall. If the right actions are done simultaneously, your new habits and choices help support each other.
When I minimise alcohol, coffee and sugar, my energy goes up. When my energy goes up, my mood improves. When I feel more stable each day, my relationships improve and I can handle stress better.
When I spend less money on my vices, it helps with all those bills. It’s all cumulative and these small changes are powerful as a unit.
Do a time audit
Our lives have become overly complicated. Do you often feel that you have the same amount of administration and paperwork as a small business? Resist this. Find ways to reduce the “management” of your life.
Embrace simplifying your life whenever possible. This will probably entail saying “no” a lot more often and reducing some social obligations.
For instance, do you need to stay at that social event for six hours when you know you really don’t have time that week?
How much time are you wasting in unnecessary communication? E-mail, texting, social media and phone calls can suck up your time unbelievably fast.
Install free time-tracking software to see where your time on the computer is being spent.
You will be blown away to discover just how much time you spend each week just on YouTube or on e-mail.
It is so easy to get sucked into watching random videos on YouTube and before you know it, an hour has passed.
How much of that activity was really necessary? What are you not doing while spending time on the computer?
What are you missing out on while aimlessly surfing the Internet?
Reduce your responsibilities
Most of us spend time insuring, cleaning, fixing and dealing with our cars, homes, tools, appliances, sports gear, electronic gadgets and a variety of other objects that end up owning us more than we own them. Get rid of stuff you really don’t use.
Are you so busy and overrun by your daily obligations that you don’t even have time to rest for 15 minutes? Is time so tight that every moment of your day, including leisure activities, is planned and scheduled?
Creating simplicity in your life is a choice. Inculcating small, attainable habits is the key.
Take your life back. Question your current habits and make adjustments. The more adjustments you make, the faster the change.
Skip the fast lane. Cruise life in the sane lane for a while. You will get farther and you won’t crash and burn.