Contributed by Mary B.

My doctor told me I needed to avoid stress.  I thought he was insane.  How can I avoid stress?  My whole life is stress.  So I went to my friend who always seems to be at peace.  I asked her, How are you able to avoid stress?  Here are her ingredients for stress-free living:

Ingredient 1 – Say No.  Only do what you are interested in.  “But, I have all these obligations,” I responded. No, she said, you have all these things you said yes too.  When looking at my obligations, I saw I was saying yes way too much.  I began to let other people handle things.  I do not need to make cupcakes for any occasion ever again.  I do not need to pick someone up from the airport, they can take a cab.  I was dealing with grown-ups who were like my children, relying on me to do errands for them.  Now, I say no, without guilt.  They can handle it themselves.

Ingredient 2 – Take your to-do list and choose what is important.  Do these tasks when you are most productive.  What? They are all important! But no, she was right.  When I looked there were lots of things that I really didn’t need to do at all, or that could be put off, or could be DELEGATED! Which leads to the next step…

Ingredient 3 – Delegate.  You do not need to do it all yourself.  Afraid they won’t do it “right.”  What is the right way anyway?  The table needs to be cleaned off, it is really not complicated, you can ask someone else to do it.  If they choose to use a wet rag or a paper towel, or however they want to do it, let them do it.  The end result is the important part, not the way it is done.  Give them the respect and autonomy they deserve.

Ingredient 4 – Schedule things you want to do on your to-do list.  Don’t make it full of chores. Schedule in an ice cream cone every once and a while.  Add in a fun errand like makeup shopping.  A call to a friend, a stop for some tea, anything you want to do that will be fun and relaxing can go on your list.  Believe me, it will energize you for the other items on your list.  Enjoying yourself is not a waste of time, it is the way to live.

What stress relieving tips do you have? We invite you to share your ideas in the comment box below.