Recently the accumulated weight of things on my to do list reached critical mass and my stress alert went off.
The imminence of a trip to Australia may have been the tipping point. Or my elderly mother’s care agency finally, and suddenly, finding a live-in carer who was available to move in pretty much straight away – once I’d furnished the room with all the necessary items…
In fact there were so many things I needed to do before the trip, I kept forgetting them. I needed some stress reduction strategies and help getting organised!
First of all I downloaded a productivity app to help me keep track of the things I couldn’t afford to forget.
I quickly discovered there were pros and cons to this particular strategy. An obvious benefit is recording a task so it’s captured and won’t be forgotten, which means less stress. This can also be a disadvantage, however, since the app proceeds to remind me – a lot – that I haven’t done whatever it is and makes me feel even more guilty and stressed. (I know, I know, I should just do it…but I’m too busy worrying about all the other things I haven’t done – I’m a procrastinator!)
Another con is that I’ve quickly become addicted to ticking off completed tasks, so sometimes find myself adding things I’ve already done just so I can tick them off and feel smug.
One big advantage of the app is the ability to link tasks to long term goals which means – if I do this properly – I’ll be prompted to take the steps I need to take towards significant goals consistently, and not just tick off the myriad short-term tasks. It’s the old distinction between urgent and important.
In addition to the productivity app, I stepped up my mindfulness practice to help lower my stress levels. I’m still very much a beginner and find my mind wandering to things I should be doing rather than sitting trying not get caught up in my thoughts… There have been a few sessions, though, when I’ve felt so calm and peaceful. I’m hoping that with practice this state will be easier to reach more of the time.
Forward wind several days. I’m in Australia enjoying the bright light, blue sea and occasional torrential downpour. Don’t hate me. The stress feels a million miles away.
I appreciate that flying to the other side of the world is one of those stress reduction strategies available only to a fortunate few. But as one of the lucky ones, I can confirm it works…
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