Old habits die hard — but the new year presents a great opportunity for you to start the process of change (even if we’re already over a month in!). If stress was one of your biggest problems in the previous year, you’re not alone. U.S. workers are reportedly some of the most stressed employees in the world. A recent survey found that 57% of respondents report feeling stressed daily. Household matters, sickness, and financial insecurity all contributed to added stress during the pandemic.
There are, however, some aspects of our lives that we can better manage in order to lessen stress. Here are five practical habits to develop for a stress-free year.
- Get your insurance in order. Many things can change within a year’s time, as we’ve all learned of late. And given this understanding, you should prioritize getting your insurance in order. Your existing auto or homeowner’s insurance may not give you enough coverage, especially if you’ve done some remodeling or installed major improvements. Check your policy to make sure your coverages are up to date. Consider adding an umbrella policy, just in case unexpected things happen and your costs exceed your coverage. This can help you rest easier this year and into the future.
- Keep your health in check. As you look to stay on top of your health this year, it’s highly recommended to schedule routine checkups with a medical professional. This will help you identify any potential health issues early on, potentially saving you of time and costs and worry (not to mention uncertainty) in the long run. Also, make sure to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The healthier you are, the less stress you’ll experience.
- Stay on top of your taxes. Taxes can be quite the headache, but this year’s a good time to have a professional help you keep track of them better. Tax prep professionals with extensive education in accounting practices are always in demand as the year turns, because they can help with managing your individual income tax and much more.
- Organize your files. A cluttered home or workspace leads to a cluttered mind. This could be causing you a great deal of stress, so take the time to go through your clutter at home or in the office. Similarly, if you do a lot of work on your computer, organize your digital files to clear out unnecessary documents that could be taking your memory space. Organizing in this manner will make it easier to find things when you need them, and will also give you a chance to discover any files that need updating –– all of which makes your day-to-day living just a little bit easier.
- Take a break or plan a vacation. Finally, don’t forget to allot some time to take breaks or plan a vacation when it’s safe to do so. Researchers have found that even the thought process and preparation surrounding an upcoming trip can boost happiness and reduce stress for weeks (even more than the anticipation of buying material goods, which so many turn to for stress relief). Use your weekends and vacation leaves to relax and get your mind off of work and the repetitiveness of daily life. Time for yourself helps you avoid burnout, and eventually become more focused and productive once you return.
Building these five habits can help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed in the coming year.
Written for EPB&B by Maeve Oaklyn