Stress is a part of life, unfortunately. Whether you’re just going about your normal daily routine or you’ve found yourself dealing with an overwhelming situation, there will always be stressors in everything we do. But, there are steps that you can take to manage and eliminate much of the stress that you experience.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a stay-at-home mom, a full-time student, a career-focused professional, a freelancer, a solo entrepreneur, or a business owner – we all experience stress. It’s an inevitable part of life. Some of it we have no control over (like work, traffic, or weather) and some of it we can manage with a little effort (like relationships, interactions, and how we handle responsibilities and obligations). While we’re not able to control every potential stressful situation, we can change how we handle it.

So, instead of just trying to get through each day hoping for the best, use these steps to reduce the stress and embrace a more calm state of being.

Plan your day

If your days are chaotic or all over the place, you may need to add a little structure to your daily routine. Break out your day planner and schedule out the things that you need to get done for the day. Designate a specific amount of time for each task (be realistic).

For example: give yourself 20 minutes to respond to emails or messages, an hour to sort and organize your closet, 30 minutes to create a graphic for your latest blog post, and a few hours to work on that ebook you’ve been putting off.

The best thing about scheduling your day is that you’re able to allocate time to all of your pending tasks. You’re also better able to gauge what you can actually get done in a day. When we make endless to-do lists it can be overwhelming. Because no matter how much we actually get done, it never seems like making progress. When you plan out your day, you’re able to check off tasks as you complete them, which helps to minimize stress and encourages a sense of accomplishment.

One task at a time

We often overwhelm ourselves by seeing what needs to get done in a big picture kind of way. Since every big task consists of individual steps, we simplify our lives by breaking the big picture goal down into tasks that we can handle.

For example: If you’re in charge of planning your sister’s upcoming baby shower, don’t overwhelm yourself by envisioning everything that needs to get done on that day. Instead, break it down into manageable steps, over time. Use a schedule. Determine budget and number of attendees. Then, look for possible locations. Once you’ve secured a location, consider decor and festivities… etc. When you do this, you make sure that everything gets taken care of, no details are missed, and it was a planned manageable process.

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Create a nighttime ritual

Before you hop in bed and start binge-watching the new season of Black Mirror or embark on an endless scroll of Instagram, make a decision to be more purposeful with your wind down time. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself wondering where all your free-time went – and have nothing to show for it.

Try splitting your evening in two. Spend one part of it preparing for the next day and the other part getting relaxed and having a little me time to recharge.

When you first get home and still have energy, do things that require your physical attention. Do a quick workout, make dinner, meal prep, review your next day schedule and organize your to-do list, and complete any household chores you need to tackle. After that’s done, use the rest of your night to kick back and relax. Take a hot bath, read a few chapters that book on your nightstand, call your mom, listen to music or watch an episode of your favorite show. It’s important that you create a nighttime routine that helps you to get things done but also where you get to set the tone for the next day. You’ll be more organized and you’ll feel more in control of your life – which will help to minimize your stress levels.

It’s okay to delegate

Whether you’re busy with grad school, a working mom, or you’re an entrepreneur, trying to do it all – all the time – is one of the primary sources of stress. We often find ourselves overwhelmed and burnt out because we try to take on too much. Sure, it may seem more cost-effective and time-efficient to just handle it yourself; but, you’re most likely putting yourself through immense amounts of undue stress.
Use your resources.

  • Never seem to have time to clean the house, but have extra funds in your budget every month? Hire a housekeeper.
  • Does grocery shopping leave you stressed out? Use Instacart of Amazon Fresh and have your groceries delivered.
  • Need to get away? Don’t hesitate to ask the family (or your support system) to help with the kids so that you can get a little downtime.
  • Still writing and rewriting the copy for your website, but struggling to get it done? Find a freelance copywriter.
  • Running around trying to solve issues with your team’s connectivity, because you don’t want to outsource and have managed IT services? Do yourself a favor, and find a contractor to come in and help you.

Don’t feel guilty.
When you delegate, you’re not saying that you can’t do it. You’re simply handing off tasks to someone you trust so that you can eliminate stress and free up time to do more of the work that needs your personal attention. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be superwoman and use your resources.

Put the phone down and enjoy your life

As much as we all enjoy the connectivity of social media, it can be a very draining experience. When you’re constantly checking your timelines, updating your status, and trying to chronicle your life, you can find yourself feeling anxious and always on edge… always in search of the next thing to post.

If you use social media for business, we get it. It’s a part of your marketing plan. Put a plan in place for posting, sharing and engaging. Don’t make it a 24/7 task. Use schedulers for your posts, so that you can plan ahead. And only respond to authentic interactions.

At a minimum create do-not-disturb time. Turn off your phone or put it on DND and be present in the moment. If you’re at an event, take pictures – just don’t be so worked up about having the post your every move. Remember, you can always post the next day. Give yourself permission to just enjoy the moment while it’s happening.