Let’s talk about that. Letting go is something that we rarely do. Instead, we burn the candle at both ends. Whether it’s taking on more at work; holding down the fort at home without support; volunteering; traveling ~ our plates are full! We can realize how stressed we are feeling, but what do we actually DO about it? Our body can “go-through-the-motions” of letting go, but rarely do we truly RELAX without mentally working on something in our minds ~ something on our “To Do” list; on our Too-Full plates!
The KEYS to Letting go of Stress are.
- Recognize where the stress is coming from and take action to alleviate it.
- Take Action. Write down your three or four top priorities in your life. Then make sure everything you’re spending your time on serves them. And before you take on something new, check it against this list. If it doesn’t help you work toward your priorities, don’t do it. Don’t allow guilt to determine your actions. Walk in the path that you truly KNOW to be appointed and anointed by God.
- Spend quality time each morning “filling your cup” not just with java or hot tea, but filling your spirit with inspirational readings. I start with God’s Word. I take the quiet moments in the early morning where I can check in with my dreams and desires.
- Take time to exercise. I feel beautiful when I take care of myself – inside and out. For me, this means getting enough fun and challenging exercise, and at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Get Organized. I’m focusing on organizational efficiencies, so I know where everything I need is with either a few clicks of the mouse, or a few steps in my house. This not only saves me time, but clutter in the house ~ is clutter in the brain. Learn to carry a notebook around with you for 3 days and capture everything you do and how long it takes you to do it – no cheating! This will help you uncover what’s derailing your productivity and stealing time from your top priorities and all the things you love. Once you’ve identified what’s sucking your time, you can then start make efforts toward making the most of the time you have.
- Destroy the Distractions. One thing I’ve learned is that the busier I get, the easier it is for me to get distracted. Once that happens, I start feeling like a pinball, bouncing from one task to another, which increases my stress and decreases my productivity. I have to stay vigilant against the things that can derail my focus. And since I work from home, my “office” is chock full of would-be distractions! I’ve had to learn to carve out sacred time on my daily schedule for things that must get done – whether it’s work, working out, sleep and time with my family. Instead of answering every bloody email and call the minute it comes in, I have set times for responding, which preserves the uninterrupted time I need to accomplish things that require full concentration. Although the immediacy of email is gratifying, and a phone call can be a welcome excuse from difficult tasks, the reality is that most calls and emails can wait. And I’ve had to learn to ignore a full laundry basket and the new baby gift that hasn’t been sent, until I’ve accomplished the other things that serve my top priorities.
- Delegate. I recently delegated a team training to another leader in my organization. I gave a project to my virtual assistant that I was SURE only I could finish, and I just said NO to a deadline that I previously felt was month-end driven. Letting go of these three things made such a difference, I actually had time to read a chapter in my latest best seller before I went to sleep.
- Letting GO feels good. Doing it with integrity feels great. Each and every call I make to “let go” is greeted with understanding and support from others willing to help me. Conversations with people willing to help me relieves a lot of stress as well.
- Get in the habit of setting your priorities, getting rid of time suckers and eliminating distractions now, you’ll be able to reduce stress and fit in more of the things you want to do throughout the rest of the year. And that’s how you’ll get closer to designing the life you’ll really love.