5 Stressful Aspects of Your Life That Need Addressing Immediately

How to make them work for you.

Max Phillips
Sep 15 · 5 min read
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Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

I get stressed, you get stressed, everyone gets stressed.

Stress is everywhere. It is a cause and a consequence of so much that we do: work, relationships, hobbies, all of it. You get stressed because of it, which makes the task more stressful. It’s a vicious cycle.

Although these are the most obvious things, some more obscure ones create unnecessary issues. Let’s find out what they are.


To-Do List

The list we base our lives on. I recently got into writing one, and it is helpful to have your day predetermined. Of course, a to-do list can’t account for the unexpected, but having a routine is good.

There is, however, an element of stress surrounding it. As soon as you wake up, your mind starts to think about what you have to do — putting yourself under immediate pressure.

Having one is a precursor to productivity. Inevitably, we are often setting ourselves up for disappointment. Sure, the 9–5 life is relatively predictable — during the week anyway — but if something happens and you don’t manage to complete your list, you might be triggering unnecessary stress.

How to apply this:

Set yourself some goals you are confident you’ll accomplish. I like to have three or four primary goals that I know aren’t difficult — go to the gym, write one article, edit some others.

This way, you are setting yourself up for accomplishment rather than disappointment from the moment you wake up.


Your Morning Routine

I’ve had some uncomfortable job interviews in the past. A common factor is the morning prior. I wake up early, struggle to find the right shoes, make breakfast and end up rushing out of the door, unnecessarily stressed.

If you want to have a good day, then you need to have a positive start. It’s why I believe your to-do list needs to be a bit friendlier.

A lot of the time, people make their morning routines harder for themselves than they need to. It doesn’t need to be that way.

How to apply this:

  1. Prepare everything you can the night before. I put my Weetabix in the bowl and leave it by the microwave and leave the necessary clothes in plain sight. It doesn’t save much time, but it predetermines your actions — making everything smooth and reducing the chances of stress.
  2. Get out of bed within five seconds of waking up. Mel Robbins made the ‘5-second rule’ famous, and for a good reason. When you hit the snooze button, you are merely delaying the inevitable and giving yourself less time to get ready. Count down from five, making sure you’re on your feet at the end.
  3. Get your morning playlist on. Couple this with some noise-cancelling headphones, and you’ll find yourself in a much happier mood. I didn’t realise making cereal at 7 am could be so enjoyable!

Your Evening Routine

Whereas you’ll find copious amounts of articles telling you how to fix your morning routine, as I have done, there isn’t as much on an evening one. Your evening routine can determine how well you sleep, which is shown to have a significant effect on your mental capacity.

The evening is often forgotten because you have done all of the critical parts of the day, so you may leave that part blank. That’s a mistake. All parts of your day can cause your stress if you don’t look at them correctly.

How to apply this:

  1. Don’t eat after 8 pm. I have often eaten at 8:30 and even 9 pm, and believe me when I say it disrupts your evening. I felt bloated and lethargic for a large part of the night. Give your food time to digest and settle before you sleep.
  2. Stop working/browsing at least half an hour before you sleep. Sometimes, I get carried away and end up writing until 11 pm. It’s no surprise when I can’t sleep — putting me on the back foot for the next day.

Top tip: Get some bed/TV backlighting. I’ve paired mine with a galaxy light, and it helps to set the mood for the evening. Not only that, but it’s also incredibly soothing and a calming place to be. Your bedroom is your sanctuary, don’t neglect it.


Your Good Habits (Working Out/Eating Healthy)

Good habits are more difficult to maintain than bad ones because the rewards are delayed, writes James Clear. You aren’t going to get immediate satisfaction out of eating a salad in your quest for a six-pack. You will if you eat a McDonalds.

To make your good habits stick, you need to make the rewards more immediate.

How to apply this:

Say you want to become healthier but don’t enjoy the gym. Instead of writing off the gym as a task you don’t like, pair it with something you do like, such as your favourite album. Only listen to it when you work out, and you’ll start to enjoy the gym too.


Your Productivity

I, like many others, am no stranger to stressing out about productivity. I often feel like I am not doing enough and punish myself for it. Here’s the thing, you aren’t beholden to the tasks you do each day, as I mentioned earlier.

Moreover, you shouldn’t feel guilty for not being productive when you have more free time on your hands. The illusion of free time stifles your productivity — you have so much spare time you don’t know what to do with it.

How to apply this:

Dr Brene Brown suggests writing down one thing you have completed today. She claims it helped her overcome perfectionism, and the same principles applied here too.

Seeing the task you have completed, no matter how small, written on paper can give you a much-needed boost of confidence and pride. You have accomplished something today, I guarantee it.


Final Thoughts

Stress isn’t the problem, how we view it is. If you get stressed about any of the above, use it to hone your focus. Stress boosts adrenaline, so try and see it in a more positive light.

Sure, it isn’t a nice feeling, but it doesn’t need to cripple you. Of course, these aspects of life are only small and won’t tackle the bigger ones I mentioned at the start of the article. But, if you make marginal gains in every aspect of your life, it will all come together and amount to something.


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Max Phillips

Written by

22 | Creativity & Productivity tips to help you push through the mud. Sign up to my email list to stay in touch = https://theultimatelife.club/maxphillips

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 120,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Max Phillips

Written by

22 | Creativity & Productivity tips to help you push through the mud. Sign up to my email list to stay in touch = https://theultimatelife.club/maxphillips

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 120,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

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