The Importance Of Structure In Helping You Cope With Stress
What if you had more time for yourself to do the things you actually wanted to do? Would this help you better cope with stress in your life?
And how would you spend that time? Would you spend time with family? Start a new hobby? Relax on the couch and watch your favorite show?
Well, what if I told you that the way to do that was to create more structure in your life?
Structure seems rigid, right? Like having it forces you into a certain way of doing things even though you may not feel that way in the moment. And sure, this may be true. But sometimes you have to get things done. And sometimes you have goals for yourself that you just know are important, but you know it may be hard for you to consistently stick to them without some structure.
Structure is so important because it helps you create boundaries in your life. These boundaries give you a separation between work and play, chores and relaxation, self-care and leisure. And creating these boundaries gives you time to do things that you enjoy, which is one of the best ways to cope with stress in your life.
Whatever boundaries you choose to create, you can create them by adding a little structure to your life.
So how can you add more structure in your life so you cope with stress and have more time for the things you want to do?
Stop Planning Every Second Of Your Life
Just because you are choosing to have structure in your life, does not mean you have to be completely inflexible. The fact is that life can be unpredictable and sometimes unplanned things can come up and you may be forced to ditch that structure you previously created… and that’s perfectly okay!
In fact, if you become so attached to structure that you cannot change when unplanned things occur this will create even more anxiety and stress for you. If you tend to be a very routine person, you have probably experienced this before.
You get stressed and frustrated when things don’t go as planned, or when something interferes with your morning coffee and your entire day is thrown off. It doesn’t have to be that way, and you can prevent that from happening by choosing to accept the fact that life does not always go as planned, and it’s not the end of the world. Acceptance of your life circumstances is an effective way to cope with stress.
What Does Structure Look Like For You?
There is no one-size-fits-all application to create more structure in your life. Therefore, the first step is to identify what is important in your life. What do you value? What are your responsibilities? Which things help you feel at your best?
Why You Need To Create Time For Yourself
Most people have some structure that has been created for them already, such as a work or school schedule. If you don’t have this (maybe you are self-employed or a stay-at-home parent), it’s even more important to have some semblance of a schedule and structure to your day.
This is because it can be so easy to let work and chores seep into your entire day, and then there is no separation between responsibilities and time for you. Having time for yourself is so important to help you cope with stress and overwhelm.
That’s because you can’t pour with an empty cup… You can’t tend to the needs that other people are putting upon you until you have cared for yourself first.
Multi-tasking Is A Myth
Multitasking is one of the great myths that has been perpetuated in our society. I get it, you can walk and chew gum at the same time. *applause* But can you blow bubbles with that gum and not step on any cracks in the sidewalk at the same time?
Seriously though, anytime you are engaging in more than one task at a time your attention to each task is decreased. If you are looking to create more structure within your job, school, homework, or hobbies, the best way is to implement focused time.
There are different productivity techniques you can utilize such as the Pomodoro technique and time-blocking. Choose whatever works for you: set a timer or block out a time, minimize distractions, and get started.
The Structure Formula To Decrease Your Stress
Let’s put everything together now.
- Identify your values and responsibilities. What is important for you to implement in your day?
- Examples: Exercise, meditation, journaling, hobbies, work, homework, family time, etc.
- Create time for yourself to focus on self-care and/or relaxation. This can be in a morning routine, break during the day, and/or night routine. You don’t have to be rigid with scheduling out exactly what you do, but just ensure that you either wake up earlier and stop work at a certain time so you are creating a block of time focused on self-care or relaxation.
- Schedule time to focus on important tasks one at a time. This can be with work tasks, chores, hobbies, homework, or anything that requires focus. By setting aside time just to focus on one task, you can minimize distractions, do your best work, and be most efficient with your time.
Uncomplicate Your Life With Structure
Creating structure does not have to be complicated. By focusing on what is important in your life and creating a balance between responsibilities and leisure time, you will be well on your way to living a less stressed life.
Get ideas for how to implement more calm into your daily routine by downloading my free guide to daily calm here!