As an entrepreneur and juggling mom, I feel like I've cornered the market on stress. Before I've opened my eyes, my brain has rushed ahead and started stressing about the activities for the day. Once its done that, it moves on to remembering all of the things I forgot to do in the day prior and by the time it's done that, I have a little one (or two) near my bed asking for a cuddle which literally takes every ounce of patience I have because now I have a massive list of things weighing on my conscience.
This was my typical day: Wake up stressed, anxious, impatient, and go to bed planning and making mental lists. In between I would get through a large to-do list that really was filled with "to-do's" that didn't really bring any stress relief, but rather made me feel important because I had so many things on that list.
Then I had a revelation. What would happen if I could spend some of that "busy time" with non-stress related items? What if I could find a more peaceful way to start and end my day? What if I could make a few small subtle changes that could change the outlook on my day? A lot of what if's that needed a firm action plan.
Life plan change.
I needed to change things up. Quickly. Before I became an anxiety-ridden statistic of poor mental health, which quite frankly is one of the scariest ailments I can imagine.
Here are some of the steps I took to jump-start change. They weren't easy, but they were broken down into manageable pieces. I could see the end game and the result was worth it.
1) Meditation. What? Sit still and not think about something for more than 1.5 seconds? Craziness! But it was worth giving a try. My best friend and I committed to trying it together and we hired an expert in her field to guide us. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that it was or is remotely easy. Nor am I going to tell you that it isn't a regular struggle to bring my wandering mind from it's to do list to a "be quiet for a second and focus" mindset. But what I will tell you is that practice really does make perfect. Not only that but practice it regularly and you will see how it changes your mindset for the day and literally helps calm the anxiety. Plus it gives my husband a good laugh every time he walks in on me in the yogi position.
2) Exercise. I hate exercise. Why? Well, for starters, I have a list of things to do so where the heck am I supposed to find the time to exercise?! We all know we feel better about ourselves when we are happy with the shape we are in. That is a different size for every single woman but one thing we have in common is that we are typically our own worst critics. So I hired a personal trainer for a few sessions and joined a tennis group to get me started on the road to success. The goal being to feel better about myself and to find less reasons to criticize myself. The whole concept of exercising seems really great until you have to do it. As soon as I would start thinking about it, I could literally feel my energy being sapped. But having to be accountable to my tennis group or trainer forced me to make it out the door.
3) Taking baby steps. I like to take on big challenges but often I lose the motivation to follow them through to the end. They seem great in theory, but much harder in practicality. So I started thinking small. One small step towards a larger plan. So instead of undertaking a huge challenge, I started writing down the steps involved in accomplishing that challenge and then assigning myself two or three of those steps a day. What I found? Once I got started, it was easier to plow through a few extra steps because momentum propelled me. Plus I didn't have the stress of thinking that I had to accomplish everything at once. So just like a baby learns to walk by crawling first, so must we learn to break down our challenges into baby steps.
4) Step away from the social media. Now as someone who makes a living on social media this may sound a little odd but quite frankly, it's a time and ego sucker. Ooooooh, look at those beautiful pictures of her new house. Wow, look how great she looks all the time. OMG, could her husband have bought her a more beautiful gift? You've thought it, I know you have, but that's okay, I will keep it our secret. Spending hours scrolling through your various feeds will not do anything positive for you. Nothing. It might make you feel envious, less accomplished and bitter, but it certainly plays no role in helping you achieve your life's dreams. So stop wasting good quality time social media stalking your friends and go spend it hanging out with your friends or family in person and doing something you truly enjoy.
5) Pick up a book. Don't tell me you don't have time because everyone has time, its just a matter of making the time. For instance, I sneak it in while drying my hair, before bed in lieu of catching up on my favorite show and at the gym on that crazy boring elliptical. Reading not only opens your mind to new ideas but it also gives your brain a bit of a rest from focusing on you all the time. Consider reading time a mini-vacation for your mind that requires no airfare. That's it.
Five steps to changing up your day, your outlook and your attitude. I'm not saying that any of these were easy but I am definitely saying they are worth it. So give it a try...what do you have to lose? If you have implemented any of these, be sure to let me know in the comments below what worked or didn't work for you.
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