Lately I’ve felt like this inflatable unicorn—on the verge of tipping over, losing my balance and feeling like I might drown under the weight of it all. Perhaps you’ve felt this way too.
They attributed the high stress to the transition into fall, the state of the world, and the general pace of life, and they offered encouragement by sharing the simple, practical ways that they deal with stress on a daily basis. Their tips were similar to some of my own discoveries.
The immediate answer to stress is to create some space around the overwhelm. Here are some things that consistently work for me:
1. Get that long, never-ending to-do list out of my head. I use Workflowy. It’s an app that lets me dump my brain onto a blank page and then drag things around to quickly organize it. I can use Workflowy on my laptop (online or off) and on my phone when I’m on the go. The list can expand and collapse, so I can see everything at once or only the section I want to focus on.
Workflowy helps me pick the priorities without worrying that I’ll forget about the things I’ve put off until later. They’ll get done eventually, or they won’t, but I’m not carrying it around in my head.
2. Prioritize what’s important to me but not necessarily urgent to anyone else.
When I don’t make time to write and to exercise, I’m not myself. So, I’m becoming more consistent about weaving those two things into my schedule each week.
I’m flexible about when it happens, but once I schedule it, I honor those dates with myself.
3. Reach out.
Quite often, all I ever need is a hug and a friend’s listening ear. Being comforted, seen, and heard goes a long way. Recently I wrote an essay about the value of prioritizing friendships. And while in-person visits are ideal, sometimes a text message is all we have time for.
But if you want to have silly, ridiculous fun with your friends, try the Marco Polo app. It’s a video walkie-talkie app that’s like FaceTime and texting rolled into one. My friend’s daughter said Marco Polo is a mom app, and I don’t know about that, but I do know that seeing my friends’ faces and hearing their voices is delightful.
4. Spread the love.
At the hair salon the other day, the owner offered me a cup of coffee and a homemade cookie. I enjoyed my treat on a comfy couch by a window with sunlight pouring in.
This simple act of hospitality made my day and boosted my mood enough to pass it on. It reminded me that I don’t need the solution for everything. One tiny good thing is enough to keep going.
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