For most of us, Monday tends to be the most dreaded day of the week. Why? Because we often begin Monday, having not prepared on Friday, so we are playing catch up the moment we hit the door. Or, we have to begin a new project. Or, we feel trapped in a project that seems to have no end in sight.
Chronic stress will drain your energy and undermine your mental and physical health. If tensions build up throughout the week, you may have trouble resting and recharging your batteries and your mental energy on your days off. Then, you begin the following week tired out from the outset.
Begin to break the cycle of chronic fatigue and stress with this 4-step plan to squash stress before it accumulates. Start your week off feeling peaceful and relaxed.
1. Slow down. Do you rush around from Monday to Friday trying to meet deadlines at work and deliver your kids to soccer practice on time? Wake up early and leave a gap, some breathing space, between appointments. Pause to collect your thoughts, and listen to birds sing.
2. Turn off your smartphone. Try to disconnect for at least an hour each day. Connect with family and friends face-to face instead of texting everyone.
3. Pray and meditate. For many adults, spiritual traditions are the ultimate source of stability and contentment. Study inspirational texts and contemplate how they relate to your personal challenges.
4. Express your creativity. Whatever your beliefs, you can blow off steam by engaging in arts and crafts. Play the piano or knit.
5. Live mindfully. Studies show that humans are not very good at multitasking. Jumping from one subject to another, from one set of tasks to something unrelated, creates anxiety. Focus on the present moment to accomplish more with less effort.
1. Edit your self talk. Treat yourself with compassion. Acknowledge your fears and losses. Encourage yourself to keep striving.
2. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Remembering our blessings reminds us of our connection to each other and the divine. The world instantly looks a lot friendlier, and that is reassuring.
3. Let go of expectations. Of course, many outcomes in life are beyond our control. Base your confidence on your ability to adapt to setbacks and changing circumstances. Accept uncertainty, and take pleasure in the opportunity to learn and stretch your skills.
4. Laugh it off. Most of the things that make us uneasy have their funny side. Look for the humor in really bad parking or kitchen remodeling jobs that go way over schedule.
Take Care of Yourself
1. Exercise regularly. Physical activity is good for your body and mind. In addition to burning calories, a run through the park will dissolve stress. Find a variety of workouts you enjoy so you can look forward to ice skating or volley ball.
2. Eat a nutritious diet. Diet plays an important role in keeping us resilient and able to deal with stress. Get most of your calories from vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Reward yourself with theater tickets instead of second helpings of dessert.
3. Sleep well. Your body uses sleep as a time to heal the physical inflammation caused by life’s stress. Go to bed and rise at about the same time each day. Darken your bedroom or wear ear plugs if lights and noise are disturbing your slumbers.
Simplify Your Routines
1. Clear away clutter. Clean and spacious settings make it easier to relax. Gather up the items you no longer use. Donate them to charity or sell them. As a bonus, you will find that can complete your housework in less time, eliminating another common source of stress.
2. Buy less. Prevent clutter from gaining a foothold by consuming less. Figure out how many shoes and electronic gadgets you really need. Dump the rest. Make a plan to cycle some things out, as you bring in more up-to-date items.
3. Eliminate unnecessary tasks. Streamline your schedule along with all the other routines. Focus on your most important priorities, and avoid taking on additional obligations.
Cut stress off at the source.
Begin your week with simple habits and easy decisions that protect your peace of mind.
You will feel less frazzled and more alive each day!