Small talk these days is either about the weather or how busy we are. Have you noticed how much of a conversation killer it is when someone tells you how busy they are? We love to keep busy, as though if we weren’t, we would be left behind. Trouble is, when we glorify “busy” like we’re winning at life, when do we stop?
More than ever before, stress has become an everyday feeling, so much so that we don’t even realise we are uptight. Stress itself is can be a healthy thing, in bursts of energy and inspiration. But we need to learn how to let go of it. Too much stress in the body, makes it difficult for us to function in everyday life.
When we are under the effects of stress – we can feel tired but wired and wonder why we can’t get to sleep at night and why we’re addicted fast energy like caffeine and sugar. We lack patience, snap at loved ones at the end of the day, experience road rage and feel a sense of overwhelm when we need to making meaningless decisions.
Many of you may not realise that you’re affected by stress – this might be because this feels normal to you.
Like I said, stress isn’t the bad guy here. Use the following techniques every day, to release the grip that stress has on you and you will begin to feel calmer, happier and easier to be around! If not for your, do it for the people around you, especially loved ones.
Reduce decision making
We have the capacity of a limited number of decisions per day, it’s called decision fatigue. So it’s best to reduce the number of non-critical decisions to make it easier to process the hard ones. Additionally, when we are under stress our focus narrows and even everyday decisions can feel overwhelming. So it can help to be organised before starting your day. Lay out tomorrow’s outfit, prepare lunch from leftover dinner and at the end of each day of work, plan out the tasks for the following day – I’ve also found this helps to reduce procrastination!
If you find yourself lying awake, in a mind whirring with thought, it might be useful to establish an evening routine to wind down. Train your mind to know it’s ready for sleep time. Have a warm shower or bath, write down final thoughts of the day and tomorrow’s “to-dos” in a journal next to your bed and avoid looking at device screens at least 30 minutes before sleeping. It can also help to set your bedtime to a similar time each night. Sleep helps us to thrive and we are most affected by stress when we are deprived of it.
“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.” — Katie Thurmes
It is your responsibility to ensure you’re taking care of yourself. It’s all very well to be “busy” all the time, but humans aren’t built to function like machines, we need regular breaks. Get up from your desk every hour and at lunch time, go for a walk around the block. Use your down time as downtime, in the evenings and weekends make a point of switching off from “doing” and simplify. Remember we are not called human doings, we are human BEINGS.
We tend to hold on to stress somewhere in our body. For me it’s in my neck and shoulders, others feel tension in their chest or as a headache. It can feel rather uncomfortable to hold on to and we need to find ways to physically release it. When feeling overwhelmed or up tight, I suggest going for a gentle walk, swim or bike ride. Simply leave the house or office and breathing some fresh air can help, or best of all, get a regular massage!
Remember to breathe
The quickest way to change our state from “fight and flight” to “rest and digest” where we want to be most of the time – is taking 5 deep belly breaths. Place your hand on your belly and inhale through your nose, filling up the belly for a count of 4..3..2..1 and then gently release the breath from your belly, out of the mouth for 4..3..2..1 and repeat 5 times! It’s free and can be done anywhere.
Now here’s your task – what is the one thing you can do this week that will make a difference and release the stress we carry around? Always here to help, feel free to email me.