When life is shaking us up and we’re feeling stressed, it can be tough to feel resilient.
Resilience helps us to deal with chaos and overwhelm. But how do we create it when we feel like we’re underwater?
The first step is to remove things that are adding unnecessary stress. The second step is to do things that help us feel replenished.
Those two steps won’t get us all the way to full resilience, but they’re a huge huge start.
Remove Extra Stress
Some stress is inevitable. Wishing for a life where we feel zero stress is just going to add more stress.
But if we are flooded with stress, removing some of it can help us to clear the space to create more resilience. If we don’t remove the extra stress, we’ll never do the things we need to take care of ourselves or to train our minds to be more resilient.
So removing unnecessary stress is the first step.
- If you’re drinking a lot, reduce it to 1 to 2 glasses of wine a night. Zero might be even better for some, but it’s useless to ask someone to quit alcohol when they’re flooded with stress.
- Similarly, reducing smoking or other narcotics or drugs would be a big help.
- If you’re working late into the night, creating a stopping point earlier would be a big help, if possible.
- Cut back on your workload a bit, if you’re able to.
- Stop saying yes to everything, and take fewer meetings.
- If you’re fighting a lot with someone, refrain for a bit. Take a breather and let yourself settle.
- If you’re watching things or playing games late into the night and getting little sleep, cut back on that.
- If you’re watching news or reading things online that really get you angry, stop that for a while.
- Cut out social media if that gets you anxious.
And so on.
Removing these stressors will help you catch your breath.
Then Replenish Yourself
I don’t mean that you have to take a spa weekend, though that would be great! I mean doing little things that help you feel more recharged and settled.
These things fill you up, so that you can better take on the world.
- Go for walks out in nature.
- Create space for reading, having tea, taking a bath, journaling.
- Talk with someone regularly, in person or over the phone.
- Take naps.
- Get better sleep.
- Take a weekend off.
- Get some sunshine, if there’s any where you are.
- Take moments of stillness and deep breathing during your day.
These little things can make a huge difference.
You won’t get all the way to resilience with these two steps—but you’ll have given yourself what you need to take the further steps of shifting your thinking patterns and practicing resilience.
Leo Babauta is the author of six books; the writer of Zen Habits, a blog with more than 2 million subscribers; and the creator of several online programs to help you master your habits. Visit ZenHabits.net