We think it’s the big problems that cause us the most , but it’s actually the small, daily details that can derail our schedules and drag down our mood. Here are some tips on how to take charge of your everyday stress.
Know your triggers
Do you get annoyed by loud crowds? Then avoid them. Schedule appointments or trips to the supermarket for “slow hours” when there won’t be a lot of people. If your desk is cluttered or you often spend time looking for a cell phone or car keys, devote one day to organizing your area—you’ll feel calmer and more in control!
Take stock of your time
Don’t you just hate the feeling of rushing because you’re always running late? Take a piece of paper and find the real problem. Write down how you divide your time or schedule your tasks. Maybe you’re trying to do too much, so your meetings overlap. Or maybe you spend too much time on one thing, so you’re cramming the rest of the day. Work out an ideal schedule that allots enough time (and a small grace period) for your different responsibilities.
Cut back on avoidable stressors
Do you get agitated whenever a particular co-worker spends the entire lunch break complaining about her problems? Then don’t eat with her, or tactfully change the topic. If you dislike cooking, then cook in bulk on one day (or look for quick and easy recipes) so you spend less time in the kitchen.
Find quiet time
This gives you a chance to recharge and zone out. Give yourself at least 20 minutes in the morning, and 20 minutes in the evening, to slip away, turn off your phone, and do something you truly enjoy.
Quit the personality contest
Stop competing with other people or bending backwards to make them happy. Develop your sense of self worth, so you don’t feel compelled to be the best in everything, buy things you can’t afford just to keep up appearances, or wallow over a stinging comment. Read our article on how to stop being a people pleaser.
Focus on one thing at a time. Give each moment or task your full attention. It’s exhausting to keep thinking about other tasks or switching from one thing to another. You accomplish more and feel much calmer if you go through your day one step, one challenge, one moment at a time.
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