If you are feeling stressed in your life and are looking for an easy way to reduce stress, you are in the right place.
I had a life-changing revelation when I realized that my stress was coming from “too much”. Here in the UK, many of us are very lucky to live in a wealthy society where we have everything we need. In fact, we have more than we need. Because we have so much, we are constantly forced to make choices and are faced with endless decisions day in and day out.
Each small decision is no big deal.
what time do you get up. Which shampoo do you use? What flavor of coffee do you drink? What should I wear? Which news station should you watch? What should I eat for breakfast? What to take out of the freezer for dinner.
They’re all small little decisions, but each one takes up a little bit of brain space.
Some of these small decisions can bring you joy if you think about them. Personally, he likes to look through jars of pods and choose his morning coffee. But other decisions can be stressful.
So the real way to reduce stress is to simplify.
Here are 10 ways to simplify your life and stress less!
Declutter to stress less
If there’s one tip to reduce stress, it’s tidying up. Organize your home, wardrobe, phone, car, decisions, and mind.
A few years ago, I was constantly stressed and felt like my life was chaotic. I decided to take a job that would fly me to the other side of the world at a fraction of a second’s notice. Of course, it’s stressful and confusing, and it’s natural to feel this way. But you don’t have to and there are ways to reduce stress.
I was especially stressed when I was at home, the only place I wanted to feel peaceful and calm. I couldn’t find my things, couldn’t decide what to wear, and seemed to spend more time cleaning up than relaxing at home.
I too wanted to be one of those people whose home was clean, calm, and organized, but no matter how much I cleaned it up, it always felt cluttered. They say, “If you keep your house tidy, your mind will be tidy”, but I felt like my mind was just as disorganized as my house!
Then I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Yes, I was desperate! And yes, it’s a boring book, but wow, it changed my life! If you use Audible, I recommend listening to it on Audible rather than reading this. A little boring, but I learned a lot. I tried watching the Netflix series and it wasn’t that good.
After reading this book, I realized that people who are tidy are not “naturally tidy”, they just have less stuff.
Getting organized isn’t about buying extra storage to hide things you don’t need, it’s about getting rid of what you don’t need. Ah, that’s when the penny drops!
If you’re not sure what junk to get rid of, I highly recommend reading this book.
I also found it very interesting that when you reduce your “stuff,” you actually end up buying fewer things. I don’t want my house to be cluttered with junk again, so I choose carefully what I bring into the house. You also know exactly what you have and where it is, so you don’t end up buying twice.
This ties in nicely with decluttering, as a capsule wardrobe is basically just decluttering your wardrobe and stripping it down to the bare essentials. This limits your options and simplifies your morning, but fewer options actually means you end up wearing more clothes. You can look at all the clothes instead of reaching for the first one at the top of the draw. Everything you have will go well together, so you have even more options.
I have a whole blog post about capsule wardrobes that you can check out if you want to know more:
Why you need to create a capsule wardrobe
Have a junk cupboard/toy room/attic/hidden away storage
If you’re into decluttering or capsule wardrobes, I highly recommend creating some sort of hidden storage.
Decluttering involves selling or donating a lot of your belongings, and you may not be ready to get rid of them just yet.
Do you have a pair of sparkly 6-inch heels that you still love even though you haven’t worn them in 10 years? I don’t want to sell, but I’m not ready to let go. I’ve only used the soup maker once, but I might regret letting it go, right? Do you have a pair of gorgeous jeans that are too small, but that you’ll want to wear again someday? Send them to Aunt Doris’s charity shop That ugly teapot you feel so guilty about?
What I’m trying to say here is that it’s okay to hide things in your cupboard that you can’t completely get rid of!
When I first started decluttering, I put everything in storage boxes in the attic. I made a promise that if I didn’t receive any money within a year, I would donate all the money to a charity shop. And lo and behold, 12 months later I had forgotten all about it, but 2 years later I rediscovered it and donated it all without a second thought!
Decluttering can be scary, but if you have the safety net of hidden storage, you’re more likely to do it without mercy!
Routines + streamlining your decision making
Ask any productive ninja what their secret to productivity is and they’ll tell you it’s small, simple routines. By doing things on autopilot, you’ll never forget them and they won’t feel like a big deal.
You’ll realize how much simpler and stress-free weekdays can feel compared to weekends. Because our family’s weekdays follow a routine set by work time, school time, and bedtime. There are so many structured pillars to a day that it’s easy to form simple routines around these pillars.
This is an example of a boring mother’s routine, but when Sam leaves for work at 7:30am, I always run the washing machine. That means my clothes are finished by 8:30am so I can throw them in the dryer before taking the kids to school. When I get home from school run, it’s already finished so I fold it up. Simple. The laundry is finished. It doesn’t feel like a big deal, I don’t feel overwhelmed by laundry, and it doesn’t accumulate. I hardly even think about it! But when Sam doesn’t go to work for a few days (like during Christmas break), I always forget to put the laundry down and it feels like a hard, stressful chore.
If you want to create a new routine that will simplify your life, we recommend adding new tasks to your established routine. What I found very easy for me is to drink a glass of water every time I make a cup of tea. I drink a lot of tea, but I always forget to drink water, but now I have a routine of drinking a glass of water while waiting for the kettle to boil. I do it instinctively without thinking.
This is a very simple example, but you can start small and gradually increase.
Stress less by doing one thing a day
If you want to reduce stress in your life, stop stressing yourself too much!
I think this might be the best tip for simplifying your life. Because not only will you get more done and feel less stressed, but you’ll also feel really proud of yourself for accomplishing everything you set out to accomplish that day.
Instead of writing an incredibly long to-do list, just set one task per day.
My blogging task for the day is to write this blog post that’s it. Nothing more. With a billion things to do on his blog, he’s not going to get distracted by one thing and just write this article. There’s only one thing you need to do, and I’m confident you’ll get it done!
I tend to set one task for different areas of my life.
- my blog
- life manager
I find it much more manageable when I set myself one task for each of these areas and only do one task per day.
Batch cook once a week
If you want to simplify your evenings, I highly recommend batch cooking once or twice a week. Cooking a large meal doesn’t take much longer than preparing a single serving. That means you won’t have to cook it every night.
While some of us may find that cooking is a way to de-stress at the end of the day (or maybe we prefer takeout, in which case that’s not the case!), most of us don’t. You probably want to take some time off. Several times a week!
I love having a freezer full of family meals and knowing there’s always a delicious meal for everyone makes my day so much easier. Slow cooker meals are easiest to batch cook and require very little extra time.
You get an extra hour of time every night because you don’t have to cook and the cleanup is minimal. You can use this time to relax, take a walk, play in the garden, or, in many cases, play computer games with your children. This is actually a great way to de-stress!
Invest in the best
This recommendation can be difficult to follow, as it is difficult to know what is “best”. And how do you know which recommendations are trustworthy? But whenever possible, try to invest in what you can afford.
Whether you’re buying a new pair of shoes, a lawnmower or a new knife, invest in the best.
Yes, it will cost more, but it will be less stressful in the long run. It is less likely to break, so there are no hassles or extra costs for repairs. It’s also more likely to work as expected, making it a pleasure to use instead of the frustrating stress of trying to use a product that doesn’t work as well as it should!
Ask yourself, ‘What was stressful today?’
Sit down and think about what actually stresses you out in your daily life. We don’t have much time to think about it because it makes us feel uncomfortable, but if you spend those stressful moments brushing your teeth properly, you might be surprised at the real cause of your stress.
I used to get really stressed out about checking my email…which brings me to my next tip for reducing stress….
Empty your inbox to instantly stress less and be more productive
My inbox was the most stressful place on the planet. I had thousands of unopened emails and it felt like a flood that I would never be able to clear. Whenever I reply to an email, he always gets two replies. With the constant barrage of junk mail, I ended up taking the approach of “burying my head in the sand and hoping it goes away.” Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work!
And then I discovered something magical.
On January 2, 2018, I was looking through my emails and realized I couldn’t reply to them all, so I took drastic action.
I created a folder in my email titled “2017” and moved all of the previous year’s emails into this folder. I didn’t delete it, but I moved it from my inbox. You’ll find it if you search, and if someone sends you a follow-up email, you’ll probably still have the original email they sent.
I still had about 10 emails from this year, and amazingly, I suddenly felt so much lighter and less stressed. My inbox suddenly became more manageable. In fact, my inbox was so happy!
I immediately responded to these 10 emails and placed them in the appropriate folders, leaving my inbox empty empty!!
When I woke up the next morning, I had 10 new emails (along with a bunch of junk I deleted right away). I did the same thing again. Now, I set aside an hour two to three times a week to clear my inbox. I’m much more productive and don’t feel the same stress in my inbox.
Start a physical or creative hobby
What really helps reduce stress are hobbies that occupy your mind or require physical activity. If you can find one that requires both, it’s an absolute winner!
My physical and creative hobbies include:
Gardening – I just started building a vegetable garden and a large flower bed
SUP – Stand up paddleboarding uses physical strength and requires a lot of concentration, making it a great way to relieve stress!
Photography – Photography can be very creative and rewarding, and if you shoot outdoors it can be physical
Hiking/walking – the best way to relax after a busy day
Cooking and Baking – There’s a lot of creativity in cooking
Decorating – This hobby obviously has a shelf life (unless you have a huge house or friends to decorate!)
Planning a trip – Planning a trip takes a lot of creativity – especially if you’re like me and love tearing up travel magazines and pasting everything into folders!
Scrapbooking – Create a travel scrapbook or daily life scrapbook. It’s much nicer than a normal photo book. Where’s Mollie has great inspiration for her travel scrap book!
Diary – Not only is a diary great for looking back on, but it can also help you problem solve. If you’re just getting started with journaling, I highly recommend Helen Redfern’s e-book Journaling your Goals.
I hope this post helps you think about ways to reduce stress in your life and that you can reduce stress by simplifying things.