The first week of August is “National Simplify Your Life Week” and while I think our society has way too many phony holidays, the meaning of the week is important. Our culture is one where over scheduling and lack of relaxation are glorified. Many of us fall victim the idea that a full life means a busy schedule. The typical American’s on-again-off-again relationship with stress could be the most toxic love affair ever told.
In between our careers, friendships, dating life, goals, aspirations, important decisions, over-booked calendars, and reality TV obsessions, life can get a little hectic. Each day seems to be moving at lighting speed and sometimes we can’t even remember where we put our keys. Stress, distraction, and exhaustion have become an expected part of our fast paced culture. While drive and self-motivation are good things, an overload can cause a burn out.
As a 20something trying to navigate the unknown waters of adult life, it can often feel like we have no control where the tide is pulling us. But ahoy matey do not fear, as a self-proclaimed stress expert (stresspert), I am here to tell you why you need to de-stress and the best ways to simplify.
1. Slow down
This may seem obvious, but so many of us refuse to do it. As most of us start entry level jobs and get an overload of work because of our bottom-of-the-totem-pole status, it’s important to set limits. Know when to go and when to say no! Sometimes adding another event to your calendar isn’t such a great idea. A little rest never hurt anyone and slowing down will help you to be mindful in your tasks and relationships. This is the perfect reason to close out your work email and curl up with a good book for a break!
2. Stop multitasking
To many of us, doing one thing at a time seems wasteful, but it’s been studied that multitasking is actually a myth. No two things can have your attention at once, unless it’s something automatic like chewing gum or walking. You actually waste time by multitasking because your attention takes time to switch gears. So, from now on, stop texting in your morning meetings!
This goes for mental and physical clutter. Too much going on in your brain can disrupt your focus and memory. It’s not a coincidence that you lose your keys or cell phone when you’re having a really hectic day. That goes for your stuff too. You are moving around a lot in your twenties, so if it doesn’t serve a purpose, don’t take it with you!
4. Reflect when you have uncertainty
Your twenties are full of uncertainties: am I at the right job? In the right city? With the right person? When you have those feelings, instead of letting them stress you out, take time to reflect on why you feel this way. Everyone doubts, but successful people learn to work through their doubts.
5. Ask yourself why
I ask myself this question a lot and it’s because I always want to stay purposeful in my actions. If you can’t explain why you’re doing something then maybe it’s time to take it off your schedule. If the why question can be answered, asking it is a great way to stay motivated and focused. In your twenties, if something isn’t enjoyable or helping you get where you need to be, it probably isn’t vital.
6. Realize where you’re focusing your efforts
Wherever you put your energy is where you’re going to succeed. Be mindful of where your focus is going each and every day.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others
With all the social media and connectivity it’s easy to compare yourself to who you think is more successful, having more fun, or living to the fullest. This is something that’s going to cause unnecessary stress and feelings of inadequacy in your life. Try to not compare yourself and instead take action to change the things in your life you are unhappy about.
8. Be grateful
Remember all the things that are really important in life and taking time to appreciate them. Doing this will help you realize what you really value in your life and where you’ve come.