Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed, we immediately think about what we could drop from our schedule. Do I have to clean the house today? Can I skip that meeting? Maybe I won’t go to the gym this afternoon. Unfortunately, deleting things from our to-do list often doesn’t result in us feeling less stressed. Instead, we can get to the end of the day and the house still needs to be cleaned and we can wish we’d been to the gym.
Paradoxically, the key to reducing stress levels is often adding something to your day – not taking things away. Just make sure that what you add is pleasant or good for you. Consider adding one of the following activities to your already busy day:
- Getting up 20 minutes earlier for a quick walk
- Having a 15 minute head and shoulder massage
- Sitting in the sun for 10 minutes
- Leaving your desk to get some fresh air at least once during the day
- Having a 10 minute phone call with that friend you miss
- Playing with your kids for 15 minutes
- Parking your car next to some water for 10 minutes before heading home
- Reading a magazine or book for 20 minutes
- Sitting down to watch the news
- Meditating for 20 minutes
These quick stress relievers give us the energy to keep going and can help us feel less overwhelmed.