• Shona Dee

3 Simple Ways to Get Back on Track

3 Simple Ways to Get Back on Track

We all have those crappy days – or weeks – when we feel as though the freaking world is dead against us. When we can’t seem to lift a finger the right way, let alone perform the convoluted juggling act that life seems to require of us on a pretty consistent basis.

I sometimes get off track. This is probably because I (unfortunately) enjoy having several thousand projects/things on the go at once - it’s almost a given that my brain/body/psyche will go haywire somewhere along the line. Similar to a lot of people living in our modern digital world.

BUT after years of existing almost on auto-pilot, of RE-acting to things (rather than PRO-actively taking charge of those things) and of anxious hair-pulling and sleepless nights, I have learned a thing or two about getting back on track.

Things still go haywire (things will ALWAYS go haywire – this is life), but I am no longer a victim of these things - or of life. I now have strategies to get myself back on track, and I would LOVE to share these strategies with you now, butterfly!


1. Take an INVENTORY of your life

I used to think I was great at multi-tasking. I would do a million things at once and tell myself it was all good because I was so super-efficient. I would flit from task to task and person to person and was (needless to say) in a pretty consistent state of STRESS. However, after defining what was important to me, and my life, I managed to cut a lot of the less important stuff loose.

Define what’s important to YOU. A good way to do this is by starting a list:

  • FIRST UP – Start the list. Write down the things (and people) that are super important and that you want to keep as priority. Next, list the things that are semi-important. Lastly, list the things that you know you shouldn’t be wasting energy/time/space on

  • NOW think about what you need to do to get rid of the energy-wasting stuff. Twice-weekly solo house-cleaning marathons which no-one even notices or appreciates? Cut that loose. A one-sided friendship which is taking up a lot of your time and leaving you physically and emotionally drained? Let it go

  • NEXT look at the semi-important stuff. This is the stuff you want to keep but are having trouble finding the energy and time to do so. The answer here? DELEGATE. The pet dog that you love dearly but who is taking up sooo much of your time? Draw up a roster so that everybody in the household shares in the responsibility

ALL that should be left now is the stuff that is super important to you. The stuff (and people) that set your soul on fire. The stuff that you KNOW you should be doing. The people that you WANT to spend time with. FOCUS YOUR TIME, LOVE AND ENERGY PRIMARILY ON THESE THINGS AND THESE PEOPLE!! Enough said on this point!

2. SIMPLIFY things

This step is closely related to the previous step – but you get to take things a little further here. Basically, you want to simplify EVERYTHING you can get your hands on. The important stuff AND the not so important stuff – no matter what it is, there WILL be room for improvement:

  • DECLUTTER – as the saying goes … get rid of anything that is either not beautiful, or that serves no useful purpose. It is amazing what visual clutter can do for your psyche – I know that I feel way more stressed and way less productive when I’m looking at piles of crap all around me. I make a regular habit of sorting through emails, papers and clothes and tossing, deleting or giving away what I no longer need. I can’t accurately describe what a difference this one simple exercise alone has made to my life!

  • SIMPLIFY YOUR FINANCES – a lot of our stress is related – either directly or indirectly – with money. We worry that there isn’t enough money coming in, so we look at ways at working harder to earn more. Meanwhile, we find ourselves spending more to try and simplify our lives. It’s a vicious cycle! The solution? Draw up a simple budget. List all sources of income and all outgoing expenses. Look at where you can cut back. The vicious money cycle can be broken by completing this simple step!

3. Practise SELF-CARE

It can be all too easy to forget this step when we’re in the midst of falling apart and trying desperately to keep everything together. But self-care is a MUST! It is MORE than a must. Why? Because we can’t function on an empty tank. In order to do all of the things we need to do to get back on track, we need a full tank. Here are some simple ways to refill a depleted tank:

  • SLEEP – do your best to get 7-8 hours each night. I’m a reasonably calm person, but even I am guilty of acting like a demented banshee if I get less than this on more than a few nights in a row

  • EXERCISE – Nothing too strenuous if you’re not up to it – I try to fit in regular walks around the park with my dog

  • EAT WELL – When we’re feeling less than optimal, the temptation to reach for chocolate, chips, caffeine and/or wine can be VERY hard to resist. I know! Do your best to resist anyway. You’ll only end up feeling crappier if you give in too often

  • SPEND TIME IN NATURE – We are so attached and connected to our devices – phones/laptops/desktops/tablets, that we oftentimes forget our attachment to LIFE. REAL life – the trees, the grass, the ocean. This is the stuff that is real. As humans we NEED regular contact with these things. Ditch the phone for a few hours and take a walk by the ocean. Or just kick off your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet at the local park. Your psyche will benefit IMMENSELY from this. Do it regularly. DON'T wait till you crash and burn.

How do you get yourself back on track during stressful times? I'd love to know! Share in the comments.

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