We've all been there at some point. We try to juggle multiple demands related to home, work, relationships, hobbies - only to collapse in a puddle of self-judgment and shame when we fail. The anxiety and fear of failing hits us hard, and we find ourselves struggling to maintain rational judgment to accomplish...well...anything. Additionally, experiencing chronic stress over a long period of time can have significant physical health effects.
Stress and anxiety can be crippling, especially when they bring us to a place where we feel like we completely lack control over our circumstances. But the truth is we do have control. However, it takes time and intentionality to be able to make it work. So, here are a few tips to tackle the dreaded duo.
Keep an organized space
If your physical space is cluttered, your mind is likely to be cluttered as well. That's because you will be using a lot of mental energy trying to find what you need and make sense of the mess. The anxiety associated with doing this is enough to cause strain on your mental capacity to cope with the task at hand. So before trying to tackle that task, get organized.
Develop a routine and maintain a schedule
Anxiety increases with the level of unpredictability. Therefore, to decrease your anxiety, reduce uncertainty by creating daily routines. It helps when you are aware of where you need to be at what time, and what you should be doing. Of course, there can be room made for the unexpected, but imagine if your entire day was about tackling unexpected events. You're likely to feel unprepared and unfulfilled. Increase your sense of accomplishment and reduce the stress by maintaining a daily/weekly schedule that involves routine.
Write things down
It's time to admit it: you won't remember everything. It actually takes more brainwork to try to remember things (lists, schedules, tasks, etc) than to simply write them down so that you're able to refer to and recall them when necessary. It's a small gesture, but it takes away so much stress. Write it down!
Do one thing at a time
Our society praises multitasking, but in reality it is actually counterproductive. The quality of your work is likely to decline when you multitask. Also, you create little space for creativity and clarity in your mind when it is cluttered with activity. Doing one thing at a time will help relieve the stress of managing multiple competing tasks all at once, while improving the quality of your output.
Maintain healthy boundaries with your time
A schedule is only as effective as your commitment to maintaining it. Protect your time effectively by refraining from over/double-booking, or being lax with your commitments. Prioritize effectively, and only make adjustments if absolutely necessary. By respecting your own time, others will learn to respect it too.
Although individualism and independence are admirable, there is immense value in asking for help. You may be more effective in managing your workload when you are able to delegate effectively, therefore reducing the stress and anxiety that may be associated with deadlines and incomplete tasks. Many tend to view this as a sign of weakness, but knowing your limitations, and the value of the input of others is critical to managing stress well.
Have realistic expectations
Set your expectations based on your strengths, limitations, and available resources. If you set expectations outside of what you can reasonably attain, you are likely to experience self-imposed anxiety. Although setting high goals for oneself may be a good thing, it is unreasonable to set yourself up for failure. For goals that are set outside of your control, work on accomplishing that which you can, while building the skills and gathering the resources to achieve others later. For more tips on achieving your goals, click here.
If you would like to discuss your therapeutic needs, and would like to explore the possibility of starting therapy, feel free to contact me by calling 416-688-5274, or by booking a free initial consult at heartspringtherapy.ca/book-online.