These last couple weeks have been crazy. I just keep telling myself that it will be better once finals are over, or it will be better when my cold goes away, or when Ben's new job starts, ect. . But one thing I have realized is... THERE WILL ALWAYS BE STRESS. And eliminating a stress doesn't prevent a new one from arising. So, I have decided to focus less on a day in the future when everything will be easy, because there is no such day! Instead I want to try and focus on how to make every day more enjoyable regardless of the stress going on in life.
1. Get exercise! At LEAST once a week get some kind of exercise Whether it is taking a jog, going to the gym, or doing sit ups during the commercials of your favorite show... get moving! I'm not saying you need a structures fitness plan in order to be happy, but it is important to have activity focused on you! So find some kind of physical activity you enjoy and do it! You always ALWAYS feel better after working out, regardless of the intensity. It will give you the energy to keep up with the stresses of life and starting small with something like once a week will help you to work it in to your routine so you can increase the time you spend getting fit! After all, as Legally Blonde taught us.... "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." :)
2. Pick up at the end of every day! One of my biggest stresses is the cleanliness of our apartment. It is so easy to let things pile up. The 10 outfits I try on every day before leaving for work, dishes, Boss's toys, Homework, craft projects. It can get messy! So I've tried to take 15 minutes at the end of every night and just pick up. You dont have to deep clean everything every day. But taking a few minutes to clean up with help keep on top of it all. So when you do have time to clean, it doesnt take hours and hours. There is no better feeling than going to bed knowing you arent going to wake up and see a pile of laundry first thing in the morning. Not many things can start my day off worse than tripping over a pile of textbooks or not having a clean bowl for my cereal. It is worth the 15 minutes every night.
3. Declutter your life! This goes along with #2, but I think it deserves its own subject. I'm not talking about just organizing your bookshelves, although that is helpful. I am talking about literally throwing out things you don't need. Emotionally and physically. It is just as important to have an organized mind as it is to have a organized closet. When you feel overwhelmed, make a list of all your obligations, prioritize them, and eliminate a few. I promise taking a few things off your plate will make your life so much easier. You may thing that not accomplishing everything you want to will be disappointing or make you a failure somehow. But it is better to do a few things well than have everything drop because you were trying to do too much. YOU CAN'T DO EVERYTHING. that is the truest and hardest advice I've ever received. But it is work it.
4. Serve Someone! I don't care who you are, where you come from, or what you believe... Service is a universal way to add joy to your life. It helps you to love yourself and others. It is as simple as opening a door for someone, offering to watch a neighbors kids while they go on a date, or writing a quick note of appreciation. Focus less on your own struggles and stress and take a few minutes to truly focus on helping another, and I promise your stress will seem much much much lighter.
5. This is the most important but sometimes the hardest thing. SMILE. Smile when you want to cry. Smile when you want to get angry. Smile when you feel like everything is just too much. Smiling at others is important. But we need to remember to smile at ourselves. For one week, try to smile at yourself. In the mirror when you are done brushing your teeth. In the car when you are making your list of things to do that day. Just try and smile at yourself for a few minutes each day. Think of reasons you are smiling. Maybe you were on time for work, maybe you have someone who cares about you, maybe you finished all your homework. whatever the reason, tell yourself why you are smiling and you will find yourself smiling a lot more throughout your daily life.
To help organize your life, here is a planner page I designed to help me stay on track. Print it out for each day of the week and take some time each morning and night to get ready for the day ahead of you! Click the picture to download. :)
Enjoy and stay happy!