Does stress just feel like a normal part of life?
Do you feel overwhelmed, wiped out, and like there just isn’t enough time in the day?
Trust me, I get it. And I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way to live.
Not long ago I lived in nearly constant daily overwhelm.
I yelled at my kids, was uptight and short-tempered with my employees, and just felt agitated & anxious much of the time.
But in the last 2 years, I have developed some new habits; 3 straightforward habits, that have made my life so much better. (and it has nothing to do with eating vegetables or meal planning lol)
One habit above all else will help reduce your feelings of stress and overwhelm so much that you’ll sleep better at night, and become the happier mom, wife, partner, friend, or boss you dream of being.
Because of these 3 habits I am SO much happier & calmer AND I get more done in a day.
What is more, I don’t go to bed with my brain looping on all the things I still need to do.
Here’s how I manage my stress and overwhelm.
I have a lot to say on this subject because this one simple habit, making a schedule and sticking to it, has changed my life.
I used to have to-do lists EVERYWHERE. Little scraps of paper & full sheets half crossed off strewn all over my desk, in my car, in my coat pockets, you name it.
Calendaring has found me hours in my week and I’ve taken better care of myself than I have in years since I started keeping a written schedule.
There are a few things that calendaring will do for your brain.
a. You’ll strengthen the planning part of your brain
You will learn to manage your mind by overriding the primitive part of your brain (your amygdala) when you stick to your schedule.
This is where you train your brain. Often we say I’m going to the gym tomorrow and then tomorrow am shows up and the primitive part of your brain says ‘it’s too hard, stay in bed where it’s warm and comfy’ or ‘I’m too busy to go to the gym!’ Either which way when you do what’s on your calendar and keep your commitment to yourself you strengthen your frontal lobe, the planning part of your brain.
There’s so much science to unpack here and the science nerd in me wants to tell you all about it….but today I’ll stick to the basics.
b. You free your brain to do what it does best-generate ideas.
Your brain is NOT meant to be a storage facility.
When you get the whole to-do list out of your head and on paper, you free up brain space.
A huge part of my stress for years was the ever-present list in my head. As I laid down at night the list would read itself off to me and keep my brain looping. I would wake up in the middle of the night to more looping.
c. When you schedule your tasks and stick to your schedule you teach your brain that you keep commitments to yourself.
You learn to trust yourself. You learn to live from your frontal lobe, the planning part of your brain and not fall prey to the ‘fight, flight or fright adrenaline responses of the primitive brain that we end up with when we move through our day ‘by the seat of our pants’.
I sit down on Sunday afternoon for 30 minutes and make a to-do list for the week. I write down all the things I need to get done and all the things I want to get done.
The first time you do this you will write a huge list.
It will take some time before you don’t over-schedule yourself.
Don’t worry, you’ll learn to table the bigger, future projects somewhere else and focus on the week ahead.
When the to-do list is complete you transfer it thoughtfully onto your weekly calendar. I do it in writing in a physical calendar. You can use an electronic calendar. It doesn’t matter what system you use.
What matters is you do it and stick to it.
2. Self Care every day
On my calendar, I schedule my self-care first.
Self-care does not have to mean getting a massage or facial it means TAKING CARE OF yourself. This can be as simple as scheduling in 15 minutes every morning for writing in your journal or meditating, walking the dog, reading a magazine, sitting down for a nutritious lunch, or just a simple stretching routine.
My morning self-care practice is simple; I do a 10-15 minute yoga video and I meditate for 15-20 minutes.
The key is I do it daily and it’s on my calendar.
I put myself first. I make time for myself becasue it’s how I make time for everybody else.
This habit is essential to my overall well being. Period.
Sure I used to think I didn’t have time.
I’ve come to understand that I don’t NOT have time.
3. Having compassion for myself
This means being kind, speaking kindly and acting kindly towards ME.
Often mean people are mean to themselves.
Haters hate themselves.
When we have compassion for ourselves we have more compassion for those around us.
I don’t speak negatively about myself.
I forgive myself when I make a mistake or do something I regret.
This sounds simple but sadly, by default, many of us are raised to not be kind to ourselves.
I hope you have found something that resonates with you in this blog. I spent way too much of my life disorganized, putting others first and beating myself up for not being perfect.
My 3 habits above have transformed my life and I am so grateful to have found them.
Please reach out and tell me your best habits – I’d love to learn something new and hear what makes your life work!
When you take care of yourself, learn to be kind to yourself and have your own back your life gets SO good.
It’s like magic.