I sent the kids inside the house, sat in the car alone and devoured the 2 minutes of silence. Before the craziness starts again, I thought. I started stealing a minute here, a minute there, just to be quiet. It’s the Summer and it will get better, I told myself. But didn’t I tell myself that last Spring?
I have always believed that thoughts are under one’s control and that it’s all a mindset game. The more I get caught up in the “busyness” and keep telling others that I am busy, my mind makes it happen. I may not actually be swamped, but my mind says that I am because that’s what is coming out of my mouth. Those are the thoughts that I am thinking.
Finally, I gave up. It’s way too hard to live like this with a mind full of anxiety and stress, more than half of which is made up in my own mind! And so I decided to build in some routines to help me cope, de-stress and find a sense of balance. It was essential to stop, take a step back and incorporate strong, effective steps to really make a difference. For my own sanity. And so I did and these steps made a huge difference not only to de-stress my life and work but also to change my mindset of the continuous “busyness” and bring a sense of balance. 
  1. Alone time. For me, it came in the form of meditation. Like some, I wish I could just sit outside in the wee hours of the morning for 15-20 min and do nothing. But that is not me. And so I decided to try meditation. Mind you, I have a million thoughts racing through my mind almost all the time and so it was really hard to do at first. But eventually, I made it a habit. I started with 10 min a day and slowly progressed to 15 min. Find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I tried several different meditation methods and finally, there are 2 in particular that I end up picking. I prefer guided meditation and the ones that I go to all the time is Tara Brach and an app called Headspace.
  2. Find the most productive time of day. Being an entrepreneur and business owner, I realize that working 24/7 is ingrained in me. The times when I am not in the mood to work or just plain, not working, I am constantly berating myself. I feel guilty because I am not doing something- anything related to business. It had to stop. I felt as if I was never present in the moment and always kept worrying that I wasn’t doing enough. It really was weighing me down. I carefully evaluated and figured out the most productive time of day. For me, it’s the early morning. I wake up a couple of hours early and work for a few hours at a stretch because I enjoy it. In the afternoons or late evenings, I am not that productive. That’s when I go on social media avoid any intensely creative work. It really helped me focus and actually get more productive.The biggest consequence was actually being present in the moment and not constantly worrying. 
  3. List your accomplishments. I like to plan my week during the weekends. It’s great because I can keep myself on track and really focus on getting the priorities done. Planning my week worked and I was completing tasks but somehow I didn’t feel the inner satisfaction. That’s when I started listing my finished tasks of the day. And that changed my entire perspective. So every morning I write the date on a blank page of my notebook and every time I complete a task, I would make a note. Now, this can also include important emails. And even small, micro-tasks that lead to bigger tasks. But at the end of the day, I can see everything that I have accomplished that day. The sense of accomplishment and satisfaction is quite amazing. In fact, it gives me such a morale boost that I am rearing to go for the next day.
  4. Find time to truly disconnect. I love to go on long walks with my husband. That’s when I truly disconnect. There is no phone or email. Find what works for you. How can you truly disconnect even for a few minutes? For some people, Sundays are tech free days. Try that and see the difference. Maybe switch off the TV and read a book instead. Once or twice a week, or a few minutes a day, it is very important to just disconnect.
  5. Own fewer things – When we moved out of our home of 10 years, I realized that I had collected the most unnecessary things. With young children, we would buy all these paraphernalia which they play with for a couple of days and then it’s just laying around the house. As I was packing and cleaning, I vowed to own as few things as I really need. Too many things around you are like visual caffeine. It can increase anxiety and stress. I had heard a quote somewhere which has stuck with me – “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Minimalism is a way of life that can de-stress your mind in incredible ways. Try it today and feel yourself being enveloped by a calmness.
Being present in the moment and using these strategies will help to de-stress and find balance in business and life. And of course, don’t forget the one thing that works instantly, deep breaths. Every time you feel stressed or anxious, take a few deep breaths and instantly you’ll feel a sense of control.