In a world where we’re commonly told to not sweat the small stuff, it can sometimes be hard to differentiate the setbacks that matter from the mishaps that don’t. Whether it’s how you’re dwelling on having to pay a parking ticket on the same day that your rent is due (yes, this can really happen) or how you’re wondering why that guy from your last date isn’t texting you back, these minuscule obstacles in your daily life can easily become the reasons for why you’re struggling to focus on the more important parts of it.
Although overlooking these setbacks is easier said than done, your attempt to do so is a smart approach to controlling your stress and conquering your day. By not letting random unfortunate events affect your mood, you’ll be able to recognize the good in your everyday routine — instead of the obstacles that you believe are ruining it. So the next time you feel overwhelmed by the various worries in your life (and the negative feelings that come with them), here are five ways to deal with these everyday stressors.
1. Prioritize your tasks
With two work reports to submit, a freelance project to finish, and a surprise birthday party to throw, your to-do list is endless — and so is the dread you feel when you think about accomplishing everything on it. Even though you can’t necessarily predict every aspect of your life, you can learn to plan for them by prioritizing accordingly. Through choosing to accomplish your tasks based off urgency and splitting the work into realistic steps, you’ll have the opportunity to stay ahead while remaining calm in the process.
- Identify the order you’re going to do the tasks (hint: if urgency isn’t an issue, start with the task you want to do least)
- Create a realistic schedule — and stick to it
- Break down the tasks and don’t feel guilty for not crossing everything off your list at once
2. Make time for your hobbies
There’s no better way to overcome the stressful parts of your day like investing in the activities that remind you of why you’re grateful for your life. Whether it’s taking a run on your favorite trail in your neighborhood or reading a book on your cozy couch in your studio (#adulting), your decision to take a break from the chaos of your schedule might be exactly what you need to feed your passion and rest your mind.
- Dedicate specific days and times for your hobby
- Enjoy your hobby by signing up for a class or becoming a coach
- Surround yourself with people who share your same hobbies and keep each other accountable
3. Avoid self-blame
Amongst the many positive things you do in your life, the way you treat yourself should always be one of them — yet sometimes that isn’t what happens. Maybe it’s the fact that you were in a rush this morning and forgot your lunch, or maybe it’s the reality that you didn’t charge your phone last night and watched it die in the middle of sending an email — nonetheless, your initial reaction is to not only blame yourself, but to believe your worth is tied to these mistakes.
While it’s normal to have an ideal version of what you want the events in your life to look like, it’s unfair to hold yourself to these unrealistic standards. After all, blaming yourself for little mistakes isn’t healthy, and your inability to meet perfection is just proof that you’re human.
- Realize the difference between taking responsibility and taking blame
- Create a habit of writing down at least three things you like about yourself and remind yourself of these things when you feel the self-blaming begin
- Discover the underlying reason for your self-blame and focus on overcoming it
4. Be flexible
Along with not allowing these disappointing moments to determine your abilities, it’s also crucial to recognize that your reaction to everyday stressors could be due to your wish to have control over the situation. Remember — even though it’s great to stand your ground, it can also be beneficial to learn to compromise. So your air conditioning broke on the only day you work from home? It’s okay, you can (finally) go to that new coffee shop across the street while it gets fixed. Oh — and you didn’t get to ship your package out this morning because you woke up late? No problem, you can walk to the postal office and enjoy the warm weather instead.
While it’s up to you to decide which option works best for you, your general ability to accommodate to the situation at hand is one that will help you move forward in your day instead of fall behind due to the small change of events.
- Mentally prepare different options for if (or when) your plan doesn’t work out as hoped
- Be honest with your boundaries on what you’re willing to compromise on
- Recognize the positive benefits that can come from change
5. Seek comfort in loved ones
When in doubt — call your mom (or pretty much anyone who loves you as much as you love yourself). From venting about how the wrong rug was shipped to your address (ugh) to complaining about how you lost your driver’s license and have to wait for a new one, the genuine act of reaching out to loved ones will give you the chance to release tension, seek advice, and overall feel better.
- Make a habit out of calling your loved ones
- Optimize your phone time by not having any distractions — give them your full attention
- Use different outlets to communicate (social media, email, etc.)