Making everyday easier


Stress Strategy: Create a “manual” about you

Life is busy. We all have many things to do. We struggle with what to cook, what to clean, what to watch on the television, what setting to use in the washing machine or dishwasher. Choices are great but can be overwhelming. Nowadays we have options that humans one thousand years ago, even 10 years ago, did not have. Technology and new inventions provide products and services that save us time and money providing comfort and wellbeing.  What is a good stress strategy?

Regardless of what new gadget we bought online this month, our brain is still wired in survival mode with a very old version of gray mass. Evolutions take hundreds of years and our biological brain can’t keep up with new technology to be able to adapt and thrive. So then, why do we still find most of our day-to-day choices hard?

Cheat the brain and hack it in advance. Pay attention to those stress triggers. Like meditating, feel how your emotions change and how your anxiety starts to rise. Then ask yourself: Ok, what is the struggle?

Stress Strategy #1: I don’t know what to cook

I have a small magnetic whiteboard in my fridge where I plan my meals for the week. In the back of the board, I write staple meals that I like to eat, are easy to cook and most of them freeze well if I batch cook them over the weekend. My list is so far: Shepherd’s pie, Tacos, Dhal/Rice, Butter Paneer, Garlic Fried Tofu, Vegetable soup, Vegetable Fried Rice, Hamburgers, etc. 

Since I started this list, whenever I don’t know what to cook, I quickly flip the magnetic board, read through the list and plan my meals/shopping list around that.

Stress Strategy #2: My house is a mess and I don’t know where to start cleaning

Zone cleaning is the beeeest. Create a list of zones (areas) of your house, write it down in a piece of paper and put it on the fridge. Mine goes as follows:

Priority 1 Zones:

  • Living room
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom

Priority 2 Zones

  • Bedroom 1
  • Bedroom 2
  • Office
  • Front Yard (Seasonal)
  • CarMudroom
  • Back Yard (Seasonal)
  • Basement
  • Side Yard (Seasonal)

Start at the top of the list with the first zone in priority 1. Next time take the first zone of priority 2. Then the second zone of priority 2. This completes a round and then you start over with the second zone of priority 1 and then 2 zones of priority 2; this will complete another cycle and then you start over with the third zone of priority 1. 

It may sound a bit complicated but you get used to it with time. Priority 1 zones are high traffic areas. Consider adding to this priority 1 list those zones where you spend most of your time and that get messy very fast. Then priority 2 zones are areas that can stay a bit dirty for longer but it’s fine because you don’t spend much of your time there.

Zone cleaning allows you to clean your whole house with a schedule and reminds you to spend some of your time in neglected areas that you always feel need attention but never get to it. Check out The Sunday Stylist YouTube channel for more tips on zone cleaning.

Stress Strategy #3: I don’t know what to wear today

Before you go to bed on a Sunday night, spend 5 minutes of your time picking out your outfits for the week. It takes me less than 5 minutes. I use an empty drawer to create 5 little piles of clothes for my work days. 5 bottoms, 5 tops, 5 socks, 5 bras, 5 panties. Monday morning I open the drawer, take a pile and put it on. That’s it.

Stress Strategy #4: I don’t know what to do with my free time

Hey! Lucky you! I get it. Sometimes we get bored of doing the same thing every single evening. Lists, lists, lists! Make a list of things that you like and should do with your free time as a stress strategy. The like items will keep you motivated and the should items will keep you successful. My list looks something like this:

  • Read
  • Watch TV
  • Work a few extra hours
  • Self-care 
  • Clean
  • Socialize
  • Write
  • Budgeting

After my son goes to bed at 7 pm every night, I spend roughly 30 minutes speed cleaning the kitchen, living room or doing a load of laundry. When I am done with my daily chores, I pick an item from the free time and stress strategies list. Note: avoid doing 1 item two days in a row! This will allow you not to watch TV for two consecutive days and feel bad on day three.

There you go. Give it a try! Remember, life is about finding what works for you. Try something and do it until it stops working. You will know when it stops working. Then do another self-assessment and make a new list and start over again. You can do it, I know you can!

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