20 Feb Dealing with Stress: How to Give Less of a Shit
Life is stressful.
Have you ever been told you care too much? Maybe yes, maybe you’ve never even thought about it because caring should be a good thing. Caring is good. Caring is actually GREAT. Having a little stress and being cognizant of potential issues is one thing, but for many of us, caring too much can make us unhappy. You stress over the little things that don’t matter, get overwhelmed, and it drags you down. Ultimately when you give less of a sh*t, you’re going to be happier. It’s along the same lines as no one and nothing is perfect, so don’t kill yourself trying to be.
How did I discover this?
Working full-time, of course!
I’m one of those people. The stresser. The perfectionist. The OMG it’s the end of the world. There are ebbs and flows to every career and some weeks are insane and you’re pulling out your hair and you’ve already put out three fires and it’s only Tuesday. Other weeks you get a promotion and you discover something awesome or some new tool that’s going to make your job so much easier. So, how do we take it down a notch, relieve some stress, and get through it during the lulls?
1. Ask yourself, “Will I even care about this 6 months from now?”
I do this almost daily and it works. Nine times out of 10 I think to myself, “Wow this is so small and insignificant,” and move on. It’s something that we don’t think to ask ourselves, but if you take every situation and gain some perspective by taking a step back, you might realize that it’s not something you should even stress about in the first place. Six months might actually be way to long of a time period. You could ask yourself if you’ll care about this in a month, in a week, or even tomorrow. Making mistakes is part of learning; it’s part of life, which is why we shouldn’t freak and manifest stress when we do something wrong. Often times these things that don’t go perfectly as planned, the things we make a mountain of, are actually paltry in the grand scheme of things and easy to resolve. It’s easy for your heart to start racing or to start to panic when you’re overwhelmed or something goes awry, especially if you’re a stresser like me. Before you get to that point think about what is happening from a long-term perspective rather than an immediate perspective and it will 100 percent help.
2. Give yourself time to unplug
Oh, you have 60 emails in your inbox but you’re going out of town for the weekend? Leave the emails for when you get back. There’s nothing worse than ruining a trip because you’re overwhelmed with other things. Taking a getaway trip over the weekend and really unplugging is critical to maintaining healthy levels of stress. Turn off your phone. Don’t go on social media. Back away from the emails. This is time you’re not going to get back and on Monday morning if you need to spend the extra time to dig yourself out of an inbox it’s better than spending your time off with your mind on half relaxation mode and half work mode. If there’s a genuine emergency, someone will find a solution to it for you or figure out a way to reach you. If you’re looking for some wanderlust inspiration, check out Raw California‘s blog for some epic travel destinations throughout California.
My favorite getaways:
Joshua Tree National Park
Washington / Columbia River Gorge
3. Don’t over-commit
You cannot say yes to everything. If there is something you really don’t want to do… don’t. do. it. This is your life, you’re in control, and if you don’t want to commit to something or feel uncomfortable and doing it could create stress in your life, just say no. Some people can juggle multiple jobs, a thriving social life, workout every day and those people are a true inspiration. That’s not me and it doesn’t have to be you if you’re not feelin’ it. Respect your mind and body and give yourself some down time.
4. Time block
I use HourStack to time block. It shows me what takes way longer than I expected. Other people use time block cubes that buzz when your allocated time is up. Whatever works for you, give it a try and set some limits to what you’re trying to get done. I’ve found it makes me more efficient because I can actually see the seconds tick by and forces me to make the most out of every minute. It also helps with distractions and multi-tasking because I have time blocked out for one specific thing.
This isn’t some post about what every single person must do, but it’s helped me get through life lately and is something to seriously consider. Being cautious, caring, and having some paranoia about your performance at work and at home is one thing, but letting it consume you is another. Make sure you’re balancing your life with activities that help you unwind and get some perspective. Maybe that’s a weekend getaway, yoga, meditation or creating art, make it count and help yourself be happier.
If you’re looking for a longer read on trying not to care as much, I highly recommend the book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck,” by Mark Manson.
Some of my favorites lines:
- “The idea of not giving a fuck is a simple way of reorientating our expectations for life and choosing what is important and what is not.”
- “Pain, in all of its forms, is our body’s most effective means of spurring action.”
- “Decision-making based on emotional intuition, without the aid of reason to keep it in line, pretty much always sucks. You know who bases their entire lives on their emotions? Three-year-old kids. And dogs. You know what else three-year-olds and dogs do? Shit on the carpet.”
(“Fuck It” pen, notebook & cutie plant are all from Pigment in North Park, San Diego)