Ever have a friend who obsessively counts down to weekends, vacations, holidays and huge life events? And in the same breath, she tells you that she “feels so old” or “can’t believe she is almost the big 3-0.” Not too long ago I started realize the power of this habit — counting down — and its negative implications. If you’re always counting down to something, then how can you ever possibly live in the present moment?
This anxiety-inducing habit creates false stress and a sense that time is moving way, way too fast. Rather than constantly focus on what’s ahead, this challenge is all about focusing on the here and the now — to make each day more manageable and positive by eliminating these created feelings of “stress” and exhaustion. Start out with a short-term challenge, such as eliminating counting down to Friday (like many 9-to-5ers tend to do).
Remind yourself that right now, it’s NOW. It’s not next Monday, or June 1, or Christmas. Cut yourself some slack and take time to enjoy this exact moment no matter where you are. Eliminate thoughts about later today, tomorrow, next week, month, year…. you’ll find that you are much more relaxed and willing to just let be what may be.
Here are a few tips for staying on track throughout the week but not obsessing
over “when” and “how.”
- Take a few minutes in the morning to write one list of the things you would like to accomplish at some point during the day. Don’t worry about when, or in what order, or the details, just make a simple list. This way you aren’t spending the entire day creating more things that you have to do, and you can relax knowing that you already have an idea.
- Instead of spending each task thinking about when the next one will get done, or when there will be time to do the 17 other things you “need” to finish, enjoy what you’re doing. You have to clean the apartment? Put on a good playlist to help you relax and not loathe every second of scrubbing the floor or vacuuming, or whatever it is.
- Live by each moment of the day, and not be each second, minute, or hour. Stop thinking about days and weeks in terms of time limits. Instead, focus on the moments. The moment that you woke up to a sunrise. The moment that you called your best friend. The moment that you checked something off your to-do list. It makes a big difference.
- Lastly, cut yourself some slack. Does it really matter that you didn’t finish cleaning? Is it the end of the world that you didn’t run all of your errands? Life is still happening – regardless of if you’re stressed to the max about this and that, so you might as well relax, and enjoy it for what it is.
How about you? Any tips that you have for getting your “to-do’s” done or eliminating stressful feelings in your life?
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