It seems that everyone is so busy these days. And I’m not referring to the type of busy that’s situational or temporary. I mean the type of busy where you’re in a vicious cycle of non-stop activity and rarely (if ever) come up for air. Think: hamster on a wheel. And the truth is we all have many valid reasons for being busy. Whether you’re a working parent, homeschooler, or stay-at-home parent, there’s always something that needs our time and attention. Between work, school, volunteering, activities, lessons, practice, more work, cooking, cleaning, and everything else – the busyness just never seems to end!
But being in a chronic state of busyness can be a major cause of stress. And you know that unregulated stress is a major cause of many problems in life and health. Stress-related busyness can lead to unhappiness or relationship issues, but it may also contribute to anxiety, depression, and sleep problems, auto-immune disorders, weight problems, heart disease or diabetes to name a few.
So what can you do to lower your stress level when you feel that life has gotten so busy that it’s out of control? In this post, I’ll share quick ways that you can easily de-stress when life gets super busy.
Easy Ways to De-stress When Life Gets Busy
1. Embrace one task at a time.
Skip the multi-tasking mindset and be in the moment with just one thing at a time. Rather than shifting from task to task so you can “touch on” everything, why not dive deep into one thing? Experience it fully so that you can know you’ve given it the attention it requires. This may mean allowing yourself a block of uninterrupted time to complete a work project or making an overdue phone call while doing nothing else but attending to the task at hand.
Approaching things one at a time – rather than simultaneously – will help reduce stress as you gain a sense of closure over each task rather than having a To Do list full of partially completed tasks.
2. Get outside for a walk.
When the gauge on your stress-o-meter is kicking in, that would be a good time to step away from the desk – or wherever you are – and head outside for a walk. Even a quick five to ten-minute walk can do wonders to clear your mind and help you regain focus. You may feel stuck on a problem that a quick walk outside can help you to gain clarity on. Have you ever found that you have great ideas when you’re not thinking about the problem?
Sometimes getting away from that thing that is challenging us is all we need to conquer it.
3. Fit movement into your day.
You’ve heard the saying “Take care of your body; it’s the only place you have to live.” And while that saying is really cute, it’s also very true. Think about it. You do only have one body. Every part of your body is irreplaceable. Just as your mood and thoughts influence your body, your body can be used as an instrument to support your mental well-being too.
Fit movement into your day – even during the most stressful times – to tap into your body’s stress-relieving capabilities. Try deep breathing, stretching, or yoga to relieve tension and stress.
4. Be grateful for what you have.
As basic as this may sound, gratitude can be very effective in your efforts to relieve stress. Yet, the power of gratitude is often under-valued. Having a grateful mindset is an effective way to reframe the way we perceive things and ultimately the way that they affect us. When you make it a point to reflect on all of the good things in your life, you can do wonders for your stress levels and overall health.
Make it a habit to acknowledge the beautiful blessings in your life. You may do this during prayer, meditation, or journaling. A nice gratitude exercise may include writing down your thought every night and capturing three things that went well for you each day. Not only is this a great practice for stress relief, but it’s also been proven to improve sleep quality. That’s it. Just recognizing what’s going well in your life can improve mood, help to relieve stress, and just boost your overall happiness in life.
If you’ve been in a vicious cycle of stress overload or coping with stress in unhealthy ways, realize that these behaviors often create more stress in your life. If your stress is taking over your life, it may be time for help. Reach out to your healthcare provider or get support in one of our stress management coaching programs.
Alicia Hyatte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Wellness Expert, and Health Educator. She creates impactful, evidence-based health and wellness content and programs for individuals, families, and communities.