Almost daily I come across an article about stress, the insidious impact it has on our health, and how to reduce stress in our lives. I’m on board with the concept, but sometimes I find the “solutions” rather stress-inducing themselves, as they often require an investment of time, space or energy that I just don’t have now. While a lot of stress is born out of the choices we make, sometimes there are stressors in our lives that we just have to ride along with and make the best of. It’s not possible to live a stress-free life, at least not for most of us. There will always be something outside of our control (health issues, family squabbles, jerk bosses, broken appliances, traffic) that require our attention, but I’m trying to identify those little, daily, control-able annoyances that also pile up in the mental/emotional inbox, and get rid of them so I can focus on the important stuff.
Morning schedule. Over the last few months, I’ve been feeling totally frazzled by the time I leave for work in the morning, between getting myself ready, preparing our son’s medication and breakfast, getting his lunch packed and backpack ready for school, feeding and walking dogs, preparing something for us for breakfast, making our lunches, and checking personal and work email. I mentally group these tasks into 30 minute blocks to stay on schedule. Lately I’ve found that just by switching two of the blocks I feel much more ahead of the train and SO much less stressed in the mornings. Lesson: don’t be afraid to tinker with established routines.
Hair. While I do really like how it looks now in this longer style, my hair is very fine, thin and wispy and always seems to be falling in my face. This not only itches but also impairs my vision when doing any tasks that require looking down (even if I tuck the front bits behind my ears). I’ve given myself a few months to adjust but feel as though I’m constantly annoyed by this, not to mention having developed a habit of cocking my head to the side to keep the hair out of my vision. Headbands and/or clips just seem like another layer of complication and I’m not willing to lacquer it into a helmet of submission. So I’m going to get it cut in a few days, and will probably go back to a style that’s a little shorter and more layered. Lesson: sometimes form has to take a back seat to function.
Dogs. While I love our morning walk (a bit of quiet time for me), one of the dogs, Byron, is a bit headstrong and flighty on the leash. He pulls, he darts from side to side (sometimes almost tripping me if I’m not paying attention), and eats random bits of plant and other junk off the sidewalk. I’ve put him back on the “Gentle Leader” headpiece, and it’s a world of difference. Seems to calm him down quite a bit too. Lesson: an extra few seconds of preparation can save a lot of aggravation.
Have you made any small changes lately to simplify your life and reduce your stress levels?
Walk the dog in style…
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