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Ever had one of those days when you feel like you’re drowning? When stress about stress seems to pile on, and you’re not sure how to find your way out?
Everything we need to do in our busy lives gets overwhelming from time to time. All of a sudden we are sinking and we can’t breathe.
On one memorable Sunday I had a deadline, a houseguest, a broken washing machine, a sick child and a birthday party all at the same time. I flailed around, uselessly grasping at straws and eventually gave up and let myself sink.
Naturally, the self-criticism was loud. Why is it that despite being bombarded with messages about me-time and meditation we still don’t seem to listen?
When I read about the dangers of stress, instead of doing something about it I stress about it…stress about stress! I don’t know about you but when I’m in a frantic state the last thing I think of doing is getting to a yoga class.
My mantra becomes ‘I don’t have time’ and the very choices that could help me most are the last ones on my mind.
(It’s the same way we find ourselves staying up late watching Netflix when we know we’ve got an early start. Or leaving a big work project until you can almost smell the deadline.)
If you’re feeling stress about stress, it’s a sign it’s time for change
Whilst it’s easy to joke about our lapses in self care – if we’re not careful, the idea that we’re “too busy to stop” can become something of a badge of honour.
We start to feel a little burst of pride or importance when we boast that we “don’t have time” to take care of ourselves. But running on cortisol takes a huge toll on our physical and mental health.
If you’re finding yourself swamped by responsibilities, and noticing stress getting out of hand, it’s a sign it’s time to take action. Listen to it.
The good news is, that action can be small to start off with!
Just enough to break the ‘Superwoman’ cycle, and get your head above water.
So if you keep forgetting to find twenty minutes twice a day for meditation, or if getting to the gym seems like an impossible dream this week, here are three quick fixes to start to create some space.
1 – Talk to Someone
The quickest and easiest way to get perspective on your stresses is to the share them with someone else. Often just the act of putting our worries into words makes them seem smaller. The thing is, we don’t talk like we used to and that’s okay. Text a pal, stick it on Twitter, post on Facebook. It’s all good venting. Chances are that if you write a ranty email to a friend you’ll feel better without even sending it.
2 – Look Up
One consistent message is that being in nature helps us to relax. Except it’s not easy to go for a country walk when you’re being pulled in ten different directions. We dismiss the advice because it is impractical. But there is one soothing natural beauty that is never far away. Are you by a window? Look up from the sink full of dirty dishes or the screen with ten different projects open and find the sky. Remind yourself that you are One of many. Feel the light on your face. Breathe.
3 – The Sixty-Second Massage
There’s a reflexology point about two finger widths above the armpit where the arm meets the chest. It’s called the Central Treasury. Stimulate this point by massaging here quite firmly with your opposite fingertips. Do this for thirty seconds then switch sides. You’ll find yourself instinctively breathing more deeply. The Central Treasury helps to increase blood flow and balance your emotions. It also feels fantastic!
Get out of overwhelm for good
If feeling like there’s too much on your plate is starting to be he background to your days, it’s time to make a change. We can only run on fumes for so long — and being constantly busy is getting in the way of the impact you’re really here to make on the world.
(Be honest. How much on your to do list would fall under the category of ‘things I’d like to be remembered for’?)
The Overwhelm First Aid Kit is our tried and tested method to calm the chaos and get yourself back to calm (with tea!).
What are your favourite stress busters?
Let us know in the comments!
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