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    20 Tips You Definitely Need If You're Always Busy And Stressed

    Bookmark this for a rare moment when you're not rushing around.

    We all go through times when our schedules are jam-packed and cutting down on commitments just isn't realistic — which makes managing stress really freaking difficult.


    But there are things you can do, even if you can't completely overhaul your calendar to be more conducive to self-care and downtime. As a chronic Busy Person™, I've found little ways to feel less overwhelmed during my really busy periods. And since I definitely don't know everything, I also asked California-based clinical psychologist Ryan Howes for his best tips. Here are some things that might help you when you're feeling like ASDFJASKFJSDJF.

    1. Have a brain dump where you can jot down stray thoughts as they occur to you so you can revisit them later.

    2. And of course, have a to-do list or a calendar that will help you stay on top of all your responsibilities.

    3. Reframe commitments from “I have to” to “I want to” and “I get to" to think of your crowded schedule in a more positive light.

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    Busyness stress can make you forget that your schedule is actually packed with things you genuinely enjoy, like hanging out with friends, going to the gym, fitting in time for your hobbies, etc.

    "If you view something as a stressful event, it will be," Howes says. "But if you view something as a positive, like, 'This is exciting, look how many plans I have with my friends!' it immediately becomes less physically taxing."

    BTW, Howes suggests the book The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal, which goes into detail about how to use this mindset to get good at being stressed.

    4. Set alarms for yourself so you don't have to keep an eye on the clock.

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    When you're constantly glancing at the clock to see how! much! longer! you have to work on the task at hand, it's pretty impossible to focus. Give yourself one less thing to do and leave the timekeeping up to your phone.

    5. Consider waking up earlier to fit in a relaxing morning routine that will set your day off right.

    6. Remember that not everything needs a reaction right away.

    "Oftentimes people feel like if they’re confronted with something, they have to deal with it immediately and often that response is more stressful than the task itself," says Howes. Instead, resist the urge, jot it down on your to-do list, and come back to it later.

    7. Then, set up some ~personal office hours~ in your schedule so you have time to deal with those things you saved for later.

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    And if nothing came up during the day, you still have time to organize your to-do list, catch a breather, and do anything else you need to keep things run smoothly.

    8. Physically slow down — when you act all rushed and frantic, you'll feel that way too.

    Obviously don't do this if you're running late or something, but keep an eye on whether you have the tendency to run around like a chicken with its head cut off when you're overwhelmed.

    9. Rank your responsibilities from most to least pressing when you get overwhelmed so you know what to prioritize.

    Like I said, to-do lists can sometimes be more stressful than helpful when you have a million things to do. So go a step further and organize it into smaller, more manageable chunks.

    10. Find a way to make sure you're keeping up on basic self-care, because everything is so much harder when you're not eating, sleeping, and hydrating properly.

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    That might mean downloading an app that reminds you to carry out healthy habits, making a self-care tracker in your bullet journal, or something else that works for you.

    "If you’re ignoring basic needs of your own, you're not going to be able to keep up on this busy schedule," says Howes. "We need our fundamentals met before anything else."

    11. And schedule breaks into your day so it's not gogogo.

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    "We’ve learned a lot about the importance of getting up and walking around for a few minutes every hour or finding ways to let your brain refresh every once in awhile," says Howes. "That can be as simple as doing some deep breathing or chair yoga. Just little times to give your brain a rest and chill out."

    12. Delegate and ask for help where you can.

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    You might be tempted to shoulder everything yourself — we do live in a society that prizes being super busy — but you probably have several people willing to help you out, says Howes. There's no shame in reaching out to them.

    13. Say no, because there will come a point when you can't take on any more.

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    "We don’t love doing this, but sometimes we need to let someone down," says Howes. "And you know what? That’s not the end of the world."

    14. Make the time you're in transit as relaxing as possible by listening to your favorite music, audiobooks, or podcasts.

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    Your schedule may be packed, but you still have to get from one place to another, so utilize the downtime the best you can. Even if that's giving yourself permission to not do anything and stare into space on the subway instead.

    15. Journal or find some other way to reflect on what's actually happening in your life.

    16. Be average at some of your responsibilities.

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    Okay, like, don't lower all your standards and start ditching your responsibilities, but there probably are areas in your life where you could settle for being good enough.

    "It's okay to slack off every once in awhile if it means that you get to have a little more work-life balance and better self-care," says Howes.

    17. Make your bedroom a no-work zone so you can signal to your brain when it's time to relax.

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    You need a safe space!!! If after a busy day, you still need to come home and go through a few more emails, do it somewhere other than your bedroom. Otherwise you'll never feel like you can turn it off.

    18. Give yourself specific times to catch up on social media, texts, and email instead of checking randomly.

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    Trying to keep up on your phone when you already have a ton of shit to do is only going to stretch you thinner. But when you check things intentionally instead of impulsively, you take away your phone's power to become "a slot machine that randomly demands your energy and attention," Christine Carter, happiness expert at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, previously told BuzzFeed.

    19. Keep an eye on your caffeine consumption if it's what keeps you going.

    Past a certain point, caffeine can make you really anxious. Not saying you have to cut it out completely, but if downing a cup of coffee is an important part of your "AH, TOO MUCH TO DO!" ritual, then maybe try swapping out every other cup for tea or decaf.

    20. Lastly, don't forget to take stock of your lifestyle and genuinely ask yourself if you need to make some big changes.

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    "At some point, you need to be able to say, I can’t function at this level of stress and I have to take care of myself," says Howes.

    Good luck, busy bees!

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