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Dr sasha nair

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3 ways to reduce stress without adding to your to-do list

I know that you know that meditation, exercise and self-care time should be great for stress relief.  But sometimes adding things on top of everything else can be a source of more stress and guilt!  So here are three ways to reduce stress working with what we’ve already got!

  1. Don’t let stressors lurk in the shadows…

Sometimes there can be a million things at the back of our minds quietly adding to our stress levels without us even noticing.  Sometimes we don’t even realise we are stressed and then wonder why our acid reflux, tension headaches, PMS or irritable bowel symptoms are back!

Take a few minutes now to reflect and get really specific on what could be causing you stress.  Try to think of things in different areas of your life.

Sometimes this reflection exercise can reveal that we are holding onto things that can’t be changed, such as past, even childhood experiences. Becoming aware that we are holding onto these is the first step to letting them go.

Sometimes this exercise reveals that we are worrying about things that we don’t need to deal with yet, so scheduling a time to work on them in the future and mentally putting them on the shelf can be a relief.

And finally getting really specific on what is stressful about the things that need immediate attention is a great start to formulating effective solutions and action plans.

  1. When it comes to getting things done, you “get to” have a glass half full. 

I’m not talking about trying to always “think positively” here!  When you are stressed and tired because you have a lot to do, the last thing you need is to feel bad about feeling bad and to force yourself to try to only think positively.  But doing a task while feeling obligated and resentful is much more stressful than doing the same task while feeling that you have a choice and felling excited about reaping the benefits.  Switching from feeling obligated to excited can be done through a simple rephrase of words, especially when you get into the habit of doing it often.

Whenever you find yourself thinking the words “I have to…”, try replacing them with the “I get to…”.

For example instead of thinking “I have to exercise every day” try “I get to care for my body with movement that strengthens it”.

Instead of “I have to do housework” try “I get to do these things to keep my home clean, organised and enjoyable”.

Instead of “I have to do paperwork” try “I get to clear this paperwork so that I have everything organised, documented and am ready to move on with the tasks I really want to do”.

What can you think of right now that you “have to do”?

  1. Cut your to-do list down to one thing (at least for any given moment!)

Focus on it now, schedule it or drop it both in practical terms and mentally.  We know that it is efficient to focus on one difficult task at a time.  But even when you are physically doing only one task, it can be easy to continue to worry about all the other things you have to do, which of course makes you less efficient and a lot more stressed!

What tasks are weighing on your mind that you can schedule for later?  Schedule it and put an alert/reminder in your phone calendar or planner so that you can forget about it until its scheduled time.

Have a wonderful Sunday.



  • PS: Want more about how to maximise productivity while minimising stress?  It just so happens that I am working on a special resource taken from the first module of my Program for Multi-Passionate Professionals, that will be free to my email subscribers…  This will be a special guide book featuring the 5-layer organisation system I developed to enabled me to take 3 business courses simultaneously, work a full-time job in Endocrinology (well 9-5pm 5 days a week anyway if you can call that fully time in doctor-land!), parent a 2 year old, build my business from having no idea what it would look like to a successful launch, and still have time for weekend outings, getting through a self-development book a week, watching the occasional movie and lovely holidays away…all within 6 months.  More on this soon, but you can subscribe to the email list now to make sure you get your guidebook when it comes out!


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