Simplify for stress
One way to reduce stress is to simplify your life. Easier said than done given the growing number of tasks and activities that fill up your busy day- work, children, home, mortgage, medical care, caregiving, exercise- the list goes on.
But there are some things you can do to simplify life and reduce the stress that comes with multitasking and overextending yourself. Simplifying your life does not necessarily mean living without or on less. It means living thoughtfully and deliberately by exploring what is important to your life, what gives meaning and what robs you of your energy and wellbeing.
- Prioritize your day, your week, Do the necessary things and don’t sweat the unnecessary things that you did not have time for.
- Learn to say no. Let the person know if you do not have the time, the energy or desire to do something.
- Make a list of chores and group similar ones together to save time.
- Hire a helping hand. A housekeeper, caregiver or pet sitter can give you some much needed time even if just once a week. Respite services can help if you are caregiver to a person with an illness that requires your daily help.
- Delegate tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Create a help sharing group with members of your family, support group, religious community, or neighbors.
- De-clutter your stuff. Think about what you need and what you want in your life. If you have not used an item in over a year you may not need it. Get rid of what you don’t need and think twice before you bring more stuff into your life.
- Live within your financial means. Debt increases stress and actually causes health problems. Give yourself an allowance and stick with it. Ask yourself if you really need that costly item. Focus on events and activities of high quality but simple to achieve such as one can get being close to nature.
- Use online services and delivery when possible such as online banking, grocery ordering and delivering, and shopping.
- Turn it off- the TV, internet or cell phone that is. Find a moment to enjoy the silence, a cup of tea, the sunset or simple conversation with another.
- Remove clutter form home and open up the space. Simplicity in design including less clutter touches of nature help calm the mind. Less room clutter can also help walking and freezing problems.
- Find a moment- even if just a few minutes- for yourself for quiet reflection, gratitude, relaxation or rest.
- Organize your medical care (see Be prepared). Use a binder as convenient way to file improtant medical information and instructions.
- Simplify your medicines. An occupational therapist can help you organize your medication regimen. Consider ordering your medicines by mail to arrive every 3 months rather than monthly trips to the pharmacy.
Author: Monique Giroux, MD