The art of a stress-free life

There’s something in the old saying, to stop and smell the roses. Noticing and enjoying the simple and beautiful things in life. But to be able to smell those flowers, you must plant and nurture them. You must take charge of your life – which in itself can be excruciatingly stressful.

So how can you get rid of negative stress?

We know that talented, driven and self-critical people are high risk for stress-related exhaustion disorders. But killing your ambition is difficult. Redirecting it however, setting different goals, can be life-changing. Use that drive and your performance personality to form and achieve new goals. Feel-good goals. It can be to laugh out loud every day, meet a new inspirational person every month or meditate once a week. Then go out there and deliver -like only you can!

There’s no vaccine for life crisis and unforeseen drama. You can however control how you handle setbacks. Choose to be kind to yourself. Try to see every obstacle as fertiliser for your roses; without shit in your life, there will be no personal development :).

To stop living a stressful life can be as difficult as becoming debt free or getting rid of an addiction. It requires conscious actions and sometimes you need help. Maybe book a couple of sessions with a coach. Hint hint me!

Unplanned Aimlessness

I am planning person, to say the least. When I tell people about my rolling 5-year personal plan in Excel they usually look like they’ve seen a green giraffe fly over the rooftops.

Every January, as part of my annual planning process, I update my 5-year plan, evaluate and rate previous year, develop guiding principles for the coming year and set 4-5 goals with associated activities for the new year.

Sounds like I should see someone about this?

Well it works for me. Half-year reviews with myself gives me an endorphin-high the size of a teenage kiss.

In 2016 I had no plan.

This was not a conscious decision and I didn’t even notice it until I sat down for my review in January. As the chock settled I realised that this was exactly what I needed last year. I guess a part of my brain somehow understood this but decided to keep quiet about it so I wouldn’t protest.

2016 was the year I overcame fertility problems, had a pregnancy fraught with complications, fought discrimination at work, had an emergency caesarean and became a mother. Trying to fit that into columns and rows would not have been a good idea.

Fate however smiled at my obsession with planning and arranged for my pregnancy to follow the calendar months, starting in January. One must have some order after all.

It makes me wonder – is it necessary to have a serial car crash in our lives to change deeply entrenched behaviours?

If we instead consciously change these behaviours do we develop just as much? Or even more?

Today I took time off my parental leave and wrote my 2017 plan. I am proud that I waited until February and that the plan doesn’t contain a single colour-coded rating system.

It is however still in Excel.