Everyone is either worried, stressed or uncertain right now, and in the face of all this craziness many of us are reaching for answers about how to stress less and enjoy life more.
We don’t want life to pass by in a negative way even though many of our lives have changed so radically.
One day we’re coping okay, the next we’re not. Life is a roller coaster of emotions, and keeping positive is more important than ever.
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Stress management activities
In times of stress or uncertainty it’s important to preserve or improve our vitality and ensure that we retain and replenish our energy.
Some stress management activities I’ve found that have helped me replenish and retain energy are …
- Meditation and Mindfulness
- Physical activity
- Preparing good, nutritious food
- Creating a calm sleeping space and making sure to get enough sleep
- Breathing exercises
- Self Reflection
- Learning to enjoy small pleasures
- Finding time for yourself
We need to look after our physical fitness, ensure that we are eating well, and getting adequate sleep.
It’s also important to realise that it’s not effective to dash through the day like a rampaging bull.
In fact it’s proven that taking short breaks at work will help with overall productivity.
Making sure that we build in daytime rest periods where we take a short walk or make a cup of tea, or even just chat with a work colleague or friend are important for our overall working health.
More than ever it’s important that we are Mindful and not just Mind Full.
Stress less enjoy life more
I keep reminding myself that the only really definite thing about life is that there will be change, and that we need to embrace change.
But it doesn’t always bode well, and change comes in all shapes and sizes, from exciting, to mundane, to difficult, terribly sad, and also tough.
The times we find ourselves in now are tough, and sad, and uncertain. We need to find peace and serenity in what we do everyday, even though it’s dripping slow right now.
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Last year I spent a considerable amount of time in England helping care for my dear Mum who died of cancer.
Each day was filled with uncertainty and pain.
During my prolonged time in England my capacity to be present, in an almost nursing capacity without judgement, was difficult and threw up times of great stress and emotional turmoil.
I was consumed with how emotionally draining it all was, not just with Mum and her needs, but with other family members, hospital and nursing staff too.
The strained relationships born from ill health can be very hard to come to terms with.
Being in the moment, finding my Zen – Nah. There was not much of that. Headless chicken kind of stuff – yes, much more so.
Yet it was during the times when I was spinning around out of control that I most needed to be able to call on mindfulness, and find ways to relieve my stress.
I really needed to find out how to stress less and enjoy life more.
I had little time or inkling for self-compassion and nobody around to remind me that it was necessary. Everyone around me was in a state of emergency.
It feels a bit like that now, doesn’t it?
And it’s even more important to look after ourselves. Remember the advice given on airplane flights?
Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others.
And a further thing to remember, thanks to Jim Rohn.
“Take care of your body it’s the only place you have to live.”Jim Rohn
Here are a few pointers that I hope might help if you find yourself seeking answers about how to stress less and live more …
You’ll stress less if you meditate.
Meditation practices calm our minds, and give us the opportunity to regulate our emotions, reduce stress and increase focus.
Find out more about meditation here at Inner Peace Fellowship.
Do some breathing exercises
Breathing exercises can help you relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax.
Here are some breathing exercises for you to try from Healthline.
Self reflection exercises
Learn how to ask yourself important questions that will balance the stress you’re feeling based on the resources you already have within you.
“Self reflection helps to build emotional self-awareness. By taking the time to ask yourself the important questions, you gain a better understanding of your emotions, strengths, weaknesses and driving factors.” Center for the Healing Arts and Science
You can practice mindfulness at any time. Slow down and take notice of what you’re feeling, seeing, touching, tasting and hearing to help increase your self awareness.
Do this during the day when you’re eating, or when you’re walking, even when you’re sitting quietly in a chair taking a short rest. Being mindful can increase positive emotions and increases our overall ability to focus and concentrate.
- Being mindful can help reduce the symptoms of stress.
- It can help boost our immune system
- Being mindful can help our social relationships too.
Read more about the health benefits of mindfulness at Positive Psychology.
Take note of precious moments
When mum was dying I wanted to fix everything – I’m a fixer after all. But I couldn’t. And it frustrated the helloutofme.
I was constantly on the look out for how things would be tomorrow and how I could change them.
I looked for answers, where there were no satisfactory answers. I told myself that tomorrow would be better, and it never was.
What I forgot to do and had to remind myself to do was to find the beauty in the moments, such as …
- Making the most of precious moments spent with Mum.
- Sharing a special memory or a joke with her.
- Being consoled by a friendly nurse who had seen it all before.
Make sure you focus on the tiny precious moments, and don’t expect big showy hours of joy.
Enjoy small pleasures
I learnt that a cup of Tetley’s Tea, brewed in a tea pot could solve many of life’s immediate problems.
I found that a walk on the beach early in the morning, come rain wind or sunshine was a way to calibrate my day and gave my mind space to just be.
I jumped for joy at the sight of bright yellow daffodils blooming in a hedgerow on a bright spring day.
I was comforted that I could immediately turn warmth on in the car driving back from the hospital when my tears were flowing as fast as the windscreen wipers were flashing against the windscreen.
Finding small daily pleasures will be like discovering calming mantras for your day.
Stress less about finding time for yourself
In amidst all the must-do’s, should have done’s, and gotta-do’s there was little time to rest. The really difficult days were mental.
I didn’t know whether I was up or down. I had to remind myself to be kind to myself.
Not to stress if I didn’t do my tummy exercises, or check in on the blog. I had to let go of my blogging commitments and not feel guilty or sorry.
It took time. It took some hard lessons from the Universe. But in time I did these things and learnt to sometimes just sit on the couch and close my eyes.
Can you find time for a little daily pampering – even if it’s just remembering to moisturise your face at night?
Don’t make big decisions
When you’re in spaces of life where stress runs high it’s important not to make big decisions.
If possible delay all decisions.
This is a time of recalibration.
If you have to make a decision then be aware that possibly logic will not prevail – instead listen to your gut, let your intuition guide you, you are now in the hands of something much bigger.
Leave big decisions until you are ready to face them fully.
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Cope with the circumstances
I was feeling ambushed. Much of the time I felt like I couldn’t cope. My own supportive family a million miles away.
I had to remind myself daily that I could cope. That I was doing the best I could at the time with the information I had available.
That although not a nurse, (and never likely to be one – praise all nurses) I was learning to do be the best nurse I could under the circumstances.
I drew on inner strength that I didn’t know I possessed, and I hope that I learnt to be the bigger and better version of the person I was before.
I was beginning to learn how to stress less and live more even with everything that was going on.
Live for the Now and Stress less
The only moment we have is NOW! Embrace it!
Ultimately I think that what I learnt is that the only true moment we have is the one we are experiencing right now.
We don’t have control over the things that are going on around us, but we do have control over how we react to them, and what we do to help mitigate those circumstances in that moment.
Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves that we need to get through THIS moment. Just this moment. That other moments will come and go and we must get through those when they happen, and they will.
We will get through them.
Nothing in life is permanent.
Every moment we experience shall too pass.
Somehow we must manage to come back form the most devastating events, and somehow we generally do.
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