10 Easy Tips to Take Stress Out of Your Day – staying on top of the little things!

the little things matter“To live in perpetual want of little things is a state, not indeed of torture, but of constant vexation.”

-Samuel Johnson

Have you noticed that you have given up (or lost track of) so many little things in your life that they have turned into a bunch of really big things that significantly add to your stress?

I did.

By making the effort to stay on top of the little things, you can keep the vexation to a minimum.

My story:  If you read my blog you will know I had my wake-up call at the end of 2011. The insidious nature of how things crept up on me left me depleted in every way possible.

The first step for me was to identify the problem.

The next step is where a lot of people go wrong… in order to move on and overcome that issue, you have to accept it and decide how you are going to deal with it.

Unfortunately, that’s where people get stuck.

Are you going to whine and complain about it? Are you going to give up and just say “This must be my new normal”? Or, are you going to say to yourself, “I see the problem and I am going to do something about it!”?

Once you get to a point of realization, whether it is a slow trickle of insight, an epiphany or a smack-in-your-face moment, you have to map out a game plan to fix it.

This is not the “normal” you are supposed to be living.

FACT: When you have a reasonable amount of energy, life feels a lot less stressful.

It may take time. For me, it took a lot of time. I am still working on it more than a year later, but I am getting there.

Here are the top 10 things I have done to take stress out of my day:

  1. Keep staples stocked up. Nothing is worse than running out of coffee or toilet paper when you need it the most.
  2. Never let your car’s gas tank get close to the “empty” level. Same goes for you! Refuel before it is needed. (See #8)
  3. Teach people to wait a reasonable turn for your time. First rule: Set an “away” message on your email.
  4. Put your keys away in the same place every time.
  5. Keep some cash on hand at all times.
  6. Batch your errands and group similar activities together.
  7. At a bare minimum, do these two things each day to keep overwhelm at bay.
  8. Wake up an hour earlier and dedicate that hour to your own needs. Do nothing for anyone but yourself during that time.
  9. Have at least one good friend on speed dial.
  10. Get the right things done instead of worrying about getting all the things done. Keep a simple to-do list.

Here are the things I am still working on:

  1. Learn to disappoint others.
  2. Start buying the things I need. My newest bra is 4 years old. My tennis shoes are 6 years old. Every sock I own is worn thin. “Making do” can only be done for so long.
  3. Invest more time in self care. I need to get better sleep! I need more bubble baths! I need to make my toes pretty!
  4. Cross more nagging things off my list of things to do. The more dreaded the task, the bigger the reward of momentum – but even taking care of something insignificant will give a boost.
  5. Make my health a top priority.
  6. Ask for help or outsource the things that stress me out the most.
  7. Let go of perfection. Who has time for perfect? Good enough is good enough.
  8. Invest in my mind: Read more. Write more. Give myself time to think.

How I plan to accomplish these things:

  • Write it down
  • Schedule it
  • Do it when I can and BEFORE I have to

Sound off! What am I missing? What tip would you add to this list?

About The Author

Torrey Shannon

My name is Torrey Shannon and I am a writer, author, blogger, movie consultant, speaker, veteran's advocate and Blue Star Mom. I am also a full-time caregiver and spouse of a wounded warrior. My husband survived a gunshot wound to the head in a gunfight in Iraq in 2004 after serving in the Army for more than 23 years. We spent three years of his recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He has severe PTSD and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Dealing with the invisible wounds of war first-hand allows me to bring a human element to the problems our military communities face. Blogging gives me the chance to do what I love the most: write about life after combat and help create awareness and solutions for military members and their families. When I am not writing here, I freelance for a variety of publications and media outlets and am currently writing a book.