Relieve Stress, Choose to do nothing
Certain personality types, especially those experiencing anxiety and high stress levels have a way of being which involves this innate pressure to push yourself to do the next thing. It’s like you never feel complete, done, and have this never ending to-do list that compells you to feel inadequate and busy. You will never find stress relief without letting go of that next to-do.
Not long ago, while talking to a friend, we were discussing this, and he just said he works his way to the top of the mountain, then waits for inspiration to find the higher mountain so to speak, but doesn’t feel compelled to do or finish anything. These are dangerous waters for me to tread, because it can be very difficult to finish things these days, so to actively give myself permission not to finish or do something next is like standing on the edge of a cliff.
Recently I read a good book called The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated), by Tom Ferris, and he recommends having only 2 things per day you have to accomplish, and the rest can fall by the wayside. This has been very helpful for me considering my to-do lists have always been miles long. I also started an accomplishments doc for the year, where I paste the things I’ve done after they are completed. When I feel that pressure, or beat myself up because I haven’t accomplished something, I try to look at that and realize, hey, I’ve done a lot!
Stress can be that low level anxiety of your to-do’s that are out there “waiting”, hovering above you, haunting your sleep (why do you think you wake up from sleep or toss and turn). Think about the effects of that constant, low-level stress, it’s probably like a steady drip of fat saving cortisol, causing horrible inflammation and health problems along the way.
It’s amazing how a simple cognitive shift can help us turn off that “tap of stress” that’s always dripping inside us. Think about what gives you purpose or joy, and follow that to the next thing you want to do. Yes we have things we need/have to do, but usually those things can wait, and will wait for something that is worth doing, that fulfills us. If you can’t think of anything to do that gives you joy, or which you feel provides a purpose, then do a task like cleaning or gardening, but with great awareness and mindfulness.