Ever have one of those days? You know the kind I’m talking about: when you barely have time to grab your morning coffee, when your one-minute personal check-in is on the walk to your next meeting, when you come home from work at 7pm feeling like you made time in your day for everyone—except yourself.
There’s no denying it: Stress will always be a part of our day-to-day lives, but it can take a toll on our long-term health. So, instead of tearing through best-selling self-help books or creating lofty goals on how to make this upcoming fall your best (and most stress-free) yet, here are some manageable ways to refocus and recalibrate so you can feel better about today, tomorrow and the days to come.
1. Do five-minute phone calls with friends and loved ones.
Unless you have an hour-long commute after work, setting aside a block of time to catch up with friends and family can be tricky. Instead, opt for a quick five-minute call to say hi, ask what’s going on or wish them luck for an important project or event. A few minutes of casual conversation with someone you care about lifts your spirits without sucking up your time.
2. Declutter your space.
Let’s face it: decluttering can be a daunting task, but organizing a space where you spend a majority of your time—whether it’s at work or home—has countless aesthetic, emotional and mental benefits. Dedicate one morning this weekend to sorting through your clothes, books, shoes or papers to determine what you want to keep. Get rid of anything you don’t love or use on a regular basis. Keeping only the items that bring joy and ease to your life will make your closet, desk, or home so much more inviting and accessible. Plus, you’ll have a renewed sense of energy after discarding the items that weighed you down—both literally and figuratively.
3. Only complain when you can offer a solution to the problem.
We all need our vent sessions, but complaining for complaining’s sake is actually counter-productive: you’re feeding your thoughts with negative attention, instead of looking for a solution. Is your internet connection too slow? Make a quick phone call to your provider to get it sorted out. Is traffic on the way to work terrible? Leave earlier or take a different route. Most problems can be easily remedied. If you can’t find a solution, then the situation is likely out of your control and complaining won’t do anything to fix the problem.
4. Look people in the eye when you speak.
Maintaining eye contact is easy when you’re listening, but try doing it when you speak as well. Direct eye contact builds confidence and fosters a connection between two people in conversation. It also makes you appear more trustworthy, self-aware and self-assured.
5. Do a five-minute kitchen clean.
In just five minutes, you can take out the trash, wipe down your counters, sweep and throw away any expired items in your fridge. Having a tidy, organized kitchen space will make your post-work dinner prep a breeze, and studies show that keeping your kitchen tidy can actually reduce stress-eating and result in weight loss. Plus, cleaning for five minutes every day is so much easier than spending an entire Saturday scrubbing your counters and floors.
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