We are so busy! There’s always something happening: we’re at work, we’re out with friends, a sibling’s birthday. Hell, many of us even have a side job in addition to our regular ones. The constant hustle and culture of busyness create stress in our lives and without reigning it in, can cause burnout. And when we’re so busy, we neglect the most important person in our lives: ourselves.
Take a step back from what you’re doing and schedule a little time for yourself. I promise you’ll feel better for it.
I don’t mean yoga, I mean balance your plate. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can do wonders for your stress levels. The right proportions of protein, carbs, and fats help power our bodies more efficiently.
Ensure you’re staying balanced by tracking your food with an app like MyFitnessPal by Under Armour. Even the free account lets you tailor your macro (protein, carb, and fat) percentages for what your body needs. It’s also full of delicious healthy recipes when you’re short on inspiration. It doesn’t have to be about eating right or losing weight, it’s about making sure our bodies are getting the right fuel to keep them running well.
Sleep is the single biggest thing we can do to decrease our stress levels. When you have so much going on, it’s easy to skimp on the sleep.
I’ll just stay up a little later to get this finished.
Read a book, write in a journal, or meditate before bed to reduce that blue-light exposure. Pay closer attention to the signals your body sends and go to sleep when you feel tired instead of pushing through to get something done. It’ll still be there in the morning.
Find an activity that helps reduce your stress levels and add it into your schedule. Some people love yoga and make it a point to attend a class or two each week. Me, I love a bubble bath with a book or getting a massage. It doesn’t have to be much if you’re engaging in the activity regularly. Whatever it is, disengage from the things that are causing you stress while doing it. Your yoga class won’t be effective if you’re worried about work the whole time.
Say No — And Say Yes
Say no to taking on more things that will lead to more stress. Don’t take on the extra project that’ll cause overtime hours, don’t babysit for your friends, say no to the family gathering if you have to. It’s important to protect yourself and your energy when you need to.
Alternatively, say yes to more things that lower your stress. Spend more time around the friends and family that make you feel good, the ones that make you forget about the job stress. And if saying yes to those people means saying no to something stressful, so be it.
But what if you just can’t let go? What if you can’t relax or find the time for that yoga class or to get a nice massage? Then make the best of the time you do have.
Lean into morning and evening routines. Start the day with the tone you want for your whole day. Me, I start the day by having a cup of coffee and writing. And in the evening, do the things that’ll make your morning easier. Set out your clothes, pack lunch, etc. And then engage in an activity, no matter how brief, that’ll set the tone for sleep (like journaling or meditating).
Stress relief starts with you. By taking the time to remind ourselves how important we (and the body that does all the work) are, we combat stress and burnout even while still hustling.