While holiday celebrations begin to fade to memory, the New Year forges on ahead. Reality can hit you like a ton of bricks as the new year (and your calendar) begins to fill with responsibilities and commitments. Even if you enter the New Year feeling refreshed and ready to tackle it all with an optimistic attitude, life stressors have a way of weaseling in.
Feeling stressed out frequently can not only create mental blocks to relaxation and happiness, but it can also trigger an ongoing physical response that can bring about chronic pain and inflammation, as well as a lowered immune system.
Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to reduce your stress levels this year and enjoy peace and balance.
Between your professional and personal life, some stress is inevitable, but practicing regular self-care activities can help you avoid burnout and take the edge off in a constructive way. Many quick self-care habits can fit easily into your daily to-do list without taking up more than 30 minutes of your time.
Regardless of the time commitment, effective self-care takes several aspects into consideration: some may be fitness-oriented (such as a cardio routine), while others may aim to boost mindfulness (meditation) or simply provide some pampering (a weekly massage or movie night). Self-care can be practiced solo (reading a book or taking a bath) or with others (a group meal, book club, or yoga class).
Be Mindful of Noise
Is your office next to a busy city street, or are you working from home in the midst of family chaos? Loud noises can trigger your stress response and make it hard to focus and be mindful. Try wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to reduce upsetting noises, or play soothing music to help with your relaxation.
Take Care of Your Body
We’ve all got one body we must live in — so do what you can to make yours a habitable, comfortable, and healthy place! Physical stressors directly impact your mental and emotional health. Limit these and your general stress level will improve proportionally. Plus, taking care of your body is a crucial part of self-care!
Start by ensuring you’re getting enough sleep. What is considered “enough?” According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults age 18 and over require a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night to function at their peak. Keep in mind this number can vary, with some adults needing up to 9 hours of sleep per night.
Regular exercise is equally as important, especially since physical activity is a great outlet to channel and extinguish existing stress.
Finally, make sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of nutritious foods, and minimize those that ultimately bring your energy crashing down (excess caffeine or alcohol, sugary drinks, and other empty calories).
Be Intentional With Your Screen Time
We know it’s difficult, but try to limit the time you spend looking at your phone or laptop as much as possible, especially in the hours leading to bedtime. While these devices are often an unavoidable part of life, they can also be a big trigger for stress. Studies have linked excessive smartphone use with increased levels of stress, and it might also be negatively affecting your sleep quality. Try to set a timer or a schedule for when the best time to scroll is.
[Related: 6 Signs You Need a Personal Assistant]
Improve Time Management
Maintaining the foresight to stay organized in your day-to-day life will cut stress drastically. Operating on a schedule can help you improve your efficiency at work and at home, and reduce your stress.
Rather than digging into office tasks at random, start the week with a basic to-do list and experiment to determine the best way to prioritize projects. Instead of running errands haphazardly, create a route that minimizes driving time.
Finally, cut procrastination! Putting off responsibilities only serves to create more stress down the road. Hiring a personal assistant can help you focus on getting the important things done as soon as possible.
Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
When you’re overworked and overtired, it’s easy to feel like you let people down, or aren’t doing your best. Understand that you can’t be 100% successful at everything all at once, give yourself some grace, and be mindful of what you can and cannot control. Setting realistic goals and expectations can help eliminate some of the pressure that you may be putting on yourself.
Outsource Responsibility Where Possible
Pepper’s Personal Assistants believes what matters most when outsourcing tasks to a third party is that doing so ultimately saves the client time, and can even increase their happiness. Time saved on generic daily maintenance tasks equals more time to spend on your personal and professional priorities and less panic when examining your to-do list.
Our top tips for deciding which personal tasks to outsource include:
- shifting your focus to the hours you’re saving instead of the specific tasks your PA is doing;
- thinking in terms of daily operations;
- and collaborating with your PA on your personal priorities.
For example, you can save up to an hour of your time when you assign your daily (or weekly) laundry-folding duties to your PA. Instead of stressing over unfinished work projects or missing yoga class while you’re stuck in the laundry room, collaborate with your PA to lead your most efficient (and stress-free!) life.
How Pepper’s Personal Assistants Can Help Reduce Your Stress
At Pepper’s Personal Assistants we offer a great resource for helping you fight back against stress. A personal assistant can help take a lot off your plate. This includes meal planning, paying the bills, running errands, grocery shopping, and more.
Interested? Visit our website to learn more about our services.
We’re ready to help you regain your time, reduce your stress, and increase your happiness. Our personal assistants offer long-term, recurring household support in the Puget Sound Area.