care . grow . strengthen
It was a perfect 75 degrees and sunny, a slight breeze that was just enough to keep me from breaking a sweat as I walked through the park. I had the Good To Be Home podcast on listening to the benefits of a digital vision board, when I felt it. That annoying rock stuck in between the tread of my shoes.
I ignored it at first, thinking that it would shake it’s way out, I mean it happens sometimes and I’d rather not stop and deal with it right now. Then it just became too annoying that I stopped, lifted my foot. Much to my surprise, there wasn’t just one rock in my shoe, but the treads had tons of rocks, both big and small and only one was causing the irritation, and it wasn’t even the biggest one. P.S. why do shoe company’s make it so easy for pebbles to get stuck in there, I feel like that could be avoided #productidea.
Anyway, as I sat there and cleared my shoe from the mini irritations, I took a few deep breaths some of frustration and others from the big hill I’d just climbed up. Then I placed my foot firmly on the ground and started walking with renewed energy.
It’s utterly amazing to me how our bodies have a way of telling us to stop. Sometimes we don’t know all the things that have been weighing us down but whether it be an injury, a bad cold, or that blah feeling we get when we are feeling unfulfilled, we are forced to sit, reflect, and heal.
While we often wait for that rock in our shoe to trigger this rest, it’s really all the little pebbles which we ignore that causes the breakdown.
That pile of clothes that has been sitting on the ottoman in your for a week while trying on 18 outfits just to find the perfect look for a random Tuesday.
Those shoes that have needed to be repaired but you keep wanting to wear them so you walk around with a horse-like click clack. Trying to take small steps to minimize the sound, but you can’t help but think it’s the loudest thing that everyone can hear and it definitely doesn't sound like the lady boss strut you are going for.
That friend you’ve been meaning to contact, the appointment you’ve been meaning to make, the recipe you’ve been wanting to try. The list goes on and on and as the list get’s longer, the stress begins to build and quite literally with the pebbles, weigh us down.
So how can we remove the pebbles on a daily basis, rather than waiting for “the big one” to slow us down?
If something comes on your list, or you see it as you walk down the hall and it will take you less than 60 seconds to do, then do it right there and then. There is no point to adding this one to your to-do list whether it is a physical list or the list floating in your mental load. Just take care of it right away and then it won’t be nagging at you for who knows how long and taking up mental space and time that is much more useful for the heavy hitters.
This is not saying do-less. I’m a firm believer that we are able to do it all, however, what it is saying is slim down your daily list. Write down all the things (longer than 60 seconds) that you need to do and keep those recorded, so you don’t forget them, but then on a daily basis, take some time to narrow your list to the top 3-5 things. The things that MUST get done that day.
On a monthly basis, go through your long list and ask yourself does this really need to get done? If it hasn’t made the cut for the top 3-5 for a month, maybe it isn’t as important as you thought. Our perception of what is important changes and evolves as we do. You know that pillow you “had to have” and 6 months later you were so over. We do the same thing to ourselves with our to-do lists, so let those expired items go.
There is no magic wand for taking stress out of our lives, we always have it in some form. But what we do have, is our ability to take control of how it impacts us by the little actions we do each day to manage it. The number one way to manage stress is by not ignoring it but by dealing with it head on whether it’s the 60 second snap or a bigger item.
This isn’t to say you may step on a big rock occasionally that makes you pause no matter how well you manage it. It is saying, however, that you won’t have to face that rock everyday if you deal with the little pebbles instead.
Every day I work on these same things. Not every day is perfect, but with a system to fall back on, I find that I can focus and keep things moving. Much like the first step of my walk after the cleared out rocks in my shoe.
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