Stress is something that we all need to be aware of a feeling that is almost unavoidable. Life is so busy these days and for many high-stress levels become a normal and natural feeling.
For many people, a typical day begins with an unhealthy breakfast snatched quickly on the way to work. Time spent trawling hundreds of emails or dealing with Social Media. Add into that mix responsibilities of home and family commitments and a long commute. No wonder stress levels are high.
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it” – Sydney J. Harris
It is almost impossible to avoid stress impacting your life. The most important thing we can do for ourselves is learning to recognise when those stress levels are rising and how to manage stress to live life in a more peaceful way.
There are so many tools and solutions available to help handle stress levels, and small steps may make a big difference as to how you feel, but it is not one-size-fits-all. What works for one person does not necessarily work for all. Why not start to implement new stress management techniques each week, try it on for size, see how it feels, then try another. You will know what works for you personally.
One of the best gifts to give yourself is to learn what your stress triggers are, and to deal with these effectively and well without allowing your stress levels to rise to dangerous health-damaging levels.
Here are some tips that you can apply immediately to your life:
- Stop multitasking. Focus on doing what one thing at a time, and keep your mind focused solely on that. If you really need to multi-task then set out a specific time in your day to do so, perhaps for an hour and get it over and done with. Seung Sahn, a Korean Zen Master, told his students “when reading only read. When eating, only eat. When thinking, only think. Embracing mindfulness, staying present and living in the moment you are in is a great way to move you away from the ‘busyness’ of life.
- Make a habit of writing things down. Quite often when your mind is “overfull it is easy to forget important things. As you do this you no longer have to constantly worry about something you feel you may have forgotten.
- If you are fond of writing to do lists, then keep them suitably short and realistic. Looking at a long list of things to complete increases stress which is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
- Prioritise what needs to be done immediately and what can be done at another time.
- Organise yourself well. More often than not you will know what you will be doing the next day. Make sure your clothes are ironed and ready to wear. Have your breakfast dishes on the table. Leave everything you need out and ready just before leaving the house such as car keys, handbag, umbrella, scarf, and gloves. Have your shoes ready at the door. A lot of stress is created in the morning as people rush around looking for things they cannot find.
- Wake up fifteen minutes earlier so that you can take your time in a more peaceful way.
- If you work from home it is important that you take small breaks throughout the day, particularly if you are working at your computer. A balance of 45 minutes work and 15 minutes away helps to keep your energy levels up and your mind clear.
- Ensure that your work and rest time is balanced.
- Engage and communicate properly with your loved ones in your time off. Listen to what they have to say, enjoy your time spent with them. Completely disconnect from work. If you can, put your phone on silent when you are off work. Be present with those that are important to you. Spending time thinking about work while with loved ones is both unfair and unnecessary.
- Delegate as much as you can whenever you can, so that you have more time to do the things that you love.
- Keep your environment clutter free. Keep a Zen-like space to allow fresh energy to continue to flow, keeping your mind away from distractions.
- Turn down the noise of Social Media. How many times do you find yourself checking the newsfeed on Facebook only to find that you are still on it half an hour later? Are you caught up in being oversubscribed to podcasts, blogs newsletters, webinars and so on? This can be very stressful indeed. Start to unsubscribe to anything that is no longer useful to you or your goals. Doing this frees up your time to spend doing things that have more value and enjoyment.
- Stay tuned into your body. Be aware of aches, pains, and uncomfortable niggles. Stress also presents itself as physical symptoms. Learn to recognize when you are starting to feel drained and tired before you become exhausted and fatigued. Take time to take care of you and your needs.
- It is okay to be perfectly imperfect. Does perfection really exist? It is a different concept for everyone. Do your best and move on. When you need help do not be afraid to ask for it.
- Have someone you can trust to talk to. It is a true saying “a problem shared is a problem halved???.
- Breathe properly. When people are stressed they have a tendency to shallow-breathe from the chest. Take a few deep breaths from the belly, breathing in relaxation and breathing out stress.
Keep yourself on track by asking yourself the following key questions:
- Is what I am doing moving me towards my goals or away from them?
- For what purpose am I choosing to think/be/behave this way?
- What can I do right now that is more important?
- Will this really matter one year, five years, 10 years from now?
The three simple fundamentals of keeping stress at bay:
- Sleep enough
- Eat well
- Exercise regularly
If you have enjoyed reading this blog, why not download the free relaxation recording we have available on the site.
If you want to learn more about stress and some excellent strategies, techniques, and solutions to help you in life, then why not download our Managing Stress Module, packed with wonderful helpful information to take you from where you are to where you want to be.
Have a fabulous stress free day!
Founder of the Flourish Beyond 40 Women’s Wellness Programme