Less Stress Checklist

Take a few simple measures now to save yourself time and trouble—and a whole lot of stress—later. (Tips courtesy of Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.)

  1. Check Keep stamps on hand.

    There’s nothing worse than having to dash to the post office when you’re already rushed.

  2. Check Keep a bit of extra cash in the house.

    In case you forgot to swing by the ATM in time, this back-up stash will hold you over until your next trip to the bank.

  3. Check Have a good book to read.

    Keep it ready for those times when you just want to escape for a little while.

  4. Check Bring a hat and an umbrella.

    Buy a compact, portable umbrella, one that’s tiny enough to fit in your bag, so you’re never caught in a downpour without a cover.

  5. Check Don’t wear tight pants or uncomfortable shoes.

    The quickest way to feel miserable is to wear something you’re not comfortable in.

  6. Check Don’t let yourself get too hungry.

    Pack a granola bar or trail mix to tide you over between meals and stave off grumpiness.

  7. Check Keep your passport in the same place.

    Store it somewhere safe and easy to remember, like a lockbox in the closet.

  8. Check Put your keys away in the same place.

    And keep an extra set of them, too. A basket by the door or a hook on the kitchen wall are easy grab-and-go spots.

  9. Check Stock your purse with emergency items.

    Include a Band-Aid and a small bottle of pain reliever for unexpected blisters and headaches.

  10. Check Make your bed.

    Invest two minutes every morning. You’ll thank yourself later when you come home to a neat, restful space.

  11. Check Never let your car’s gas level fall into the ”empty” zone.

  12. Check Get to know your neighbors.

    Have at least one friend who lives in your neighborhood for those times when you lock yourself out or discover you don’t have enough eggs halfway through cake-making.

  13. Check Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual.

    Skip the late-night TV. Your body will thank you.

  14. Check Get up 20 minutes earlier than usual.

    Get out the door on time for once, or at least at an easy, relaxed pace.

  15. Check Laugh at yourself.

    Why so serious? Find humor in the hectic situations that might stress others.