Motivation, Taking It On

Ten Tips to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with all the stuff you have going on in your mind and on your to do list that you can’t even focus?  Sometimes I get so stressed. I feel like I can’t handle one more thing or I’m going to snap. I feel like the world is closing in around me and like there is no way out, like everything is going to crumble. This is what happens when I try putting everything on my own shoulders. I realize I do this to myself. I don’t think I’m the only one who does this, am I?

Well, I’ve been practicing ways to squash the anxiety and stress that I create for myself and I’d like to share what I’ve learned thus far. If you find this useful, please share and please let me know.

Ten Tips for Minimizing Stress and Anxiety

Tip #1 Do a brain dump. Make a list of all the things that are on your mind. If it crosses your mind write it down.

Tip #2 Go through your brain dump and create categories, sometimes I do this while writing them down. I sometimes create sections like home, work, random thoughts, projects.

Tip #3 Look for the items you can delegate. Is yard work on your list, is it possible to have someone else in the house handle it or what about hiring an outside service?

Tip #4 Identify most meaningful items that are actionable.  It is amazing how much it helps with stress and anxiety to make progress on something important. Thus make sure for each day you have at a minimum one meaningful item on your list, up to three is max. These are items that help you reach bigger goals, not the mundane stuff that weighs us down.

Tip #5 Schedule the mundane items. One example of this is my Saturday morning cleaning schedule. I schedule 7-12 to clean. I use to do this religiously and it made a huge impact and thus I’m going back to it. Having a deadline made me focus more and it was amazing what I could get done. As soon as 12:00 hit, I was free to be with family and do fun things without guilt or nagging chores calling. This method works great with all kinds of tasks, just don’t get carried away scheduling yourself.

Tip #6 Patience, remind yourself that Rome was not built in a day, and the challenges in life won’t be solved in a day either. Take it one task and one day at a time and focus on what you can control right now, not tomorrow.

Tip #7 Make self-care a priority. It is amazing how something as simple as coffee with a friend can help alleviate stress. Make time for you, it is important.

Tip #8 Keep clutter at bay. It makes a difference. Studies have shown that clutter increases stress and anxiety, so do your best to minimize clutter.

Tip #9 Avoid perfectionism. Sometimes we want to obsess over completing a task versus recognizing when we have hit good enough and can move on. It feels good to let go.

Tip #10 Processes and routines. This is sort of related to schedules, but a bit different. If there is something you can create a process or routine for than do it. For example during your scheduled 7-12 cleaning time create a routine for what you will do first, second, and so on. By doing this when it’s cleaning time you will find you are actually more relaxed while doing the task. You might even find you go on auto pilot. This takes practice to implement and to be honest it is something I want to do during my 7-12 cleaning.

These tips have really helped me improve my stress and anxiety levels. I still have my days where I totally freak out, but a lot fewer. I’m still working to master these tips myself. It takes time and practice. I hope this helps!

 

 

Self Acceptance, Taking It On

Shhh…its a secret.

Everyone has fears, right? Some are completely rational and some are completely irrational and we usually know which category they are in, right? And some are really no big deal and don’t impact our daily lives so we just carry them with us, perfectly normal. Then there are the ones that are so deep, we don’t tell anyone about them and many of them don’t face them. They are our own dirty little secret, our shame.

Well I’m about to let my guard down and get vulnerable, and tell you about mine. Talk about anxiety inducing! I have one big fear that holds me back and I’ve had it my entire life. I’ve done well hiding it and I’ll bet to some it will actually be a surprise. I have a massive fear of being seen and judged. Sounds silly, right? I think so too, but it’s true.

What do I mean by being seen? No, I don’t have a fear of seeing people at the store or a friendly hello in the hall. No, I have a fear of all eyes on me and being the center of attention and in my head what comes next are attacks. It absolutely petrifies me and as a result, I find an odd since of comfort in being invisible.

I am pretty sure I know exactly where my fears originated and I think I came by them pretty honestly, but this particular one has plagued me my entire life. Especially since it is at odds with my personality and I find it requires I keep myself small.

In my professional life, I have conducted training classes and I’m typically fine with that situation. I’ve been put in the situation to give presentations to a group of 200 or so people and I’ve muddled through, super nervous and held back. I tempered my passion, I hid my personality and I let the nerves win. I do this all the time. I think I’ve actually developed a bit of a social anxiety because of it.

I am trying to get over my fears and let me tell you it’s not easy. This blog is actually part of my attempt to start the process of getting over my fears. Can you believe people actually reading my blog petrifies me? Oh, and comments…. yep totally scary. Most scary part, what if someone I know reads it and comments! Ah!

So that is why I’m doing it. I’ve done some pretty hard things in my life. I am constantly researching and learning new ways to be better and reach new goals. I love sharing what I learn. As cheesy as it sounds, I want to make a difference. I want others to know they can do hard things too. I want my daughter to know she can do hard things. I want to be an example for her. I want to share what I have learned and share what has helped me get through some of life’s challenges. I know my grammar sucks, and I know people are going to judge and some may have nasty things to say and you know what that is ok. That is why I am here. How can you get over a fear if you don’t face it head on? So that is what I’m doing.

I’m taking a small semi safe step to quit hiding, to have an outlet to talk about things I find interesting and helpful, to maybe make a difference. So, if you read this comment, or share. Help me get comfortable with being seen.

Do you have fears? Have you overcome them or do you let them hold you back?

 

Thanks for reading,

Tonya

Parenting, Relationships, Taking It On

Are you brave enough to say YES?

I am always super quick to say, “No” and I think there are a lot of other people who can relate. Do you do it or know someone who does? I’ve come to realize it’s my armor for protecting myself when things feel out of control…which is pretty much always. This is especially true as it relates to parenting.   I can’t speak for why others do it. Interestingly enough, saying “No” all the time really doesn’t keep things from getting out of control, it just limits joy. Thus, I’ve been working on saying, “Yes” more often.

It’s kind of hard sometimes and I can feel the anxiety swelling up, but for the most part I can’t think of anything bad that has happened as a result of saying yes. Most of the results of saying yes are fun and happy times.  Such as letting AK and her friend go play on the slip and slide when it’s raining. It’s not thundering or lightening, it’s just raining. Why say no? They are going to get wet anyways. Turns out they had a blast and nothing bad happened.

Sure, go paint unsupervised! Ok, go bake some cupcake and add all the “secret ingredients” you want! As it turns out, saying yes to these kinds of things are actually quite liberating and quite good for my daughter too. She is learning to depend on herself. Saying yes to painting unsupervised doesn’t mean, yes you can go spill a gallon of paint on my carpet. It means you know the rules to painting unsupervised and I trust you enough to follow them, now go have some fun and create. Which is exactly what happened! As for the cupcakes…not one person died from eating them. In addition, I think my daughter got a little more comfortable in the kitchen fixing things for herself…heck yeah! I’d consider that a win.

There are other aspects of life I’m working on this whole yes thing…work, relationships with friends and family, and finding time for myself.  Some days and weeks are more challenging than others, but overall learning to say yes is a HUGE step in finding joy and oddly in feeling less anxiety.

Have you had any experience with this? Any tips or suggestions?