I’ve spent this year, so far, looking more closely at what helps me slow down when I’m stressed. I’ve kept a journal detailing the times I’m at my most fraught and already I can see a pattern emerging.
We’ve all got busy lives and – in my experience – we could all do with a little more time to ourselves. Just because you’re feeling strained right now, though, doesn’t mean you have to derail all of your plans.
Here are some of the ways I slow down in times of stress:
In my job, there are things that need to be done that don’t allow a lot of brain power. One job that I particularly enjoy is wrapping the soaps. It doesn’t require a lot of effort as far as my mind is concerned, but nevertheless, it needs to be done.
Everybody has mindless tasks. Yours might be cleaning the house or renaming the files on your computer. They’re tasks you know you need to get round to. When I’m stressed I pick a job from this pile. It helps me re-align my mind.
Everybody has their version of yoga. I find yoga extremely relaxing. Even if I can only find ten minutes in my day to do it, it makes me feel instantly better. For others, yoga has the opposite effect. Some of my friends like to swim or do a high-intensity workout instead.
Everybody’s different, but everybody has something. If you haven’t found your ‘something’ yet, go out and try a few options. It’s out there waiting for you.
It will pass
This isn’t necessarily a tip to help you slow down, but it is advice. It has taken me 28 years to realise that stress passes. I’ve only recently discovered this hidden truth. When you’re in a stressful mood, it’s hard to think of a way out of it. Recognise this moment for what it is; just a moment. All feelings pass – the good ones and the bad ones – so try to sit with the feeling with the knowledge that it will disappear.
Listen to your gut
I’m a huge fan of following your instincts. For the past three mornings (in this cold weather), I’ve woken up and fancied having a bath. Having a nice, warm bath has really set me up for the day. It’s not part of my usual routine but it felt good so I went for it.
I guess what I’m saying here is that there’s no right way to do things. You don’t have to bury yourself in the monotony of routine, but if you find comfort in that then by all means do.
Remember your why
Whether you’re stressed with a family member or with your work, there’s always an overarching why that will make you feel better. Why are you staying late again at work? Because I love this career and I want to get ahead. If you’ve lost your why, travel back to the beginning and remember what encouraged you onto your journey in the first place.
It’s also important to remember that you’re allowed to change your mind. If what used to give you joy, gives you nothing but unhappiness, you don’t need anybody’s permission to start over. It’s never too late to spend time doing what you love.
I hope this helps – January is a particularly gloomy month and it can sometimes leave me feeling a bit stressed by the end of it, but try to practice some of these & you’ll (fingers crossed) start to see the other side. Also, be sure to give my Beat The January Blues article a read before January is out; hopefully it’ll give you some tips.
By our co-founder, Caroline Allen