How To: Live a Life Less Stressed

We’ve all been there. That day when your alarm doesn’t go off, your hot water runs out mid-wash, your breakfast toast is burnt, the car won’t start, you break your heel, you spill your coffee down your new shirt, the interview was a train-wreck, work was mega hectic or the biggest drag, yada, yada. I’ve certainly had my fair share of these and many more.

So, let me introduce to you some hacks and tips to make your days just a little bit easier, and i’m going to begin with my personal favourite:

– Power Posing

I’m sure you’re all aware by now that standing in a superhero/power pose (I prefer hands-on-hips rather than the classic Superman) for a few minutes increases testosterone and lowers cortisol, making you feel less stressed and more in control. If you’re like me and your posture is habitually slumped and hunched (yes, I know, I’m working on it), then this really does make a difference. If your normal posture is already fine still try out the power posing, because if nothing else, it’s a few minutes of fun.

– Make Lists

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I have lists coming out of my ears; I even have lists of previous lists i’ve made, and I get a bit crazy-eyed when a colleague takes my post-it notes, but it’s just because I find them so useful. My suggestion would be to make a concise list in the morning of all the things you need to do that day (and then smile with smug satisfaction as you cross things off).

BUT, try and refrain from making lists on the weekend. Draw the line between work life and home life. Have a relaxed attitude on your days off and you won’t feel the pressure of a looming list of things-to-do when all you actually want to do is sleep, eat, drink and sleep some more.

– Ask for Help

If there’s a problem that you’re stuck with, it is important to communicate with those who might be able to help you (managers, colleagues, friends, family, even the internet should have something). Above anything else, it saves precious time that you can use to implement the solution or move onto your next priority.

– Stand Up

I don’t want to freak you out, but there have been studies and reports and scientific mumbo-jumbo that says sitting down all day could lead to serious illness. For those with office jobs, walking a lap of the office every hour will probably not go down so well with your managers. Instead, maybe now is the time to have a word with them about trialing some standing-desks? If they put the kibosh on that then use your lunchtime wisely; take a light / brisk walk, or if you’re feeling especially energetic, have a quick session at the gym if it’s close enough.

– Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind

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I’m not saying use an hour of your work time or skip lunch in favour of a spring-clean, but spending 10 minutes to clear the clutter can really help you feel more zen.

  • Try to be as paperless as possible (recycle that which you no longer require).
  • Only keep the basics: computer, phone… post-it notes.
  • Utilise the stationary cupboard so your desk isn’t weighed down with calculators, staplers, hole-punches, etc. Don’t be lazy, if you need something get up and go get it.

– Meditation

Not for everyone, but, you might find it quite refreshing and/or relaxing. You can spend 1 minute or 1 hour, you can do it at home or work or on the train, alone or with a group – there are so many different ways to enjoy this simple pleasure. If you struggle to zone-out from all the background noise, it might be best if you grab some headphones and download an app (the freebie ones are just as good) for some chill-out music or breathing exercises. Otherwise, just take a moment, close your eyes and let all the stress and worry float away.

– Be Early

There is a phrase that we quote here often: ‘Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable’. Giving yourself an extra 10-15 minutes is usually enough to counter traffic issues and give you a breather whilst you sit down and set up for the day. It also makes you look good in front of your manager. Two birds, one stone.

– Prep Yourself

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After you’ve dragged yourself upstairs, before you get into your bed (I know that it’s calling to you but just ignore it for a moment), get your outfit out for the next day. Or, pack your bag so you don’t forget that letter you have to post or that folder you need for the meeting tomorrow. You could even go one step further, prep your lunch and stick it in the fridge so you don’t have to worry about that either.

As a final point, Remember This

If it doesn’t get done there is always the next working day. Beating yourself up will drain your energy and motivation, instead, just breathe and put it in your day plan tomorrow.

(If there are any techniques or tips that i’ve not said but that you feel are super helpful for you, then feel free to leave a comment – I might make an additional list in the future and, who knows, you might get a mention!)

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