Let's face facts, stress isn't doing us any favours — it comes with a long list of negative side effects health-wise (including breakouts, for those of us who are superficially-motivated), and to put it bluntly, it's just an overall bummer. Now I'm not talking about the odd bout of stress here and there, but that pesky, prolonged variety that seems to be increasingly more common. As a blogger (which I know many of you are as well), living with a degree of daily stress has just become part of the deal — between emails, deadlines, social obligations and the ever-suffocating need to 'keep up,' how can stress not be an issue? It's unavoidable regardless of whether you run your own business, work for someone else, go to school, or whatever the case may be. So let's not waste time fixating on how to eliminate stress from our lives altogether (I imagine that would lead to a whole other kind of stress), but instead focus on a few simple things we can do to alleviate those feelings. Here we go.
1. WRITE A TO-DO LIST
Knowing exactly what you have to do and by when can be really helpful in terms of making you feel more in control. In my experience, not having a clear and realistic task list for the day makes me feel lost and fearful that I'm forgetting something, which only adds to my stress levels. So regardless of whether you prefer task-management apps or good old fashioned pen-and-paper, write stuff down.
2. CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
I know it sounds incredibly basic, but one of the most powerful ways for me to personally reduce my stress levels is to have a clean, organized workspace. Clutter can be a real son of a bitch in terms of distracting and disrupting your workflow, so get rid of anything that isn't serving a purpose, tidy up the things that are, and do whatever you can to make your space more visually-appealing to you.
3. GET SOME PERSPECTIVE
I know it seems pretty dire in the moment, but will it really be the end of the world if you don't finish that task by the end of the day? Will the world around you implode as a result? Well, I certainly hope not. As important as it is to be productive and GSD, it's also important to remember that you're only human and that some days will be better than others. Just take a deep breath and cut yourself some slack — there's always tomorrow.
4. TREAT YO' SELF
Implementing a reward system can go a long way towards not only being more productive, but actually being happier in your work as well. How you choose to reward yourself can be anything from taking a 15 minute coffee break after you finish a specific task, going to a movie after you hit all your targets for the week, or buying yourself something you've had your eye on after a big project wraps. For me, it's all about reenforcing good work behaviours with trips to coffee shops to see friends and visits to Sephora — apparently caffeine and cosmetics are powerful motivators for this girl.
5. POSITIVE SELF TALK
Sometimes the best way to reduce stress is to just talk yourself off the ledge — much like my third point, giving yourself some perspective and using kind words of encouragement can be really helpful when dealing with difficult situations. Your attitude impacts your actions and the way you handle stress, and having a good attitude goes back to your internal dialogue, so just make it a positive one, would ya?
6. TAKE A BREAK
This one goes without saying and is pretty self-explanitory, but many of us rarely do it. Even while on vacation, I know a lot of people that continue to work, check emails, or whatever the case may be. The best way to recharge and reduce your stress levels is to truly take a break, so book off some time each year to do something you love, and as often as you can manage it, unplug entirely. I've started taking one day a week off from social media, and I've never known a luxury so sweet... even something as simple as going for lunch without feeling the compulsive need to photograph my food has been super liberating... try it sometime.
Image via Ignant