5 tips to simplify your day and reduce your stress levels

Category: News

Life over the last 18 months has been stressful and complicated. Sometimes, taking a step back can allow us to approach our problems from a different angle, and with a clear head.

You might have found this trickier since the world began to open up again. With restrictions lifting and your calendar filling up, you might feel out of touch, overwhelmed, and increasingly anxious about life out of lockdown.

From to-do lists to morning mindfulness, here are five easy ways to simplify your day and reduce stress.

1. Make to-do lists and keep on top of them

To-do lists are simple and easy to make but often harder to keep on top of. When was the last time you actually ticked items off throughout the day?

Be sure to keep the list itself, or reminders, in sight at all times. Hang notes from the knob of your office door, stick fluorescent post-its around your monitor or attach a widget to your smartphone lock screen.

The constant visual reminder of your goals will help you maintain focus. And the simple act of jotting down an end goal can help you to visualise its attainment. Each time you tick something off, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.

2. Limit your choices

Struggling with decision-making is normal and it can be even trickier when you’re already under pressure.

GCF Global discuss the concept of “choice overload.” If you have too many choices it is possible to become overwhelmed, and this can lead to you being unable to decide at all.

You might also suffer from “decision fatigue”. This is caused by making multiple decisions one after another.

Choice overload and decision fatigue can add to your stress. There are plenty of ways to reduce the number of choices you make in your day-to-day life and to make choosing easier.

Planning your food for the week can limit daily decisions and selecting weekend activities from within specific categories can give you less choice even as you retain the freedom to choose. Taking less time on smaller decisions also frees you up to spend more time and energy on the really important ones.

3. Form good habits

The concept of “good” habits might be subjective, but they only need to work for you.

While your morning routine might look different to your partner’s, having a set schedule in place and making it a habit is a great way to prepare you for the day ahead. A morning routine also helps with timekeeping, further reducing undue stress.

Another daily routine to make into a habit is to actively concentrate on smiling and thinking positively.

The Independent recently reported that smiling can make you happier. It also states that frowning can make you feel sadder, and scowling can make you feel angrier.

Positive thinking can help you deal with negativity and make finding the positives in negative situations easier. Maybe you’ve been denied a promotion at work? Positive thinking might allow you to retain focus, making clearer a serendipitous opportunity elsewhere, possibly even one you might have missed had you focused on the negatives.

Wellbeing and mindfulness app, Headspace, suggest that counting your blessings can improve health, bolster happiness, and strengthen bonds with loved ones.

Build good habits into your routines – for better quality sleep, reading more, and finding time for yourself – are easy and valuable ways to simplify your day-to-day life.

4. Incorporate mindfulness into your day

The widespread availability of the internet, social media, and other forms of entertainment have shortened attention spans and increased procrastination. Mindfulness could be your key to staying focused and using your time effectively and efficiently.

Mindfulness is the ability to remain present and aware of yourself and your surroundings, helping to ensure that you are fully focused on the task at hand.

Mindfulness can be achieved through meditation and relaxation and there are plenty of apps out there for both newcomers and experts – you might try Calm or Headspace.

Taking short breaks to meditate can help you regain focus, listening to calming music or soundscapes can help you relax, and breathing exercises can help you re-centre.

5. Figure out what reduces your stress levels

Everyone is different so what works to de-stress and simplify your day might not have the same effect on someone else. Long-term, you’ll need to think about what it is that helps you to relax.

Stress can affect both your mental and physical health. The NHS lists symptoms including difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, muscle tension, and chest pains.

They also list ways to help, including breathing exercises, getting fit, and planning ahead.

It might be making to-do lists or limiting your choices. Maybe mindfulness is the best way for you to relax and refocus.

Find out what works for you and make it a habit.