6 Steps To A Little Less Stress

14 December 2020 by Lifetime

6 Steps To A Little Less Stress

The silly season can sometimes get a bit serious - if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or strung-out, be sure to take a moment to prioritise your mental wellbeing. Here are some quick tips to find the calm again.

1. Consciously Decompress

Take a minute to close your eyes, breathe deep, and feel each muscle slowly relax from your forehead to your toes. Noticing the tension fall from your jaw, shoulders, and any other areas feeling tight. If you can, find a quiet space to do this. Be conscious of your breath, as you breathe deep and slow in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Place one hand on your upper chest, and one hand on your lower ribcage. As you breathe in, allow the air to move all the way down and feel your belly move out a little, your chest should remain relatively still. Repeat this deep diaphragmatic breathing method for a few moments to find calm.

2. Get The Basics Right

Hydration, diet, and sleep. We can’t skimp on any of these core things to ensure our bodies are strong from within. We are so fortunate in New Zealand to have cool, clean drinking water right from the tap – so use it! Put down the energy drink and biscuits, sugar is not our friend when we are stressed. It’s all to easy to look for that quick pick me up, but it’ll cost us shortly thereafter. Instead, make a list of all the healthy, easy snacks you enjoy and be sure to get them with the groceries so you always have a convenient stash of good options on hand. And yes, it is the party season but as much as possible your body is needing a solid night’s sleep. That means no phone usage in bed (no, none!).

3. Make A Move

Walk the dog, join beginner’s yoga, follow along with a Tai Chi video - get your limbs gently moving and stretching. Gentle exercise is all it takes to get the endorphins flowing, our own naturally produced stress buster. The hardest part is putting on your activewear, but once it’s on you’re good to go. So, get those sneakers on and hit the block, afterwards you’ll feel accomplished, relaxed and hopefully a little less tense.

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

4. Take Me Time

Grab a book, run a bath, schedule a massage - do a little something in peace and quiet, just for you. This may require some planning and scheduling but this is important, and if you make the time, it is achievable. Scents such as lavender can be powerful for encouraging relaxation, so fire up a scented candle or essential oil, run a bath with muscle soak, pop on some soothing music at a low volume, turn down the lights and relax into it.

5. Sort The Life Admin

We can all relax a bit more when our affairs are in order - so sort that Will, nominate your enduring power of attorney, and review those insurances. We can all sleep a little easier knowing we have some financial safety nets in place. It’s often not particularly nice to think about the ‘what ifs’, but when we are prepared and organised, it can help settle the anxiety that comes from uncertainty. We can’t always control life, but we can plan for it.  In the words of philosopher W.W. Bartley;

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

6. Engage Positively

If you can, have a chat to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Or if you’re not quite up to that, write your thoughts down in a journal. Sometimes the best company isn’t even human; cuddles and pats with pets can be incredibly therapeutic. Combine with step 3 and take your, or a friends’, dog for a walk. Watch them enjoy all the scents and sights along the way and take the time to notice what they notice. While walking you have nowhere else to be, nothing else to do, just be in that moment.

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