Do you make a conscious effort to reduce your stress levels?
Are you one of those people who keep talking about how stressed they are, and yet do nothing to alleviate the stress.
Managing your stress levels means only one thing: taking some action that will help you to feel relaxed.
It’s not that difficult because you probably have a pretty good idea of what will relax you. The difficulty is making a decision to do that thing!
The first place to start is awareness. Often we get so busy and harassed that we don’t notice how our levels of stress are building.
Your stress is carried in your body. Stop once or twice a day. Scan your body for signs of stress. Notice your breathing – is it shallow and quick or deep and satisfying? How do your shoulders feel? Your neck? You back? Whats happening in your stomach area? Any signs of anxiety?
My stress is always in my shoulders and neck. As soon as those get very tight I know it’s time to consciously chill out a bit.
If your stress levels are high, decide what you can do to relax. Build a repertoire of things that’ll work for you – include actions that are short, as well as long.
These could include: sipping a cup of tea with your brain in neutral; going for a brisk walk, calling a friend, doing breathing exercises; having a massage; listening to music; gym etc etc.
Here are my top 3 stress-busting exercises:
- 5 Minute Meditation: This gets me into a very calm space – mentally, physically and emotionally.
- A Good Night’s Sleep: I have found that my bedtime routine is hugely important. No technology AT ALL for two hours before bed. Sitting and chatting with my husband after dinner, listening to music. Getting into bed at a reasonable hour and reading a novel – a real book – with paper pages that turn! When I do this, I sleep well. When I ‘play’ on my ipad for a few hours and then go straight to bed, invariably my mind is so active that I sleep very badly.
- Regular Massages: I know this works for me – and I’m not that good at doing it. I tend to wait until my back and shoulders are in a real mess, then I go for a massage. This is something I am still working on getting right…. (Sometimes it helps to blog – I have just sent a message to enquire about getting a sports massage!)
What works for you? You’ll know best what relaxes you.
Write down a list – keep it on your phone. Use the shorter ones at regular intervals during the day, and plan to do at least one of the longer activities once a week.
YOU are the only one who can manage your stress levels.
Are you going to take responsibility for your own welfare and do what it takes to be more relaxed?
“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” Bertrand Russell
Kirsten Long is a Life Coach