Good day lovelies! Today I wanted to share with you some things I’ve learned over the past several years, weather it’s from my own personal experiences or some outside source, about how to de-stress and add some balance back to your life. We all have days or even weeks that feel so much harder than others and I’m not here to tell you that this will ever stop, it’s just life. At times it can feel like things are just perfect and then all of the sudden things seem to fall completely out of balance and what do we do? We STRESS OUT. And if you’re a woman, stress can come up literally out of nowhere and for no reason at all.
For almost everyone, life being “out of balance” is more of an internal feeling. You just feel like things are off, missing, or incomplete; you feel like something needs to be fixed or corrected and this causes stress when you can’t fix it or you don’t know how. Let me just say, there are going to be times when things just suck and there’s really not much that we need to do about it other than binge watch This is Us and eat ice cream. Sometimes this is the cure! And this is totally fine.
If you’re like me, you feel stress 5/7 days a week. I’m a full time student (15 hours, 2 capstone courses) + I’m planning/paying for/constantly thinking about my wedding + I work full time + I’m a “wife” at home meaning I wash clothes-fold clothes-put away clothes 2 or more times a week, do dishes, clean, cook (which I don’t always do but it kind of stresses me out when I don’t because then I eat bad) + try to maintain a social life and stress a little bit when I can’t + try to find time to do something I actually love doing. So what’s the main feeling I have almost constantly? While I’m getting ahead in one thing, I’m falling behind in another; there simply isn’t enough time in the day. Each time I realize what I’m falling behind in=STRESS.
Each of us handles stress differently. Some people over-eat, some people don’t eat, some cry, some hide, some pick fights with their s/o or family members, some watch Titanic 3 times in a row, some drink, some purposely participate in destructive behavior because, hell, why not? And some people just know how to handle it. Do you know what effect stress has on your body? Check this out.
I’m going to share my tools for helping us- BOTH of us because I need a reminder too.
You are fully aware of the exact moment you feel stress. You know you’re stressed. It’s almost as if your brain tells you “God Karen, you are stressed. UGH.” In this moment, stop thinking and find a quiet place. Close your eyes and breathe slow deep breaths for 15 or so seconds, longer if you wish. Yoga and meditation are highly recommended as a daily exercise for healthier living. Both of these daily rituals include slow, deep breathing.
We all meditate weather we like to call it that or not. Talk to yourself in your car? Spend a lot of time thinking and going through things in your head? This is a lot like meditation because you’re telling your mind how to think. Meditation is the act of taking time everyday to become self-aware. Find a perfectly serene place, sit down, and close your eyes. Your thoughts begin to surface and you have time to understand them, sort through them, and find strength. As you are able to find peace in your troubles, doubt and worrisome thoughts are overcome.
Ew. I know but hey, so true. You don’t have to go run a marathon, either. Go for a walk, download a circuit on Pinterest and complete it, go to the gym and get on the stair-climber…whatever floats your boat, exercise is good for the body and soul. As Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”
4. De-clutter your home.
That pile of clothes you never wear? That crap in your garage that you’ve been looking at since 2009? Clean it up and decide what to do with it. You’d be surprised how good this will make you feel. I’ve been following a little rule of thumb for over a decade: if it isn’t pretty, meaningful or functional- give it to charity.
5. Time block.
Time-blocking is something I’ve just recently learned about in my career and it’s genius for us super busy folks. Time blocking is scheduling an exact window of time for important things FIRST- not at the end of the day. Another lesson I learned through reading the extraordinary book The One Thing is that your willpower is not on will-call. Meaning: each day we only have so much will power before all we really want to do is nothing at all. Your will power is fresh and full in the morning, so activities which demand your attention come first and, to be really effective, you need to time block for them. Time blocking is easier said than done, however, but the most successful people time block almost every day. Decide what you need to do and decide exactly how much time you’ll dedicate to it. Obviously, depending on when it needs to be done and how important it is, you might dedicate a longer amount of time to some things. The rule, and the hard part, is you can only dedicate exactly what you determined you would in your initial time-blocking schedule to the task. If you said you were only going to spend from 11-12pm at target because you’ve got 50 other things to do today- you need to leave at exactly 12, no ifs, ands or buts. Believe it or not, sticking to your schedule will allow you to accomplish more in a day and reduce your stress. Nothing is perfect, but if you busy-busy folks strive to follow this rule, you will feel more accomplished.
6. Put down your phone & connect with your family.
As much as you think you want to be left alone with your Instagram and Pinterest boards, none of this really does squat to make you feel happier and more balanced. What does make you feel those things are your family. If you put your phone down and find something to do with your s/o or bestie, you’ll probably find yourself feeling a little renewed. Even a phone conversation with someone special helps. Nurturing your Insta following is nice but the real, healthy connections are right in front of us, people.
7. Learn to find something positive in every situation.
Yes, there is something good about every situation- even if the good thing is still somewhat negative. I applied for Hygiene school back in 2011. I swore it was what I wanted to do and I was crushed when I didn’t get in. Looking back, I’m SO glad I didn’t. It’s just not for me- in fact, the idea of working an 8 to 5 my whole life sounds like misery, so no thanks. If something is happening to you right now that’s causing you stress, just remember that is there is something positive about it. Find it before you stress any more.
8. You’re in control, you get to choose.
It doesn’t matter what is making you feel unbalanced or “out of control”- the absolute truth is: you are in the drivers seat of your own life. No one is going to hop in a take over unless you let them first. Period. Finding out you can’t have children or struggling for months to have them while your biological clock ticks is among the things you can’t control, you’re right. But you know what? You can control your state-of-mind through it. You can control your reaction. I know, I know…now you’re like “yeah Stacy, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m deeply upset about this.” ….Don’t worry I get you. So be upset, it’s okay-YOU get to choose. OR….why not look at your partner and realize that life isn’t so bad. Realize that there are 8,453 homeless dogs that need foster care and real homes. Realize that there are Alpacas and goats and horses and cows that need love in this world and now YOU have the time and love in your heart to make a difference. You could build a sanctuary, travel the world with your husband or wife, or adopt a child! Life is surely not going to end if you don’t want it to. Smile.
9. Work the problem.
Instead of focusing on what’s wrong and how it’s affecting you, discover the problem and work through it. A lot of us, me included, spend way too much time staying wrapped up in the “whoa-is-me” moment. What’s the problem? How do you fix it? What’s your next step? Example: You just got fired. Pause and think: work the problem. The problem is you don’t have a job. What’s your next step? Update your resume and send it out, call everyone you know and tell them you’re looking, update your LinkedIn. Don’t fall into the sadness/revenge trap. Avoid adding more stress and work the problem.
10. Take a Break.
Last but not least, sometimes you just need a good break from it all. A spa day, date night, girls night out, or vacation is always good for the soul. The one person I always think of when I’m taking a much needed break is Fredrik Eklund, the famous City of New York real estate agent who, in 2016, secured over $220 million in sales. I read his New York Times best-seller last year, The Sell, and it was one of my absolute favorites. He works constantly- I mean from sun-up to sun down- so once a month he goes for a long weekend to a beautiful house in the Connecticut countryside. He unplugs from his business and enjoys time with his family. He emerges renewed and ready to tackle more deals. If I can remember, he once said that if he didn’t take this much needed time away, he wouldn’t be as successful as he is today.