6 Secrets to a Stress-Free, Simple Life

What are some easy ways to start living a stress-free life? What follows are my six secrets to living a stress-free life.

1. Relax Your Standards.

After having two children, one of my perfectionist friends realized that she couldn’t maintain her usual standards without creating undue stress. After staying up until two in the morning decorating the cupcakes for school, she created a new motto, “Good enough is good enough.” So what if the cupcakes came from a mix?

What are other things to consider when relaxing your standards to start living a stress-free life? For starters, who says you have to wash your sheets every week? And, who says you have to have a “Martha Stewart” Christmas? Furthermore, who says you have to have a fancy dinner party when entertaining friends?

Relax your standards and you’ll find you enjoy everything you did before without the stress.

2. Examine the Roles You’ve Assumed.

Have you fallen into a stereotypical role that is stressing you out? Who says the woman should be the cook and cleaner? My husband loves to cook and it relaxes him after a stressful day. So I let him do that, as I prefer to do the gardening.

Take a good look and see if you have taken on roles that you don’t enjoy. Can you swap with your partner? Get the kids to do it? A neighbor? Delegate it to professionals?

One colleague, whose idea of cooking was putting a baked potato in the microwave, was astounded to find she actually saved money by having a professional cooking service prepare all of her meals. In my opinion, any woman who works should hire a professional cleaning service to clean the basics weekly. Women tend to take on the housework, thanks to cultural conditioning and training. So if your spouse objects to hiring someone else to clean, then give him the job!

3. Do What You Love.

We all get stuck in ruts and may be wondering why life feels stale or dull. So, track your activities for a week. Then take an objective look at them and evaluate what gives you pleasure and what doesn’t. This will help you identify any roles you’ve assumed that you no longer enjoy (see #2).

Are you in the habit of watching TV at night, but would prefer reading a book or going out dancing? We all fall into behavior patterns, so it is worth an annual review to see if you still enjoy the activities that consume your precious time. You may also enjoy this article Talane’s Top 10 Ways to do Work You Love.

4. Give Time to What You Enjoy.

If you love reading, and hate cooking, but find yourself embroiled in preparing elaborate dinners every night, then it is time for a rethink. Some ideas: check into local cooking services, delegate to the kids, hire a chef, or do as they do in Germany and have cold suppers of cold meats, cheese, bread and raw veggies—no cooking, no mess!

What if you want to exercise, but just can’t seem to find the time? I had to sit down with my husband and work out our priorities so that we could both fit in exercise. Then we found a weight-lifting routine that only takes 20 minutes a week. Now we train each other in less than one hour a week (The Power of 10). It took some time to get used to this new routine, but wow, what a time-saver! Try rearranging your schedule so that you can accommodate everyone’s needs.

5. Develop Flexibility by Doing Something Different.

We can get trapped in unsatisfying routines and habits. Shake yours up a bit by doing something different just for the sake of change. For example, have pancakes for dinner or take a different route to work. As another thought, why not do your emails at night instead of in the morning? Something even simpler to try: order something different at your usual restaurant or eat at a new restaurant.

Simple things like those above  will help you break out of habits that are unfulfilling and help you look at your life with fresh eyes.

6. Orient Your Life Around What You Love.

What activities give you the greatest joy and pleasure? Simplifying our lives enables us to have time for what is truly most important, whether that is your career, your relationships, your passions and interests. These will all lead to living a more stress-free life.

The more you can automate, delegate and simplify dull or boring tasks, the more time you have to do what you love! While this seems obvious, so few of us use this simple time-management strategy.

I hope these tips will help you start to live a stress-free life. Find other articles about reducing stress here.

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