Running a business with events, speaking engagements, and meetings one right after the other on top of working with my team, I know first-hand how stressful and exhausting having a busy lifestyle can be.
But I also know first-hand how to make sure you don’t burn out or find yourself helpless, irritable, and unhappy. Here are 9 of the best stress relief tips for when you find yourself extra busy.
1. Eat Healthy and Exercise
It’s easy to want to jump out of bed and get right to work, skipping meals, grabbing fast food, and neglecting exercise when you live a busy lifestyle. But starting every day off right with healthy food, water and exercise is essential to success.
If you were going on a long trip in your high-performance car, would you fill it with the wrong kind of gas?
Of course not, it would be hard on the engine – remember your body is your engine, and it must come first.
Notice the times when you feel stressed or depressed, Were you binging on unhealthy, processed foods, eating too much sugar, drinking too much alcohol, not drinking enough water, and avoiding daily exercise?
Pay attention to your body, and avoid rewarding yourself for working hard by eating badly.
I understand the temptation, but it is important not to give into it. You’ll experience the feelings of joy and pleasure, not to mention greater mental clarity much more often when you abide by this #1 rule.
Meditation and mindfulness is something I have practiced my entire adult life and is a key factor to keeping my stress levels down and my mind clear.
Ideally, 30 minutes to one hour of meditation a day would have a major impact in all areas of your life, but most of us don’t have that much time.
So start by just taking a few minutes a couple times a day to pay attention to your breathing – taking deep breaths breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting go of any negative thoughts or feelings – just noticing them and letting them go.
By just this simple act you will notice your body destressing in the moment.
You can also take a mindful walk outside and breathe in your surroundings, listen to soothing music or a guided visualization. It is these little things, that create a huge difference in enjoying your success.
3. Practice Self-Care
This is another thing the busy person tends to neglect – making time for yourself and getting the sleep you need to keep your body and mind at it’s best.
You work hard. Remember to reward yourself every now and then and celebrate how far you’ve come.
Take a mental health day, go on a weekend trip, catch a show, take a spa day, whatever you need to do to indulge in alone time often, do it.
Making this change in your routine will do wonders to your well-being, but it needs to be scheduled just like you would schedule a meeting or a business trip.
4. Clean Up Your Messes and Incompletes
Take time to make a list of all the things that are undone in your life. The things that wake you up at night or you catch yourself thinking about in the middle of the day, distracting you.
Maybe it’s a conversation you need to have, an important to do that is hanging over your head, your office door that is squeaky, the lighting in your office that needs replacing, a report you promised to send, whatever it is – write it down.
I literally go through my entire house and office quarterly and make a list room by room of undone stuff – I like to say these are the invisible monkeys on our backs, that over time create a level of stress that we unconsciously start to tolerate.
Then I make that same list with the people and relationships that are incomplete or need attention in my life.
Once I have everything down on paper and out of my head, I can prioritize my list and in what order I am going to handle these stressors.
The goal is to have an environment both mentally and physically that is clean, calm, and has space to support you. This is something that is easy to put off but so important to handle, you’ll feel the benefits of it immediately, I promise.
5. Be Grateful
Look for the good in every situation, even those you would normally view as negative.
It’s easy to be disappointed and get upset at others when things don’t go our way. But by being mindful that we’re all on this journey together and that none of us are perfect, allows us to appreciate our differences.
Accept things for what they are and being grateful for every piece of feedback, every amount of effort put in, every opportunity given, and even every opportunity missed.
Having a more positive outlook on life’s big and small events will tremendously reduce your stress.
6. Have Clearly Defined Goals
When you have clear goals, you have a clear direction on where you’re heading in life. And for the busy professional, having clear life goals means being productive with your precious time.
One of the best methods of goal-setting is setting SMART goals.
Ensure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bounded.
The more specific, the more likely you are to achieve them, and the easier it is to chunk them down.
With that level of clarity, it is easy to break down goals and ask, “What would actually be required for me to achieve this goal? How many hours would it take?”
Once you’ve identified the things that are most important to accomplish first, schedule those activities, and set aside the rest for later.
Clear Goals Make it Easy to Say No
When you’re ambitious, it’s hard to say no to opportunities, but in order to keep from feeling overwhelmed and to be successful in achieving your goals, you will have to get good at saying no to those activities, requests, and other time-stealers that don’t have a high payoff, remember the 80/20 rule.
It says that 80% of our productivity comes from 20% of our efforts. The key to being more efficient is to focus on the 20% that gets us closer to our goals.
Again, clear goals make saying no less stressful. One response that I have found helpful in saying no to people is, “It’s not against you; it’s for me.” Say no to the good so that you can say yes to the great.
7. Use Affirmations
Affirmations are simple, positive statements describing specific goals in their completed states.
An example would be:
“I am so happy and grateful that I am now completing a successful training event.”
Although they sound rather basic, these empowering mantras have profound effects on the conscious and unconscious mind.
Some of your stress may come from limiting beliefs. Positive affirmations will help replace your, “I cant’s” with “I cans”, and your fears and doubts with confidence and certainty. When there’s nothing in your mind to stop you, there’s nothing to stress about.
8. Focus on the Positive in Every Situation
This isn’t easy at first but it can become so over time. Learning to look at your “losses or what I like to refer to as lessons” as opportunities for growth allows you to keep your vibration high.
When you have a growth and learning mindset, you’re less stressed, which allows for more energy to focus on what you learned and what you can do with this new information, leading to more opportunities.
9. Remember to Delegate
Always remember you’re not in this alone.
I would not be able to accomplish as much as I do without my team.
Every high achiever has a powerful team of key staff members, consultants, vendors, and helpers who help manage projects and handle everyday tasks.
There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help or letting someone else who is an expert at something take care of the work.
It’ll be the best use of your time and it will enable you to do more of the work you enjoy. And it’s not only relieving to have tasks taken from you, it’s also rewarding to see a team care about you and your goals.
Pick three stress relief tips to start doing today. Then notice how you felt after doing them. Tell me what you plan to do and share your experience in the comments.
Learn more about the power of positive thinking and it’s role in stress relief.