Stress, its something we all have experienced. Some of us create our own to improve our productivity, some of us think we “thrive on it” and for some of us it’s our downfall. One thing is for sure, stress is relative, one persons stress is another’s motivation. Scientifically, its been proven that short periods of stress promote a bio-chemical response that improve how we manage situations (think flight or fight). We also know that prolonged periods of undue stress are damaging to our health and wellbeing. How do we in todays world manage our stress? A world where constant comparison is at our fingertips, where work travels in our pockets and follows us to bed at night? Here’s how I introduced simple steps to reduce everyday stress.
Consciously Prioritise Inner Peace to Reduce Stress:
I hope this subheading hasn’t put you off! Previously, I would be the first person to dismiss this fluffy, borderline vomit inducing excuse for a subheading. What can I say, 32 years on this planet and I’ve finally “gone soft”.
Having spent the best part of three years battling anxiety (I’ve been so preoccupied worrying about what might happen that I have avoided situations altogether, the consequences of such isolation was an even more heightened state of anxiety). I’ve been learning to tell myself that “My peace is more important”. This is the mindset I adopt whenever I find myself reacting to something that does not deserve my attention. I am cultivating this mindset through a daily Yoga practice (I even rub my yoga mat with essential oils from Blue Monarch, to elevate my experience and enhance my sense of calm). Along with daily yoga, I regularly seek outdoor physical activity, I’ve introduced planned and scheduled “me time” into my day and I also ensure that the time is spent AWAY FROM A SCREEN.
Spend time doing things you enjoy, if thats a soak in the tub then I’ve got you covered with this post, transforming your bath into a zen-like spa. If, like me its yoga, then carve out time for this activity – because even when you feel you have no time, you will have more free time from introducing things you enjoy into your day. Improved productivity is a by-product of self-care.
Plan Meals, Eat Snacks and Take Breaks to Prevent Poor Choices, Guilt and Subsequent Stress:
Fluctuating blood sugars impact our mood, and trying to “find” something to eat when you’re already hungry is never a good place to be. It usually leads to quick, convenient food that delivers a short high and results in crashing blood sugar and often guilt. This vicious cycle can soon become a source of everyday stress. Especially if you’re also responsible for feeding others (my “Mum Guilt” surrounding meal times was strong!). Take time to plan your meals, it may seem rigid but you can introduce flexibility if you need. The process is time-consuming and arduous, but it is a really simple step to reduce everyday stress. The relief of not having to make decisions and think about being healthy and creative with your diet is far worth it. Plus, I’ve found I save money and have significantly reduced my food waste – I hope you are all suitably impressed with my totally obvious advice!
Allocate Timeslots for Tasks that seem Never-Ending:
It may seem counter-intuitive to introduce a time deadline on something that feels like it will take forever to do. Aren’t deadlines one of the instigators of stress. The difference here is that when you introduce deadlines on your own terms the benefits are two-fold. Firstly, you break the task down into more a manageable workload. Secondly, you introduce a “a good stress” the kind that arises from having and achievable goal and that instills a sense of accomplishment upon completion.
Consider your Caffeine Consumption (amongst other things):
Decaf’, my past self would have considered the word borderline blasphemous. However, some introspection has led me to recognise the impact that too much caffeine has on my mental health. Not too long ago I thought extra shots equalled extra energy, to a degree this was true only that energy was not effective. I was jittery and my heart rate would be elevated. Awake and alive are not the same thing. Do I drink coffee? yes, but my motivation has changed. I enjoy it but I don’t need it.
I’ve never been a big drinker of alcohol. The control freak within does not tolerate a drunk Jen. If I’ve ever gotten drunk, the following day I experience severe stress and anxiety. Alcohol itself is a depressant, I enjoy it very occasionally and only ever in moderation. Enter Seedlip: A distilled, non-alcoholic drink that has totally changed my designated driver game. Hello Virgin Cocktails that you can drink, enjoy AND (heres the best bit) still feel like a grown-up.
Reduce Stress by Accepting That You Can’t Do it All:
So, in summary, if you came here hoping I am the keeper of a secret, magic potion that we can all swig and suddenly find ourselves up and ready to take life by the short and curly’s, without an ounce of stress, you will have been (sadly) mistaken. As mentioned, stress can be physiologically beneficial. It is part of life. However, unnecessary and damaging stress is avoidable for the most part and the first step in putting it to rest is to accept your own abilities. WE. CAN’T. DO. IT. ALL.
Even if someone makes you think they can – they can’t. Relax and do what you can, when you can. Acceptance really is the most simple step to reduce everyday stress.
Did you find this post helpful? How do you manage your stress, I would love to hear about your experiences/coping mechanisms, just drop a comment below or get in touch via my contact form.