The last half of the year always seems like a nose-dive into crazy town ! Financial pressures mount with end of year deadlines, kids drive us nuts at home over the school holidays while we are juggling jobs and kids have end of year recitals and performances and exams to get through before our calendars all start filling up with social engagements.
How can you keep your cool while trying to do it all? Try these hacks:
1) Wake up earlier and enjoy a morning ritual.
While it may feel counterintuitive to deprive yourself of sleep, but giving yourself just an extra 30 minutes of "zen time" before the kids, your pets or your partner wakes up will leave you feeling more refreshed -- and less frazzled. While enjoying your morning cuppa - preferably sitting down with a cup, (not while your running out the door or whizzing into to work) - use this time to center yourself and think about your goals for the day or read something inspirational. Alternatively enjoy a stretch while listening to calm music. You might find that your usually crazy day goes a little smoother.
2) Create a Soothing Space
Do you know certain colours can excite you and others can act to calm you down? As much as we can declutter our bedrooms (of junk and electronic devices) to create harmony and help calm us, we can do this in our work zones! Get an oil vaporiser and use soothing oils like lavender, geranium, and neroli in your home or workspace. Get some pretty green potted plants to refresh and energise your place. Plants give out ionising molecules and oxygen to your surroundings (providing antioxidants for the air you breathe!)
3) Have a Laugh !
Get out some great movies or watch some crazy stupid YouTube clips. Go to see some live entertainment. Gather your friends for a fun night out. Laughing induces endorphins to help you feel good instantly (as does a jog around the block, but I know you cringe when I tell you that !) Playing with a pet can also be a fun way to release these same feel good hormones.
4) Clench every muscle in your body, then RELEASE
This provides instant physical relief. A relaxed body often leads to a relaxed mind. This you can do yourself while you are lying down or sitting in your desk at work. Start by getting into a comfortable position. Now tense and relax each muscle group for five seconds at a time, starting with your forehead, then moving down to your eyes, lips, hands, forearms, shoulders, back, stomach, hips, thighs, feet and, finally, your toes. If any muscle remains tense after the sequence, tighten and relax it three or four times.
5) Develop an "attitude of gratitude"
Stress can be a bad habit or way of being that we just become accustomed to. So before stress gets worse, it's so important to learn to harness your thoughts. For example, when you notice the tension in your body starting, picture a big red stop sign and tell yourself to STOP and BREATHE. Immediately switch your thinking to start mentally focusing on all the things you are grateful for. Look around you to include anything you find beautiful or pleasant in your present moment. Store a gratitude list on your smartphone so you can reference it any time things get hectic ! Or keep a gratitude journal.
6) Feel your pressure points.
You're stuck in traffic and feeling like you're going to explode. Time to try pressure point therapy, a form of acupuncture you can practice on your own. Pressure to certain body points can help release muscular tension and promote blood circulation. It's easiest to start with the Third Eye Point, the space between your eyebrows where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead. Place your middle and index finger on it and hold the position for one to two minutes using gentle to firm pressure. Another one is to pinch the wedge of flesh between your thumb and index finger of your other hand. Self-massage on and around your ears can also be helpful as there are lots of acupressure points here.
Mindfully taking on board even just one of these hacks and applying it daily for at least one week may help to make a difference in your perceived experience of stress - try it and see for yourself.
Mental and emotional wellbeing constitutes and important part of any wellness plan. For a more tailored approach, as a naturopath I may support you with a range of herbal and nutritional remedies, functional breathing techniques, energetic healing or flower essence remedies. Click here to book a FREE wellness connection call - an opportunity to discuss how my services may suit your particular situation.
If stress and anxiety is interfering with your ability to enjoy life and time with your family and friends, contact Life Line, speak to your doctor or reach out to a qualified psychologist, such as the team at Remote Psych who may be able to help you understand what may be underlying your mental health issues and can support you with some counselling.