How to Live in a Stressful World

I woke up this morning to find out that it is mid- November. Where did the time go? The year is almost over. I asked myself what did I accomplish this year? My aspiration from last year? What is it? I have so many goals for myself and other people that are in my life…. Where should I start?

We wake up everyday to a world of uncertainty. Decision upon decision. Every breath we take we long for answers, and all the problem we have — a hectic, stressful job, a chaotic home life, kids, schedules, bills and bad habits — can lead to a mountain of stress.

We have enslaved ourselves to our own mess that we tangle ourselves into on a daily basis. If your life is full of stress, like mine, I have concluded, you are living your life foolishly!!!! You have stretched yourself to challenge to live, to love this so called life.

Once a colleague of mine asked, “Kanitha, how do you do it? Your life is so stressful!”

As I get older, I realize that life is not that serious, It’s a series of games that we’re all playing. Different events and chapters that are pages in our book. We’re all on our own journey, we own our experience and the path we choose. Sometimes we play well and sometimes we simple don’t. But the idea is to play and never stop.

There are some simple things you can do to get your life stress to a more manageable level. Now, your life will probably never be stress-free. I can guarantee that — I don’t think that’s even desirable because stress challenges us and helps us grow.

It wasn’t that long ago when I was working long hours in a very stressful job, and I still do sometimes – I can’t lie! I spent very little time with my family, my eating habit was horrible and I wasn’t exercising. I had a lot of debt and too many bills. Just because I put everything upon my shoulders. The disease of wanted more and more and not ever good enough.

So I made some drastic changes.  I simplified my life. I work less. I started exercising and eating healthier whenever I can. I began to eliminate my bad debt with good credit.

How did I do all of this? One thing at a time. I didn’t do a major re-haul of my life. I changed one habit a month, and gradually over the course of a year or two changed a lot of things in my life. I learned to work with people I love and truly admire.

Here is some to try. Each person is different, so pick and choose the ones that will work best for you, and give them a try. One at a time.

  1. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Clear your desk of distractions. Pick something to work on. Need to write a report? Do only that. Remove distractions such as phones and email notifications while you’re working on that report. It is hard, I still working on this everyday.
  1. Simplify your schedule. A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress. Simplify by reducing the number of commitments in your life to just the essential ones. Learn to say no to the rest. Leave the rest up to your team and trust them to do great.
  1. Get moving. Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport, go for a run, do yoga. It doesn’t have to be grueling to reduce stress. Just move. Have fun doing it. I ran up hill every morning after drop my three year old off at school.
  1. Develop one healthy habit this month. Other than getting active, improving your health overall will help with the stress. Eat fruits and veggies for snacks. Floss every day. Quit smoking. Cook something healthy for dinner. Drink water instead of soda. One habit at a time. I am trying to be vegetarian four days a weeks.
  1. Do something calming. What do you enjoy that calms you down? Take a nap, meditate, take a walk or a bath, or reading, cleaning, yard-work or having sex (which can also be considered a “get moving” activity!). I like to listen to Buddhify.
  1. Simplify your finances. Finances can be a drain on your energy and a major stressor. If that’s true with you, figure out ways to simplify things. Automate savings and bill payments and debt payments. Spend less by going shopping (at malls or online) much less. Find ways to have fun that don’t involve spending money. I am still trying to master this one. Now I spend all my money on great cost and mission possible project like building a market for the community.
  1. Have a blast! Have fun each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I like to play with my kids — they take my mind off everything and they are really hilarious. I also like to play sports. Board games are fun! Sex, again, can be a fun activity. Whatever you choose, be sure to laugh!
  1. Get creative. Throwing yourself into a creative activity is another great way to de-stress and to prevent stress. I like to build things. We are opening a market!!!
  1. Declutter. This is a favorite of mine. I like to take 20-30 minutes and just go through a room, getting rid of stuff we don’t use or need anymore. I look around at anything that’s cluttering up a room, and get rid of it or find a better place for it.
  1. Be early. I will admit that it’s hard to be early when you have to get two kids to get ready (seriously — try it!). But being late can be very stressful. Try to leave earlier by getting ready earlier, or by scheduling more space between events. Things always take longer than normal, so schedule some buffer time.

Cheers, Kanitha