[Mental Wellbeing, Stress, Wellbeing]
As we drive at speed through 21st century life, here are some top quick de-stressors you can start adding to your day to help give yourself a break to help you deal with the bigger stressors more effectively.
- Put Your Oxygen Mask On Before Helping Others
When was the last time you said no? Are you always running around after others? There is only so long that your Duracell battery can last. For your own physical and mental health, start prioritising what you have to respond to and eliminate the things you do not have to do. If you don’t look after yourself in the first instance, you are no good to help anyone at all. If someone is demanding your time, or if it is your job to respond, arrange a time when you can respond and give their ‘need’ the time, energy and attention it warrants in order that it is done properly.
- Take Breaks
Breaks are not for sissies, nor do they mean that you get less done. Conversely, people who take breaks get more done with less stress. Simple. Give your brain a break, even if it’s for 10 minutes daydreaming over a cuppa, it all adds to your productivity. Even better, make sure you get out of the office at lunchtime; see point 6.
There is so much scientific evidence showing how meditation positively contributes to stress recovery and supports mental health. Some people baulk at the word ‘meditate’, imagining themselves having to hum for half an hour and empty their brain. No-one can really empty their brain but you can give your brain a break and even as little as 5 minutes has show positive benefits. There are great apps out there like Mindspace that help you gain the benefits through simple, guided meditations.
- The Now State
As an NLP Coach, I use the Now State (sometimes called the Hakkalau) for all my clients. It is a simple clever way to gain respite and clarity in a busy world. You can even use it while doing the weekly shop or washing up! (Get tips on how to do this in the Life Ladder Members Content)
Call a friend, go and do something silly, do something you’ve never done, there’s even laughter yoga these days. Laughter is the greatest de-stressor and it could be as simple as watching your favourite comedy that could make you feel better. Go on, design your own laughter therapy programme today!
- Grab a Snack -Make it Healthy
Nutrition is a big factor in stress management but it doesn’t have to be a BIG thing to get your head around. You know what’s healthy and what’s not, don’t you? Why is this important? Your thyroid and your endocrine system blast through a lot of energy and B-vitamins to create the fuel and hormones your body needs to operate properly. When stressed, your body demands more of these systems and once your adrenals have been raided after constant daily use, your body starts draining the others and that’s where adrenal fatigue and other illnesses set in. Start small, choose an apple, reduce your caffeine and get a great range of foods in your diet (especially leafy greens).
- Reduce Exercise Stress
Exercise stress? Didn’t we think that a good run is meant to help us de-stress? Well, the reality is, everyone is different some exercise stresses the body, for example long-distance running or exercising just before bed. Contrary to popular belief, this does not help you sleep! If you’re feeling particularly stressed what activities relax you? Walking the dog? Swimming? Yoga? Slow exercise reduces, rather than increases cortisol levels.
- Stop Running Around to Someone Else’s Agenda
Those digital beeps are a nightmare; the constant alerts distracting you putting you into alert mentality all the time. What’s more, it distracts you from what you want to focus on and need to work on by demanding you respond to someone else’s diary and needs. How about switching the alerts off and designating certain times of the day to deal with incoming email or other messages? Do you have to answer the phone NOW? Or would you like to respond later? You have the choice, they can leave a message and you can respond according to importance in the time you have available without impeding on what you have to do.
- De-Tech Your Evenings
Putting aside the fact that our digital devices have us on constant alert, stopping us from relaxing fully, there’s this blue light they give up which keeps your cortisol levels high when they should be sinking in order to give you a good, restful sleep; or even just get to sleep. You can get blue light excluding glasses but probably simplest just to switch off the tech, including the TV an hour or more before bed. It gives you the chance to speak to your partner, have a cuddle (oxytocin is a great stress-buster), read a book, have a long bath…there are so many things to do that don’t involve the internet and TV and besides…these days we have playback!
- Drink Water
Water is the basis of life. Make sure you are consuming an average of 2 litres of water a day. To be more specific 0.033 x kg. For me, that's just over 2l. You'll need to add to that for very hot days or days where you are particularly active or doing sport. Water helps your body de-tox (particularly if you have been hitting the alcohol or bad food) and therefore handle stress demands better and you will feel more energised. Remember, use a reusable bottle if you are travelling around, let’s not stress out the planet too.
Make it a ritual, a lovely warm, comforting, health creating, energising ritual! Sleep is not for losers and you can’t sleep when you’re dead…because you’re dead! Good sleep routines reduce stress, improve physical and mental health and give you greater positivity. And there are lots of ways to get more sleep from bubbly baths or even sex…well why not? You get sleepy after it, don’t you?