Have you ever woken up feeling overwhelmed and stressed, with a seemingly never-ending to-do list looming over your head? I know I have. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and feel like you're drowning in responsibilities.
But what if I told you that you could do a simple exercise to alleviate some of that stress and prioritize your mental and emotional well-being? This exercise has been a game-changer as someone who struggles with adding too much to my plate.
Set the Mood
Take a few deep breaths and ground yourself. Take the air past your diaphragm and into your belly (in fact, make your stomach fill up like a balloon), hold for two seconds, and slowly exhale. Repeat two more times.
Then, take a moment to ask yourself, "What do I need to feel better today?" Is it more free time? Quality time with a loved one? A mental health break?
Make a List and Check It Twice
Grab a pen and paper and make two columns - one for what you need to get done today and one for what you want to do today. Write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
Now, look at your "want to do" list and circle one to three things that can be postponed or delegated. For example, if you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed, maybe cooking a gourmet meal for dinner tonight isn't a top priority. Or perhaps you had plans to clean out the entire fridge, but you could delegate some tasks to your partner or kids.
Real Life Example
Today I was supposed to write a blog post about our new spring-scented candles, create gobs of Pinterest Pins, plan my content for next week, and more. But because I felt overwhelmed, I decided to postpone this part of my plan and only focus on what I had to do. Packaging orders, making appointments for the kids and answering work emails.
What did I do with the time I created by postponing my want-to-get-done list? I went for a walk and journaled, which became this blog post for you. And I got some strength training which I'm very focused on as I age.
Feel the Relief
Trimming down your "want to do" list may feel challenging at first, but trust me - it's worth it. By prioritizing your needs and cutting down on the excess, you give yourself the gift of time and space to breathe.
As you look over your updated list, take a moment to breathe in calm, peace, and joy, and then exhale relief. You did it! And you should feel a mixture of relief and excitement. The excitement comes from feeling like you have control over your life and that life is not happening to you, but rather you are the captain of your ship.
Savor the Moment and Seal the Practice
Before rushing off to begin your day, let's savor this moment and reflect on how easy it was to make minor adjustments and how much of an impact this just had on your mood. When we take the time to pause and savor, we will remember this feeling and exercise more quickly the next time we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
Take your attention back to the candle sitting beside you. As you watch the dancing flame, I want you to breathe in gratitude to the count of four, hold for two seconds, and exhale (sigh it out like a lion) relief. Repeat two more times.
Do This For You and Your Family Will Benefit
Overall, taking the time to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being is so essential. It's easy to get caught up in the daily hustle and forget about ourselves, but by practicing self-care and prioritizing our needs, we can better handle whatever life throws our way.
I felt way better approaching my Friday after this exercise, and now you will too. You also have a new tool to manage stress and overwhelm. Let me know how you liked this self-care exercise.
You can email me directly, Hello@bellavidacandles.com or connect with me on Instagram @bellavidacandles.
Talk to you next week! XO - Jess
Chronic stress can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other health problems. (Source: American Psychological Association)
77% of people in the United States report feeling regularly stressed. (Source: American Institute of Stress)
Taking just 10 minutes a day for self-care can improve your overall well-being and productivity. (Source: Harvard Business Review)