Stress affects so many people. Sometimes it hangs around for a while, sometimes it comes and goes. I used to be really proud of being able to say that I could “keep calm under pressure”. Being able to do that is fine, but what do you do with all the feelings? How to you keep those stress levels under control or even let go of the stress completely so you can go back and start a-fresh another day?
Here are some of the top things that I think are really good for stress:
One of the first things (that kind of really annoys people) is that I say step back. And people really are thinking, “God, I’ve got an absolute ton of stuff to do. I’ve got so much to do I can’t possibly stop. I can’t possibly rest. I can’t possibly, possibly, possibly…..” The reality is that actually, yes, you do need to try and step back if you can, even if it’s just for a few minutes, just a little relaxation, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, go for a walk, meditate, use self-hypnosis. I’ve got lots of freebie ones, just shout if you want them.
That time, that 10 to 20 minutes can help calm your brain right down, so it gets it out of the thinking area and so that you’re feeling much more relaxed. When you’re feeling much more relaxed, you can think straight, you can plan better, you can function, you know? You can remember things. So taking a few minutes to step back is a really good thing to do.
2. Recognise the Stressors
Recognise the stressors and triggers. Recognise what bothers you, what winds you up, what pisses you off, what frustrated you, what gets on your nerves. It might be a “what”. It might be “who”. It might be a thing. Then, you can prioritise, because then you can decide do you really need to encounter that? Do you need to read that post? Do you need to interact with that person? Do you need to go along to the school gates? Whatever it is, you are much more informed and then can make some different decisions. Some things you can prioritise and decide, “Actually, what am I really going to do about that? Why am I putting myself back in these stressful situations when I don’t really need to?”
Some of it is about looking at your mindset, looking about your feelings, because you might be doing a bit of a people pleasing, and thinking, “Oh, but I better speak to that person, and I better be nice, because I was told to speak when I’m spoken to,” . So there’s a little bit of mindset stuff goes on. You can delegate. You can learn to say no. That’s a biggie. That’s what I help people a lot with. Learn to say no, and that’s so empowering when you crack that, so really, if you’re going to start with just one thing, do that.
3. Look after Your Health
You don’t need me to tell you that nourishing food is really good for you. You’ll also already know that the quick fix foods with lots of sugar and carbs are rubbish. But if you really want to look after yourself then what you eat is important.
Ensure that you drink too. Not alcohol obviously, a little glass of wine here and there maybe, but don’t turn to drink to solve your problems. You know, peppermint tea is my favourite, because I’m not a fan of just plain water. But get lots of liquids in you, it helps to flush out toxins and stress chemical, so do drink, just a little bit less of the alcohol!
4. Share the Calendar
Share your calendar at home, so that other people can see what you’re doing, or even how much you’re doing. That’s always a big one. It also helps you to plan so that you’re not constantly working in a stressy reactive way. Often it can highlight just how much you do or how much you try to fit into a small timeframe. It can be really good to notice these things or have time to reflect. You can check the calendar at the beginning of the week and prioritise important tasks. You can also look at the end of the week and see just what you’ve achieved (even if it felt like you were running around like a headless chicken).
5. Have a Worry Chair
I love teaching people about a worry chair. Find a chair in your house that you don’t use very often. You don’t want this to be your regular spot on the sofa, find another place. Sit for five or 10 minutes each day, and actually pay attention to all the things that you’re worrying about. You see, often we can try and carry on with our day and not look at the worries, we try to distract ourselves or ignore them. This way, setting aside 10 minutes, set a timer, and focus on your worries. Give them some attention. Most people say that when they do this they find that some of them disappear, get smaller or seem less of a concern. All because you’ve given them that time and attention! Try it.
So there’s 5 quick things that you can do . Now the reality is that you need to find things that are personal to you. So maybe what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you. That’s OK.
That’s the thing about stress, it’s not the same for everyone. That’s also the same about how I work. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. It is about coming up with noticing what bothers you and what you can do about it. So I really hope that helps. Let me know in the comments what you think or what you do that helps you.