8 Ways to Slow Down and De-Stress Your Busy Life
Every. Single. Day. That’s what it feels like when you get slammed at work, have to pick up the kids, mow the lawn, get your car in the shop and go to your best friend’s birthday party because there’s always something to do and so little time.
I'm a busy guy like you, trying to make it till tomorrow with as much hair on my head as possible. While it may seem impossible to become less stressed, it's totally possible.
I've found that it’s vital that you take the time to slow down and enjoy yourself while also de-stressing your hectic life. That can all be achieved by doing the following eight things.
1. Do one thing at a time.
Humayun Khan said it best in a previous Shopify article, “multitasking sucks.” It turns out, however, that Khan wasn’t just stating an opinion. There’s actual research that backs up this claim.
Researchers at Stanford asked students “to complete three experiments involving switching tasks, going through irrelevant information, and using their working memory under the assumption that multitaskers would outdo the nonmultitaskers.”
The researchers found that “multitaskers were terrible in all three experiments, worst of all the researchers found that when frequent multitaskers attempted to focus on a single task, they used their brains less effectively than non-frequent multitaskers.”
Instead of stressing yourself out and attempting to juggle multiple tasks, focus one thing at a time and then move on to the next item on your list once you’ve completed that task.
2. Double the estimate of how long anything will take.
How often have you underestimated the time it takes you to complete a task? If you’re like most of us, it happens pretty frequently. When this over simplification and underestimation of required time happens, you’re adding unnecessary stress to your life. To prevent that, double the time it will take you to complete a task -- both at home and in the office.
For example, if you plan to spend 30 minutes editing an article you just wrote, extend that to an hour so that you’re not rushing to meet that deadline and increasing your stress without any added benefit. Not only will this help you spot mistakes, you aren’t rushing in an unhealthy way to get the job done. If you’re planning on repainting your kitchen on Saturday, plan on completing the project on Sunday. Again, it prevents errors and the need to be in a mad rush.
3. Stop being late.
Sometimes this is out of your hands. What if your vehicle won’t start or there’s an accident on the highway? But, if you get a head start by waking up and leaving the house earlier, you’re reducing the morning rush, and hence the undo stress that worry and rushing causes.
If you really want to stop being late, prep for the next day by getting ready the night before like packing your lunch or laying out your clothes. A study was conducted that asked about 10 billionaires some of their habits. Everyone of them said they laid out their clothes the night before. Is it possible there is a correlation in just one stress reducer and wealth?
4. Go for a short walk and get some fresh air.
Marc Chernoff says on the Marc & Angel Hack Life that “When things are getting really stressful, take 5-10 minutes to take a walk and clear your mind.” He adds, “A short walk does wonders. It gives you something new to look at and it gets your body moving.”
It’s also been found that fresh air is good for digestion, improves your mood, strengthens your immune system, improves your blood pressure/heart rate, and gives you an energy boost.
5. Take the scenic route.
Instead of taking the fastest route from A to B, why not take the longer route? You could do this by driving the longer, although more scenic route along the shoreline, when commuting to work. You could take the longer bus route, stand in the longest line, or just stop along the way to admire the sunset or do some shopping.
In other words, don’t run. Walk. And, enjoy that walk while you’re at it.
6. Enjoy the silence.
As Andy Puddicombe for YouBeauty writes on The Huffington Post;
“Silence can mean different things to different people. The early hours of the morning, the serenity of the countryside, the few moments after you turn off the motor of your car, or even the simplicity of a clean and tidy room. Do your best to seek out this kind of silence, at least once a day. You deserve it.”
7. Just breathe.
Yep. It’s that simple. Breathing can reduce everything from anxiety, stress and blood pressure. But, you want to make sure that you’re breathing properly by doing so in a way that “is physiologically optimal for your body.”
Check out this guide from Selfication on how to breath properly.
8. Achieve work-life balance.
- Prepare for the upcoming week.
- Take vacations.
- Celebrate each holiday.
- Disconnect for awhile.
- Designate specific work hours.
- Implement the Pareto Principle, also known as 80/20 rule.
- Automate as much as you can.