Recently, I realized that in addition to feeling over-burdened at work, I also felt over-burdened by bags.
I am usually carrying around up to five different bags: a purse, a gym bag, a lunch bag, an over-night bag (for when I stay at my family’s home) and a laptop bag. One day, after I dropped two of them when I slipped on ice, I began to wonder why I was lugging around so much stuff! Generally, I have a nasty habit of over-thinking and over-complicating things in my life. Surely this was another example. There had to be a way I could make things easier for myself!
So, I purchased a new duffel bag that has successfully managed to cover off four of the above (I still have the purse!). As expected, my life became simpler with this small, and seemingly insignificant, change. And it got me thinking….
Were there other ways I was over-complicating my life and making things unnecessarily stressful? Were there other parts of my life that were draining my energy without me even realizing it? Of course!
We all find ourselves feeling weighed down at various points in our life. We feel over-taxed, over-burdened and over-used. But how much of this stress is self-created? What is self-created stress? I believe self-created stress happens when we do one or all of the following:
- Placing unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect;
- Absorbing other people’s problems and issues;
- Not taking enough time for ourselves;
- Acting ‘voice-less’ and not stating what we need to help ourselves;
- Carrying around baggage – whether emotional baggage, or as in my case, actual bags!
Can you think of other self-created stresses? The first step is to identify them. Then, try my three-step plan for dealing with self-created stress:
1.) Condense: Sometimes you can’t avoid stressful situations, but is there a way you can minimize or condense it so it will be less stressful? (just as I did with my bags). For example, exercise is a great way to minimize stress!
2.) Eliminate: Examine where your energy is going. Is your energy, and thus time, wasted on worrying about what others think or trying to meet others expectations? If you think you are wasting energy on something, eliminate it!
3.) Re-Evaluate: Is the stress even warranted? Is the issue somebody else’s problem? Is the stress coming from taking on an issue that is ultimately out of your control? Critically examine the source of the stress and decide whether or not it is really something for you to be stressed about.
And finally, remember the golden rule: take care of yourself and you’ll take care of your stress!