We are one month into 2016, how are your New Year’s resolutions going? My resolutions this year focus around reducing stress. Lives are so busy, with rushing from activity to activity and accumulating things, but what for? This year I am trying to be more intentional so life is less hectic and less stressful.
Here are four things I have been doing to reduce my stress level this year:
- Use a paper planner to stay on task
- Declutter the house and get rid of “stuff”
- Spend some time daily being active
- Spend some time daily being creative
Use a Planner to Reduce Stress
For me one of the best ways to reduce stress is to know what I have to do. I have tried a number of different online planning apps over the past few years, but I have finally concluded I need to use a paper planner. There is just something about writing stuff down on paper that makes it easier for me to keep track of what I need to do and make sure I don’t over schedule. This year I am trying the Bullet Journal system, which is great for me because it is open ended, and I can use it how I want instead of having pre-printed pages. I bought a blank journal and a set of colored pens and have been staying on track with my tasks. Writing things down helps me make sure I am spending my time on what I really want to do, instead of just being busy.
Declutter to Reduce Stress
Decluttering is something I need to do badly! My youngest is in 11th grade this year, so I need to clear out years of homeschool supplies, and turn my dining room from a school room back into a dining room. I have been doing pretty well with this resolution, and am busy selling or donating school books and supplies. Having less clutter makes things seem more relaxed.
Be Active to Reduce Stress
Being more active is another resolution. Exercise has all kinds of health benefits, including reducing stress levels. Working on the computer most of the day makes me way too sedentary. For me thinking framing it as being “active” instead of “exercise” makes it seem more accessible and less intimidating. Of course the winter weather makes it tough sometimes to get outside, and right now the warm weather and snow melt have combined to bring lots and lots of mud. But even indoors there are still ways to stay active and engaged.
Be Creative to Reduce Stress
Creativity is an area that has been sadly lacking in my life lately, and it is another excellent way to reduce stress. My son is taking a class in Zentangle drawing right now, so I have been following along and trying it out too. Zentangle drawing is small square little doodles, which are quick and easy, and really have no rules. I have even adding doodles right in my planner, which provides a short little creativity break, and is quite calming and relaxing. Plus the great thing about a hobby like this is there is no huge commitment or investment required!
Laundry is one thing I don’t stress about. Stains happen, whether it is mud on my jeans from taking the dogs out for a walk, or an ink stain from my new colored pens. Let’s face it, ink stains, grass stains, mud splatter and wine spills are signs of life well-lived. And while you want to delight in the discovery, savor the new skill, or celebrate the accomplishment, you want the stain gone – all gone.
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