7 Practical Tips to Make a Busy Day Less Stressful and More Joyful
When I looked at my calendar for the next week, I was shocked how full I had let it become. See I have these dueling aspects of my personality. The introvert, who loves nothing more than to stay at home and create all day and the opportunity seeker, who loves trying new things and pushing her limits. And if we’re being honest there’s also a bit of a people pleaser who’s afraid to say “no” because she just wants everyone to like her. But these days I’m mostly contending with the first two aspects of my personality.
When I look and see how full my week is scheduled, I usually get really overwhelmed and start dreading the things that I truly enjoy doing. It’s not the tasks that need to change instead, it’s my attitude and my practices on these full days so I can enjoy my daily life without feeling so overwhelmed.
As I was thinking about how I wanted to make the most of a busy day, I realized I couldn’t be alone in this. I am so grateful that so much of my schedule is 100% up to me, but I know I’m pretty unique in this. There are so many folks who have a lot more commitments and responsibilities and people they’re accountable to. So if I’m feeling this overwhelm with flexibility and work I love, I can’t imagine how much this would be intensified for someone in a more structured job or school setting.
All that’s to say, I see you. No matter who you are or what you do for work you’ve most likely experienced busy and stressful days. I also respect that everyone’s definition of busy is unique. It’s certainly not a competition and there’s definitely no prize for the busiest.
Whether you’re doing work you love or trying to get through less than thrilling tasks, a lot of us still struggle with feeling overwhelmed when there’s a lot on our plates.
Infusing More Joy
So today I wanted to share practical things you can do to infuse a little more joy and mindfulness into a day that’s busy or challenging because we all have them.
Before I dive into those tips I do want to say that we have more control over our time and schedule than I think we realize. Everything we do is a choice. Sure there are very real consequences for certain choices, however, we do have choices.
I know personally, I can play the victim when I get to busy but I realize that I said yes. I chose this work, I chose this meeting. While it’s a good thing to honor commitments and care for others, it’s not doing anyone favors when you act like everyone else did this to you. That’s where getting clear on your priorities and boundaries is so important, but that’s a blog post for another day.
There are also seasons of our lives that we do make more sacrifices so that we can get big rewards. I can remember different times in my life when I chose to work very long hours and while it wasn’t the most fun, I made that choice on purpose and as a result, it’s helped pave the way for a life I love. So having the perspective and gratitude for that choice you make during the hard season can help you move through it with a little more ease. And so can these 7 strategies for adding more joy and less stress in your day.
1. Adjust your attitude and expectations
One of my favorite sayings I heard on the Happier podcast is “If you can’t get out of it, get into it.” This is a lot easier said than done. However, when I’m going into a situation that I’m not looking forward to I try to channel my mom. My mom is one of the most fun loving people I know and can make any situation an adventure. She was my girl scout leader growing up and we did a lot of fundraising for different events. One of our go-to earners was called “the can cage.” We would go to the dump and spend about 4 hours sorting beer cans and get them redeemed for money. Doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend a Sunday morning? Well, my mom was always able to rally the troops, sing, laugh, tell stories and lift people’s spirits even in a pile of old beer cans. If my mom can make that fun, I can get through any meeting, and shoot and any event.
2. Prep the night before to make the next day as easy for yourself as you can.
Ever hit the pillow and instantly start thinking of everything that can go wrong? Give yourself an extra chunk of time the night before to strategically worry. I give myself 30 minutes to go over the next day in my head and think of any equipment or things I need to pack or prepare. Also if you have a lot of meetings in different places, make sure you know the addresses the night before. I’ve definitely gotten lost then been late and it’s not fun.
3. Pack snacks
Hanger is real. So many times when I have back to back meetings I just don’t have time to get food then end up feeling less than amazing, not to mention feeling distracted by hunger. Let’s just say I’ve never regretted packing snacks.
My go-to snacks:
- Perfect Bars
- Apple with a packet of Almond Butter
- Healthy Cookie Dough Bites
4. Wear a cute, comfortable outfit for a boost of self-confidence
This sounds overly simple, but I swear, wearing something I love and feel great in really helps me throughout the day. When I put time and effort into how I present myself I feel like I can embody the best version of myself. If I dress like calm, cool, fun, cute Georgie it’s way easier to act like that.
4 of my favorite cute/comfy confidence pieces:
- black jeans/jeggings [they look classy and cute and are secretly super comfortable]
- a bandana or a hat always makes me feel more put together
- a stylish jacket [layers are key on busy days because you’re in and out of so many places with varying temps]
- comfy cute sneaks or mules
5. Have your favorite pump up playlist ready
Music is so damn powerful. I can’t tell you how many days I’ve turned around or at least turned a bit better because of the right song. Have a busy season in your life coming up? Spend some time crafting the playlist that will get you through it. I promise this is a game changer. It’s a quick hit, it’s cheap and so powerful.
5 favorite pump up songs right now:
- Nevermind • Dennis Lloyd
- Good Nights (feat. mascolo) • Whethan
- RIP • Olivia O’Brien
- Final Song • MØ
- Higher Ground • Odeza
6. Give yourself time in the morning to set an intention
I don’t care how busy you are, everyone can take at least 10 minutes to set their intention for the day. Pick a word or a mantra that you want to remember and embody. When the going gets tough, say that word in your head or out loud. It can be high minded or as simple as “you’re ok.”
5 mantras I love:
- I am supported
- I choose to have fun
- Be here now
- I am powerful
7. Remind yourself to breathe
Probably the simplest and yet most profound. Breath is life. If you’re feeling like you can’t catch a break, a deadline is looming or you have so much to remember you think your brain might explode, start by breathing. No it won’t finish your essay for you, or make that call you’re dreading, but it will give you the life you need to do it.
Remember for a deep breathe to breathe all the way into your belly. Bonus points if you say your mantra during this deep breath.
Again, I’ve never regretted taking a moment to breathe deeply.
There you have it. I hope these seven tips help bring more joy and less stress to your busy days. Not every season will be your favorite, however, I strongly believe we can make any situation more bearable just with our attitude. Once you flex your fun muscles you start to feel invincible because you have the power to get through anything, whether it’s a long DMV line, endless paperwork, meetings, pickups, all of it. You got this.