Do you feel overwhelmed with the demands on your time and energy?
In the first of several blog posts, I want to write about the feeling of overwhelm and stress we all feel and ways to deal with it.
These days we are supposed to be available all the time, aren’t we? A lovely invitation lands in your inbox or as a text. You are delighted but are so busy running around – stress at work, deadlines, work politics, shopping, cooking, home politics, demands…. – that you forget to respond. Then another message lands, asking for your response and you feel even more stressed; maybe even irritated ……. And it’s a lovely invitation from someone you love! When did we lose our sense of joy in life? It all feels like a drudge! Is this you or even a bit of you? Well……let’s take a closer look at stress.
We know it’s a natural reaction. We know about fight or flight. We know it is unhealthy and unpleasant to be constantly living in a state of stress, so how do we deal with it? Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Make a list of the things that are causing the most stress to you right now.
- Look at your list and see if there are any that you can do something about. For example, your commute to work that you hate because the train is always packed. Can you leave earlier? avoid the crowds, go for a coffee and take some ‘me time’ to read a book or write down your thoughts before arriving at work early and unflustered? Or maybe it’s that you are sick of the mess in your home and other people not cleaning up after themselves. Is it time to invest in getting some help there? Either employing a cleaner if you can or sorting out a rota for the family to share the chores? Whatever is on your list, there will be some things that you can change or sort out that will immediately release some of the stress. Maybe it’s a health niggle and you just need to be brave and go see the doctor to check if it is really worth all the worrying you are doing!
- There will be other things on your list that you are unable to solve so easily and that you can do nothing about. Let’s take a look at those. They can be divided into 2 main areas – important and unimportant. Is there anything on your list right now that you are stressing over, but that is really not that important in the great scheme of things? You know, these are things like getting irritated every time your neighbour slams their front door. Sometimes we just need to adjust our view on things and get things into perspective. In the great scheme of things, does it really matter if your partner packs the dishwasher differently to you? Or that they leave the eggs out of the fridge? Or that someone at work always leaves the toilet roll hanging under???? A sense of perspective about what is really important in life is vital here. We all have moments; critical moments – a great disaster or when someone you love passes away – when we see the wood for the trees and we can see what is important and what is not, but life gets in the way and we get caught up in the small stuff. Let’s let it go! There will also be stuff on your list that is important and causes you stress and that you cannot solve right now. That is where we have to build some resilience – more of that in a blog still to be written! So now that we have sorted out what’s important and perhaps maybe made some changes were we can, how do we then deal with the stress in our daily lives?
- Learn to breathe! Many of us breathe so shallowly that the very action causes us more stress! When we breathe properly; deeply; into the belly, it has so many benefits; but in terms of stress, it slows the heart rate and helps to reduce anxiety. Yoga practice is great for teaching us to breathe properly. In your daily life, try 7-11 breathing: breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11. You will feel calmer and more grounded and this can be incorporated into your busy day easily. ‘The practice is simply this: keep coming back to your breath during the day. Just take a moment. This will give your mind a steadiness and your breath a gracefulness.... There’s so much to let go of, isn’t there? Your nostalgia and your regrets. Your fantasies and your fears. What you think you want instead of what is happening right now. Breathe.’ Rodney Yee,Yoga: The Poetry of the Body.
- Slow down! Literally! We tend to move very fast; especially if you live or work in a big city. If you stop in the middle of a busy station during rush hour – let’s take Liverpool Street as a great example – and just watch people for a few minutes, you can almost feel the stress as people move really really fast! So, if that is you, just try and take your pace down a notch and see if you feel a little more relaxed.
- Carve out some ‘me’ time every day. Even if it’s just 5 minutes with a cup of tea and a magazine or a walk around the block at lunch time, try to make the time. Those few minutes may just help you to take stock and calm down. Remember you are no use to anyone if you don’t look after yourself.
- Make use of your favourite things to help you relax. The smell of lavender is deeply relaxing. If you like the smell, can you use a diffuser to have the smell at home before bed? Or how about lighting a beautiful smelly candle as a way to wind down at the end of a day? Take time to stroke your cat or dog if you have one. Listen to music you love and that you find relaxing. Sometimes the most obvious things; our own personal favourite things are the things we forget about when we are most stressed!
If you have any feedback about this article or you want to find out more about how you can work with me, do get in touch and also let me know your favourite ways to de-stress! I look forward to hearing from you.
Rebecca Weissbort - Health, Fitness and Well-being Life coach, specializing in women in their middle years and those going through any kind of change in life.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out my Facebook page: @getyourmojobackcoach