My 3 Principles of Stress Reduction: Putting my words into Practice

Organization isn’t about perfection. It is about efficiency, reducing stress & clutter, and saving time & money, & improving your overall quality of life.

Christina Scalise
Some call it ‘organized chaos’…

There are many constants that I like to emphasize during my counselling sessions. Some are based on theory, some on personal or professional experience. Regardless of the presenting issue, I have three principles of stress reduction that I like to encourage all of my clients to embrace:

  1. Predictability promotes feelings of safety and feeling safe reduces anxiety. When we know what to expect or what is coming next, we feel more in control and more able to prepare for whatever is expected;
  2. Focusing on short-term goals rather than long-terms goals will help motivate us to keep trying. When we direct all of our energy to the end result, we become discouraged and impatient with the process of getting there, unless there are small victories along the way; and
  3. In order to engage in self-care, we must commit to incorporating it into our routine, even if it means scheduling it into our day like a doctor’s appointment.

I tell all my clients that I don’t believe in “New Year’s Resolutions”. I believe that they often set us up for disappointment and guilt. But I do believe in monthly goals and this month, my goal was simple: to organize myself. I ditched my Google calendar and went back to what I know works, which is my trusty, hand-written organizer. I included everything in this thing – my chores, my appointments, my bill due dates, my reminders for phone calls and emails, my grocery lists, and my brainstorms for regular blogs (fingers crossed for the last one!). I used different colour schemes and stickers to encourage me to look at it regularly. I review my tasks and my accomplishments every night before I go to sleep. And one thing I try my best to do is commit to self-care. I write my self-care activities in bright colours and in PEN so they cannot be erased. I block off those chunks of time so I don’t book anything.

So far, so good. I have made sure that all my bills have been paid on time, my emails are sent, my phone calls are made, and my chores (for the most part) are complete. I’ve gotten my nails done and gone for my massage. I’ve gone to lunch and dinner with family and friends. And every time I cross something off my list, I exhale. Could it be that these 3 simple principles that I swear by in my counselling sessions actually work?! My stress levels are down (but not completely gone, of course) and I am feeling motivated each day to complete something else. Now the magic question is: how long will this last?

I will have to let you know the answer to this another time.

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