10 Tips for Practicing Simplicit​​y During Stressful Times

I told Tom today, “I feel like my body is working but my brain isn’t there with it.” Life has been…a lot lately. But, the funny thing is, I have been handling all of the ups and downs a lot better than I used to which got me to thinking, what tips do I have for others who are in the midst of stressful times? What can you do in times of grief or chaos? There are actually quite a few ways to practice simplicity during stressful times and naturally…they are pretty simple…

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Control what you can

Just like anything in life, it is so important to put the majority of your focus on the things that you can control in your life.

So often we face trials that are beyond our control and we choose to dwell on those things that we can’t do anything about.

It can be so hard to focus only on what we can control, especially during very stressful times. For example, during the loss of a loved one, you have very little control. Ask yourself what is one thing that you can manage? What is one thing that you do have some say in right now? Take control of that. Let all the rest go.

Take something off of your to-do list

If you are used to working, cleaning, cooking, shopping, helping with homework, volunteering and writing a book in your free time, it’s time to let go of some of those duties. At least for now.

Most of them you’ll probably still have to do, but trust me, there is some way that you can simplify them.

I used to be a make-everything-from-scratch mom. Anything without veggies was strictly off limits for my kiddos. Lately, as life has gotten more hectic, I have learned to embrace microwave rice, pre-made veggie soups and I even allowed the occasional mac-n-cheese dinner.

Whatever it is, whatever your usual schedule, when you are in survival mode, sometimes you just have to do just that…survive.

Do workouts that fit your mood

Workouts are great for boosting your mood. Chances are, you probably knew that. Instead of feeling obligated to the gym, try asking yourself what is a workout that you actually want to do?

Maybe you love running when you’re stressed, maybe you love slowing down with yoga or maybe all you can muster is a walk around the block.

Everyone is different and everyone will need to move differently when it comes to practicing simplicity during stressful times. The main thing is that you do your best to move and be active in healthy ways.

Great workout posts:

Don’t text and stress

Texting. Facebooking. Emailing. Any form of mass communication should be slowed down while you are going through stressful times.

Often times people are longing for connection so much that they will quickly turn to many of today’s fast communicating tools like Facebook or texting.

Turning to a source like Facebook during times of high stress to vent or complain about your situation or another person will only encourage others to help feed your fire.

Instead of turning to technology to connect with other people, try reaching out to one friend or family member that you feel will truly listen to you.

If you don’t feel like you have someone try attending a church service, AA meeting, a MOPS group…whatever your situation, seek to reach out to other people with actual face to face interaction.

During stressful times, there are simple ways that you can begin practicing simplicity. When life feels chaotic, these 10 methods can help slow you down.

Unplug

Since you’re already going to avoid over-texting or posting stressed-out Facebook statuses, why not just unplug all together?

In today’s day and age, it isn’t always easy to totally unplug and disconnect from the outside world. If you have a job or family that requires you to spend more time using electronics, at least designate a time during your day where you completely unplug.

Every night I unplug at 8pm. I turn my phone on airplane mode and don’t look at it until my alarm goes off the next morning.

Maybe unplugging means removing social media from your smart devices. It could mean it’s time to cancel your cable bill or turn off Netflix for a while. Find the areas where you may be wasting too much time in front of a screen and get creative about ways you can reduce that wasted time.

Focus more on self-care

Self-care should always be a top focus in your life, especially if you have other people that you are caring for on a daily basis.

Now, more than ever, during times of stress, it’s extra important to have a strong emphasis on self-care.

Practicing simplicity in self care:

  • Sleep in an extra 30 minutes
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Take a bath
  • Read a book
  • Practice mediation
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Designate 30 minutes to self-care each day
  • Spend time at the gym
  • Listen to a podcast

Whatever it is that brings you joy and refreshes your soul. Do that. If you don’t have 30 minutes of time each day to dedicate to yourself, then you’ve got to head back to the drawing board. Cut some more things out of your schedule in order to carve out time for yourself.

Don’t be afraid to say you need help

During my most recent stressful time, I practiced simplicity by flat out telling Tom I needed him to be stronger for me. I needed him to help me emotionally and mentally.

So many times, especially women, we tend to think we can just continue on and manage our stress on our own when in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The sad thing is, other people may know we are unhappy, and they want to help but don’t know how. Don’t be afraid to tell them.

It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. I mean, it would be easier to ask for help if it didn’t require a little courage, am I right?

Clean your space

There is seriously something magical about a clean house or even just a clean bedroom. In fact, many studies have shown how a tidy space can improve anxiety and depression.

I know, during stressful times it is not always easy to find the motivation to clean. My biggest life hack, no matter how difficult it may be in the moment, is to just make your bed.

The whole room might seem like too much and the rest of the house could feel absolutely crippling so just start with your bed. Every day. Muster up enough strength, take 1 minute and fold up your covers and fluff your pillows. I don’t know what it is, but I promise, it makes you feel better and eventually it just might encourage you to keep going.

During stressful times, there are simple ways that you can begin practicing simplicity. When life feels chaotic, these 10 methods can help slow you down.

Other tips for tidying up:

Don’t feed the sad

They say misery loves company and unfortunately, this is pretty true. That’s why I mentioned avoiding posting sob stories on Facebook. People will most likely help feed your misery when given the opportunity.

If you are feeling brokenhearted, give yourself one day to listen to sad music and watch movies that make you cry and then Girl, Wash Your Face.

I’m sorry…that came too naturally.

The moral of the story is, don’t sit in your sadness too long and don’t do things that prolong it. Practicing simplicity by slowing down and taking time for self care does not mean you get to give up forever. You get to slow down for a while so that you can bounce back and keep on moving.

Don’t deny the sad

Don’t feed your sadness, don’t dwell in it and don’t ignore it either. I feel like often times people fall into one of these two categories. They either want the whole world to hurt with them, or they want the whole world to believe they are okay.

Don’t be a hero. Don’t deny your stressful times to the world and especially don’t deny them to yourself.

I do this. All. the. time.

I start to show signs of mild depression. I’m tired more, have less motivation and all around begin to struggle and I think to myself, “Uh oh! I did it again. What stress am I surpressing this time?!”

Dig it up. Admit your stress and just cry it out. Keeping all of those emotions bottled up inside is not healthy. Practicing simplicity can be as simple as allowing yourself to cry alone in your shower. Often times that may be all your body really needs. It just needs to let it out.

What do you turn to in times of stress? Is there a bad habit that you know you tend to lean on? Have you found an awesome way to help yourself cope?

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